Ajmer is an ancient and a small city established on the sand dunes of the Thar Desert of the Rajasthan state.This holy city of Rajasthan is not only a celebrated pilgrimage destination for the Muslims but for the people of all over India. As per the story of Ajmer History the city was called Ajaymeru, as it was named after its founder Ajayraja II in the 7th century and he was famous among the Chauhan Rulers. Ajmer was at its best fame during the reign of Prithviraj Chauhan. Ajmer is a bustling, chaotic city, 130km southwest of Jaipur and just 13km from the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar. It surrounds the expansive lake of Ana Sagar, and is itself ringed by rugged Aravalli Hills. Ajmer is Rajasthan’s most important site in terms of Islamic history and heritage. It contains one of India’s most important Muslim pilgrimage centres, the shrine of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti, who founded the Chishtiya order, the prime Sufi order in India. As well as some superb examples of early Muslim architecture, Ajmer is also a significant centre for the Jain religion, possessing an amazing golden Jain temple. However, with Ajmer’s combination of high-voltage crowds and traffic, especially during Ramadan and the anniversary of the saint’s death, most travellers choose to use Ajmer as a stepping stone to laid-back Pushkar.
ATTRACTIONS & PLACES TO VISIT AND EXPLORE IN AJMER
THE AJMER SHARIF DARGAH
This is a Sufi shrine which encloses the ‘maqbara’ (grave) of Garib Nawaz, the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Built in the 13th century, the shrine is popular among people of all faiths who flock here to have their prayers answered. The shrine has three gates – the main gate or the Nizam gate, the Shah Jahan gate erected by the Mughal Emperor and the Buland Darwaza. Another big draw at this holy shrine is the sacred and scrumptious food that is served to devotees. Cooked in giant cauldrons known as ‘degs’, devotees gather in throngs to be blessed by this prasad.
ADHAI DIN KA JHONPDA
The Adhai Din Ka Jhonpda was originally built to function as a Sanskrit college but was later converted into a mosque by Sultan Ghori in 1198 AD. An impressive blend of Indo-Islamic architecture, the structure was further beautified by Sultan Iltutmish in 1213 AD. Legend has it that the mosque is known as Adhai din ka Jhonpda (literally meaning, The Hut of Two and a Half Days) because of a two and half day fair held here during Urs in the 18th century.
Anasagar Lake is a scenic artificial lake, commissioned and built by Arnoraj Chauhan, son of Ajaypal Chauhan, between 1135 and 1150 AD. Arnoraj was also known as Anaji, which gives the lake its name. Many years later, Mughal Emperor Jahangir added his touch to the lake by laying out the Daulat Bagh Gardens near the lake. Emperor Shah Jahan too, contributed to the expansion by building five pavilions, known as the Baradari, between the garden and the lake.
SONIJI KI NASIYAN
Soniji ki Nasiyan, also known as the Ajmer Jain Temple, is a wonderful example of ornate architecture, and is dedicated to Risabh or Adinath. Its entrance is made of red stone and the marble staircase inside is engraved with images of the holy Tirthankars – omniscient teachers of Jain faith who taught righteousness. Constructed in the late 19th century, this temple is counted among the richest temples in India. Its main chamber, Swarna Nagari (City of Gold), is aptly named so because of the several gold-plated wooden figures it houses within its walls. This famous architectural marvel finds a mention in Kurt Titze’s book, ‘Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-Violence.’
The Taragarh Fort
The Taragarh Fort, Ajmer was built in 1354 A.D. The Taragarh Fort, Rajasthan is a spectacular and outstanding example of Rajasthani architecture. During the Mughal rule in Ajmer, the Taragarh Fort, Ajmer was used as an important center of military activity. After this in the later years, during the British occupation in Ajmer, the fort was used as a sanatorium.
