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Ajmer, where Islam started its journey in India
Ajmer is a holy city. It is holy to both Muslims & Hindus . It is famous for the Dargah of the famous Muslim saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti (1142 – 1236 A.D.),who laid the permanent foundation of Islam in India. The Mughal Emperor Akbar was a staunch follower of the teachings of this saint.
The history of Ajmer is a colorful one. The city was originally constructed by the King Ajay Pal Chouhan in the 7th century A.D. Named after Ajay Pal, or most probably after the nearby Ajay Meru (Ajay Mountain), the city was originally called Ajay Meru. It was conquered by Muhammad Ghori of Ghazni in 1193 A.D. In 1398 the marauding soldiers of Taimur Lang destroyed Ajay Meru. The city was rebuilt by Rana Kumbh, the Rana of Mewar, & the Rajput Kings ruled over it briefly. Later it was taken over by the Sultans of Malwar (1470-1531 A.D.). It was then conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar who came here in 1561. Here at the Taragarh fort, Sir Thomas Roe , the British Emissary from King James I of England, first met Emperor Jahangir on 19th January, 1616 --- a meeting with a profound future impact on India’s political fortune.
Ajmer has many important tourist destinations including the Taragarh Fort, Akbar’s Palace, Jain Temple, Dhai Din Ka Jhopra & the majestic Ana Sagar Lake.
But the most important place for which Ajmer is famous is the Dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, the great Muslim Saint & the Guru of Emperor Akbar. Respected by both Muslims & Hindus, the great saint who was known as Garib Nawaz ( the Protector of the Poor) came to India from Persia in 1192 A.D. He stayed here at Ajmer till his death in 1236 A.D.
The Dargah is situated inside a protected enclosure with several gates. The main gate , a gift from the Nizam of Hyderabad, is majestic. Inside , there is the Akbari Mosque & the Buland Darwaja. There is a second mosque, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1650 A.D.
The central building where the saint’s mortal remains were placed after his death has the tomb built of white marble. Devotees offer CHADAR & flowers here.
There are two huge Handa-s or cauldrons for cooking rice in the enclosure, with an astounding capacity of 120 & 80 Mounds (1 Mounds = 37 kgs). A gift from Emperor Akbar, these two monsters attract awe & respect to all.
Though over-crowded, the place strangely bestows a serene calmness in the mind of the visitor, whether a devotee or an ordinary tourist.
It is really worth visiting.