Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major center of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. when Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties, which came and left leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the city's history, converting it to an amalgam of various cultures and blend of Hinduism and Islam.
Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage center for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims.
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At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India's most important pilgrimage center for people from all faiths. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti more popularly known as Khawaja Sahib or Khawaja Sharif. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Median for the Muslims of south Asia. There is another mosque in the courtyard built by Shah-jahan. The saint's tomb with a splendid marble dome is in the centre of the second courtyard which is surrounded by a silver platform.The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims during the Urs-commemorating the death anniversary of the Saint, held from the 1st to 6th day of the Islamic month of Rajab. A colourful fair that springs up during this time is the major attraction.
In the corner of the inner court of the Dargah, is a magnificent building in white marble with a long (30.5m) and narrow court having low arcade and delicate carvings with trellis-work.It is the most marvelous of all the sanctums within the sanctuary of the Dargah.
A steep one and a half hour climb beyond the Adhai-din-ka-jhopra leads to the ruins of the Taragarh Fort, perched on a hill.One can have an excellent view of the city from here. The fort was the site of the military activity during the Mughal period, later used as a sanatorium by the British.
A remarkable structure, this is a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture located on the outskirts, of the city, just beyond the Dargah. As the legend goes, its construction took two and a half days (Adhai-Din) to complete. It was originally a Sanskrit college, built within a temple. In 1193 A.D. Mohhamed Ghauri conquered Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque by adding a sevenarched wall in front of the pillared hall in just two-and-half days(adhai-din) and hence the name. The distinct pillars-and arched "Screen" with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.
One of the India's best public schools, located in the south-east of the Ana Sagar, has now been converted to the Circuit House. The lake and the cenotaph and the shrine of the Hindu reformer Swami Dayanand, founder of the Arya Samaj movement in India, can be viewed from here.
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