Relish Multi Cuisine of Ajmer
The food that you will get in Ajmer is same as throughout Rajasthan. There are few differences dishes that you can find in this city due the Muslim dominant society, which makes this city famous for its non vegetarian. You will find many restaurants, which will serve some of the best non veg in the city and restaurants have the tastiest Rajasthani thali. Ajmer is mixture of Rajashthani, Mughlai and Indian food. You can get all these on the streets or in restaurants. Foodies can have a great time in the city Ajmer. Along with various mouthwatering delicacies one get a chance to taste several traditional dishes of various cuisines. Both veggie lovers and non vegetarians can get various food items for sampling starting from the crunchy kebabs till many more. There are many local cafes, restaurants around the city that serve tasty food in a friendly ambiance with a royal approach. Mutton, curry, Lal Maas, Chicken Biriyani are some of the sizzling non vegetarian food items that will stimulate the taste buds of every individual. Dal Baati Choorma, Lahsun Ki Chutney, Ker Sangri, Bajre ki roti, Moong Dal Ka Halwa, Ghevar, Rabdi are some of the best vegetarian dishes that are to be consumed during your stay in Ajmer. The taste of these lip smacking dishes along with the tempting Rajasthani Thali will fascinate all the food lovers. Apart from the regular dishes one must even try the chaat items and street food in the streets and local cafes of Ajmer. Samosa, Kachori, Kadi-Bhujje, Chaat, Bhel, Panipuri, Pav bhaji are to be enjoyed in the Ajmer streets.
Specialty of Ajmer
Though you can get these items in all Rajasthan, but the flavor that you will get in Ajmer is the best. I’m talking about Kachori, Sohan Halwa and biryani. These items have the best taste in all Rajasthan and have become the specialty of the Ajmer city. You can get kachori and Sohan Halwa at any restaurants or on stalls on the street. To get the best biryani one must visit the Dargah Bazaar. Ajmer has become the main spot for foodies in Rajasthan because of the wide variety of cuisines that this state has to offer. Many tourists visit Ajmer for its Dargha and food only.
The mughlai cuisine is the only thing that is different in Ajmer in terms of food. The high number of Muslim population has made this place one the best city that serves non vegetarian food. The famous non veg items that are served Lal Maas, Chicken/Mutton Curry, Chicken/Mutton biryani and sula kebabs. To get the best of these items, you should visit Dargah Bazar, it’s the main market where most of the non veg food is pre paired by the Muslim community only.
The food you must eat in Ajmer
Tourists in large numbers from world over visit Ajmer every year to pay homage to Khawaja Gharibnawaz Dargah to fulfill their wishes and desires. In fact, this sacred Dargah has brought up Ajmer on the world map. But, another thing the city is famous for is its luscious food. Ajmer is truly full of food, food and food. Well, mentioned below is a list of must eat food and must visit eateries when in Ajmer:
Once you are done with offering prayers at Dargah, come out and u’ll find a line-up of small restaurants/dhabas. Get into one of those and order for Nihari. Also called a gift from Nawabs, Nihari is a South Asian stew consisting of slow cooked beef/lamb garnished to taste and served with cooked brain or bone marrow. It’s hot and spicy and served mostly in earliest hours. So, try and make it before 10.00 am to the location. Its taste enhances when taken with the special khameeri roti.
The biryani which you get in these dhabas cannot be matched with the ones you get in elite restaurant of Ajmer. Biryani is given an orange shade and is made to taste spicy using lot of green chillies.
Also order for Sheermal here. It’s a popular Mughal sweetbread – soft and fluffy, and best when eaten the moment it is out of tandoor else it will go stiff with time. Hot sheermal is brushed with saffron milk/butter before serving. It just melts in the mouth. Can be topped with Kebabs.
It will be unfair to not to have local-favourite kadhi kachori when in Ajmer. One plate crushed kachori served with thick besan kadhi will keep you going through the day.
Sohan Halwa & Balushahi
Get hands on some very authentic Sohan Halwa, a traditional Indian sweet cooked in ghee (clarifies butter) near Madar Gate in Ajmer. Azad Sweets is one of the famous shops out there. Balushahi, another famous Rajasthani sweet, is also a must try in Ajmer.
