Continuing from my recent Road Trip to Ajmer from Jaipur, I’ll be talking about the places I visited in Ajmer and Pushkar. The one name that Ajmer is synonymous with is the Ajmer Sharif Dargah followed by the Ajmeri Kalakand. The Ajmer Sharif Dargah also known as Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah or Garib Nawaz holds a very important place in India especially in Islam. Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot on pilgrimage from Agra every year in observance of a vow when he prayed for a son.
One can reach the Dargah after crossing the Delhi gate. The area is highly crowded no matter what time of the day you visit. If you are going during any festival like Urs, then I’m afraid you’ll be welcomed with a sea of people. The Dargah is open to people from all backgrounds and there is no discrimination of any sort. Just like anyone can visit the Golden Temple, anyone can visit the Dargah. The only condition is your head should be covered. There aren’t any specific timings to visit but I’ve heard it’s not open during the Namaz timings.
There were a lot of people warning me not to take valuables like mobiles and wallets at the Dargah since there are a lot of pick pockets. However I did take my mobile and wallets. If you are confident you can take care of it, take it. If there is slightest of doubt, don’t take it. You have two options to visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah – either you can take a tour of the Dargah and offer the chadar on your own or you can take help of a ‘Khadim’ (these are the people who belong to the Dargah board and apparently are descendants of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti) Since we were short on time, we took a help of A Khadim to guide us.
The entrance to the Dargah is huge, including a massive gate donated by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Since we were guided by the Khadim we took the side route to enter the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. This entrance opens right next to the Main Entrance of the Dargah. Taking a left from the entrance you will find two huge pots made by Akbar which are called as Deg. The large iron pots are used for offerings – money, edible items and everything else. The other is used to cook something and feed the people – Langar Khana.
Once you cross the Degs, you’ll come across a hall on the right. This hall is used for qawwali sessions during urs and other festivals. The qawwalis happen daily in the morning and evening after the namaz as mentioned here. After you walk a little you’ll come across the Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti’s Begum (wife). A little walk from there will take you to an open area right opposite to the shrine of Khwajaji. A mosque built by Shah Jahan looks over the shrine. The entire Dargah smells of scent (ittar) and the entire atmosphere around is so mystical.
We did buy a chadar, some flowers, a basket and mannat ke dhaage (thread of hope) to offer. We then proceeded to a washing area where we cleansed ourselves before proceeding towards the shrine. There is a huge crowd waiting to enter the shrine, but since we were with Khadim, we had a separate line. This was my first time at a Dargah, so was unaware of the procedure. Inside the main shrine, Khwajaji’s Qabr is adorned with chadar in the center surrounded with silver barricades. The Khadim took our chadar and put it on the qabr. He asked us to offer the flowers after making a wish. Post that the Khadim took the chadar and put it over our heads and chanted few things (things about our well being, wishes and over all prosperity)
There was something in the air that told me not to go back. Once outside the main shrine, if you wish you can tie the mannat ke dhage and make a wish. You need to tie three knots and make a wish. They say if your wish is fulfilled, you need to come back to the Dargah and untie the dhaaga. (You can untie any dhaaga) After this was done, we were led to the exit by the Khadim. The entire tour of the Dargah took about 1.5hrs to complete.
Photography at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah
This probably one question that will arise in every person’s mind who is planning a visit. Are we allowed to click photos at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah ? Yes you are. However the condition is that you can use only mobile camera and not any other camera. Point and shoot, DSLRs are prohibited. Sounds weird but that’s how it is.
The next time you are in Jaipur for any reason, do make a plan to visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. The Dargah is known to posses super natural powers that can derail the troubles in your life. I personally felt very relaxed after visiting the Dargah. It was a similar feeling as I got when I visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It was one of the best places I’ve been too. If you think I’ve missed something or you need any information mention in the comments below or tweet to @Atulmaharaj