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If one expects to be greeted by solitude upon arriving at Ajmer, there will be in for a rude shock. Ajmer is a chaotic, bustling city. It is located about 13km from the traveller paradise of Pushkar. The city surrounds the serene Ana Sagar Lake, and in turn is surrounded by the Aravalli Hills. Ajmer is one of Rajasthan’s important cities as far as Islamic history and heritage is concerned. It is home to India’s Muslim pilgrimage centres, specially the shrine of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti – the founder of the prime Sufi order in the country. The city showcases numerous examples of Muslim architecture. Ajmer is also an important Jain centre, with the golden Jain temple located. With Ajmer’s combination of chaotic crowds and traffic, tourists like staying in laid-back Pushkar. They prefer visiting Ajmer for a day.
One of the important places of historical significance in the city is the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti. In 1192, he arrived in Ajmer from Persia and died in 1236. The tomb gained prominence during the Mughal reign. A number of other emperors also added to the architecture here. Humayun completed the shrine’s construction, while the Nizam of Hyderabad added the shrine. In fact, Emperor Akbar would make it a point to visit the dargah from Agra annually. A visit to Akbar’s Palace should also be on a tourist’s itinerary. The palace was build by Akbar in 1570. It served as a pleasure retreat, but was mainly built to keep vigil on local chiefs. Now, a part of the original impressive fortification remains. The palace is home to the underwhelming government museum, which has a small collection of miniature paintings, old weapons, ancient rock inscriptions as well as sculptures made of stone that go way back to the 8th century.
The famous Nasiyan (Red) Temple is an important Jain pilgrimage centre in Ajmer. Built in 1865, it is also referred to as the Golden Temple as it displays the double-storey temple hall. The hall is packed with a huge golden diorama that depicts the Jain concept of the ancient world, replete with 13 continents and oceans, the golden city of Ayodhya, elephant gondolas, gilded elephants and magnificent peacocks. The hall is decorated with silver, gold, and other precious stones. It is definitely worth the visit during a short visit to Ajmer. The ruin of Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra mosque, which is located on the outskirts of the city, is definitely a place worth visiting. Legend has it that the mosque was built in just only two-and-a-half days! It was initially a Sanskrit college, but was converted into a mosque by Mohammed of Ghori. The best time to visit Ajmer is in the winter, during October and February. This is the perfect season for sightseeing. No one should plan a trip during summer as temperatures soar. Even if a visitor makes a one-day stop at Ajmer, there are a number of budget and premium hotels in the city. One can choose from hotel options near Naya Bazar, Mayo College and Ana Sagar Lake. For those that want to stay close to Ajmer railway station or the bus stand can choose from a wide range of OYO Rooms.