Taste of City (PADHARO MHARE AJMER)
Anant ki Lassi
Running for the last two and a half decades, Anant Lassi Corner has been serving the most delicious Lassis in different varieties, like- plain Lassi, Lassi added with Rabadee and Lassi garnished with saffron. The shop does not offer any seating arrangement, people mostly enjoy their glass of Lassi standing in groups.
Address: Anant Jain Lassi Corner Naya Bazar, Gol Pyau, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India
Moolchand Buddhamal Halwai ka Sohan Halwa
Running for a fairly long time Moolchand Buddhamal Halwai, is one of the oldest sweet shop in the town of Ajmer and well-known for serving a large variety of quality delicacies to its customers.
Address: Moolchand Buddhamal Halwai, Near Madar Gate, Purani Mandi, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
Shree Jodhpur Sweet ki Pyaaz Kachauri
Shri Jodhpur Sweet is a famous shop in Naya Bazar area of Ajmer well-known and the reputation of being a specialist to serve delicious Pyaz ki Kachauri and other delicacies, like- Mawa Kachauri, Sohan Papdi, Sohan Halwa, Bengali sweets etc. Offering a nice ambiance, It has always endeavored to maintain satisfaction of customers.
Address: Shree Jodhpur Sweet Prithviraj Marg, Naya Bazaar, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
Khandelwal Chaat Bhandar ki Kadhi Kachauri
Amongst a myriad of Kachauri sellers, five decades old Khandelwal Kachauri Wala holds a unique place in the market to serve quality snacks, like- Kachauris, Tikiya, Pakode, Dahi Vada, Jalebi etc. at reasonable prices. Here, the customers are provided with an attractive place to enjoy the snacks of their choice.
Address: Khandelwal Chaat Bhandar Near Dayanand Circle, Kesar Ganj, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
Madina Hotel ka Mutton Korma
The decades old Madina Hotel is a very famous joint to serve delicious non-vegetarian dishes at affordable prices. As it is situated opposite to the railway station, one can also venture in while waiting for a train and try out their delicious Mutton Korma with Naan.
Address: Madina Hotel, Opposite Railway Station, Jaipur Road, Parao, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
Azad Sweets ka Karachi Halwa
More than six decades old, Azad Sweets is a sweet shop famous for serving the original and authentic taste of its Karachi Halwa and other sweet delicacies to its customers. Here all the sweets and snacks are prepared in a very clean and hygienic environment and the customers get their ordered delicacies packed promptly.
Address: Azad Sweets, Opposite Ghantaghar, Madar Gate, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
With dim, bar-like lighting and nursery-school decor, this is a popular Ajmer hang-out. It’s divided in two: Mango Curry is no alcohol and vegetarian, while Mango Masala has plenty of good nonveg options. Pizzas, Chinese, and North and South Indian dishes are available throughout, plus there’s cakes and ice cream, and a bakery-deli for takeaways.
Address: Suchna Kendra Rd, Brahmpuri, Ajmer, Rajasthan 305001
Ambrosia Restaurant offers you one of the city’s most tranquil and dreamlike terrace views of the Aravali mountain range. Their fine mélange of traditional and neo-Indian Cuisine will also please your senses. The menu is carefully balanced with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies from across the country along with an exciting array of snacks to tantalize your taste buds.
Address: Ashok Marg, Civil Lines, Near Canara Bank, Nagina Bagh, Ajmer, Rajasthan 305001
The Honeydew Restaurant
The Honeydew offers a diverse selection of veg and nonveg Indian, Chinese and Continental food in a pleasant, clean and relaxed (but overly dim) atmosphere. It is the restaurant of choice for Mayo College students’ midterm treat. The ice cream, milkshakes and floats will keep you cool.
Address: Station Rd, कवन्डसपुरा, Parao, Ajmer, Rajasthan 305001
A visit to the fascinating land of Ajmer gives you an opportunity to treat your taste buds to one of the most delectable cuisines of the world, Rajasthani cuisine.