Ajmer is made famous by the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a sufi Persian saint who came to India in the 12th century and made Ajmer his home. Humayun, the Mughal Emperor, built a shrine in honour of the saint. Thousands of ardent pilgrims from all faiths visit the shrine every day and find solace in its calm and serene premises. Millions of devout Muslims come from all over the world to participate in a two day urs held every year at the shrine, better known as Dargah Ajmer Sharif.
Ajmer is also well known for its prestigious Mayo College named after Lord Mayo, who founded it in 1875 for children of the British elite and for the young princes of Indian rulers. The college was out of bounds for the commoners till after India attained freedom in 1947.
Pushkar, 14 kilometres from Ajmer in Rajasthan, is considered one of the most sacred tirtha for Hindus. It is one of the oldest cities in the countries and its origin is associated with Lord Brahma, the creator. A number of temples are built around the holy lake which, according to Hindu mythology, was formed by one tear drop of Lord Shiva grieving over the death of his wife Sati. Brahma Temple, the oldest existing temple, was built in the 14th century. Remaining temples are of recent origin.
The pujaris (priests) at the temple claim it to be world’s only temple dedicated to Brahma. I believed them till I learnt the existence of Brahma temples in Barmer (Rajasthan), Bithoor (Uttar Pradesh), Khedbrahma (Gujarat), and Srirangam (Tamilnadu); all within India alone, with a couple more in Indonesia.
Tourists can enjoy a camel safari and get a glimpse of rural Rajasthan.
Pushkar is also known to host one of the world’s largest cattle fairs in October/November every year. Tens of thousands of animals, mainly camels, brought from great distances are sold and bought during the five-day fair amid a lot of fun and frolic.