Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Sufi Capital Wrapped In The Barren Hills Of The Aravallis


Aravali mountain ranges. The historic city was established by the great king of the Chauhan dynasty, Ajaipal Chauhan in the 7th century. On arriving Ajmer, I was surprised to see the true secular nature of India that is enlivened in the life and history of this great city. This renowned pilgrim centre showcases a perfect blend of Hindu culture with Sufi traditions.

Ajmer was flanked by majestic mountains on all sides. I booked a room in Hotel Mansingh Palace. The most lively attractions of the city are the religious songs and Quawwalis, which can be heard at every street, especially at the holy Dargahs. I visited the Dargh of Ajmer Sharif at night, the most famous pilgrim center in the city, dedicated to the great Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti. Religious convocations, called 'mehfils' were organized in the mehfil khana, a voluminous hall meant for this purpose. A few local people told me that the dargah hosts Urs Fair annually in the month of November/December. The fair is dedicated to Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti and is organized on the death anniversary of the great Sufi Saint. Qawwalis (musical extravaganza) and Mushairaas (evening of poetic verses) are the main attractions of the fair.