Ajmer Journals

Wandering through Ajmer and Pushkar

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A March 2011 trip to Ajmer by phileasfogg

Dargah Shariff Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan More Photos
Quote: The small town of Ajmer is home to India’s most popular Muslim shrine, attracting millions of pilgrims every year. Just 12 km from Ajmer is another pilgrimage spot—Pushkar, home to a lake and a temple to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma.

Dargah Shariff

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Attraction | "A prayer in my heart, my hand on my wallet…"

Dargah Shariff Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
It is about 9.30 in the morning. Ajmer’s main reason for existence on the tourist map, the dargah of Sheikh Moinuddin Chishti, has been open since 5.30. We have been given many instructions by the front desk clerk at the Hotel Mansingh Palace: cars are not permitted within the area immediately surrounding the dargah. They must be parked outside the no-vehicle zone. Inside the dargah, no cameras are allowed. You may carry your cellphone and use it to take photographs. Shoes must be left outside. Heads—male and female—must be covered.Ours is one of the few cars along the road, which slopes upward towards what we will later realise is the Delhi Gate, a medieval portal decorated wi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Dargah Shariff
Center Of Ajmer City
Ajmer, Rajasthan

Adhai Din Ka Jhopra

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Attraction | "The two-and-a-half day hut"

Adhai Din Ka Jhopra Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
Arhai Din ka Jhopra literally means the ‘two and a half day hut’. Some say that the name is derived from the time it took to build the Arhai Din ka Jhopra: two and a half days. Others say (and this I heard in a snatch of commentary playing on a CD in a shop outside the Arhai Din ka Jhopra) that the funds to build this edifice were raised by the work of two and a half days. How many people working for two and a half days, it didn’t specify.Neither, as you’ve probably gathered, is anything more than a quaint fable. The Arhai Din ka Jhopra isn’t by any stretch of imagination a jhopra (hut) for one—it is a very splendidly decorated and large medieval mosque. For another, it took 15 years to buil...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Adhai Din Ka Jhopra
Near The Dargah, Indar Kot
Ajmer, India

Delhi Gate

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Attraction | "Unknown but intriguing"

Delhi Gate Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
The Delhi Gate of Ajmer is one of those odd attractions that we saw in Ajmer, but haven’t been able to discover anything about. On ground, the only information we could find was in the form of a signboard outside the gate, which proclaimed it as being protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. In guidebooks, across the Internet, and in a number of historical and archaeological references, I could find nothing. No mention of when it was built or who built it, though one website did claim that it was built by the late 16th century Mughal emperor Akbar. I have no way of confirming that, but from the look of it—the architecture, the decoration and so on—it certainly does look as if it belongs in the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Delhi Gate
Near The Dargah
Ajmer, India

Anasagar Baradari

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Attraction | "Mughal garden pavilions beside a lake"

Anasagar Baradari Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
A baradari literally means a building with ’baarah’ (twelve) `dar’ (door). In Mughal India, what with the popularity of gardens—an import from Persia—it was to be expected that the garden pavilion to would come to be a common architectural feature. The typical Persian garden pavilion, as it was translated into Indian settings, was a four-sided open pavilion with three arches on each side. Three arches on four sides equals a total of twelve arches, or twelve doors. Thus, the baradari. Soon enough, the word came to be applied to all garden pavilions, even when they had more or less than the regulation twelve arches.In 1637, while the Taj Mahal was being built in Agra, the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Anasagar Baradari
Beside Anasagar Lake
Ajmer, India

Mansingh Palace Ajmer

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Hotel | "Fifteen Things I Don’t Like in a Hotel Room…"

Mansingh Palace Ajmer Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
… and which I noticed at Mansingh Palace.1. Woodwork that’s scuffed, scratched, waterstained or badly in need of a good polish.2. A bedspread that looks as if it hasn’t been drycleaned even once in a long, greasy, grubby lifetime.3. Wardrobes so narrow the hangers just about fit—so if your clothes happen to be thicker than sheer muslin, the wardrobe door, when closed, will shut on the clothes.4. Bedside lampshades with the lining torn off in places, so reading a book in bed means patches of bright and patches of not-so-bright across the page.5. Towel rings fitted so low you bend over double to wipe your hands.6. A long, dark hair stuck on the back of the bathroom door ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Mansingh Palace Ajmer
Vaishali Nagar
Ajmer, Rajasthan
91 145 242702

Sheesh Mahal at Mansingh Palace

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Restaurant | "Erratic food, iffy ambience"

Sheesh Mahal at Mansingh Palace Photo, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Quote:
Sheesh Mahal is the restaurant at the Mansingh Palace, and according to some fellow diners we overheard, "one of the best places to eat out in Ajmer."It’s a mid-sized restaurant, two sides looking out onto a lovely green garden. The sheesh mahal bit (sheesh mahal literally means ‘glass palace—a term for a chamber decorated with mirrors and/or coloured glass) is in the ceiling, which has some mirrorwork, not too good. On our first evening at the hotel, we arrived for dinner at 8 PM, and were guided to a table. The restaurant, while not especially stylish, at least looks pleasant and clean: jade green and rusty peach upholstery, white tablecloths and peach covers. And a deep crimson hal...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Sheesh Mahal at Mansingh Palace
Vaishali Nagar
Ajmer, India

Pushkar: Brahma's town

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Story/Tip

In Pushkar Photo, Pushkar, India
Quote:
According to Hindu belief, a trinity rules the pantheon. There is the Creator, Brahma; the Preserver, Vishnu; and the Destroyer, Brahma. Oddly enough, while Shiva and Vishnu—and even other deities of the pantheon—have plenty of temples dedicated to them across India, Brahma has only one major temple—and it’s in Pushkar, 12 km from Ajmer. There are various myths to explain this strange fact—one claims that Brahma’s wife Savitri cursed him for having married another; a second myth ascribes the curse to Shiva, who is said to have punished Brahma for lying.Whatever it may be, Pushkar is home to India’s only major Brahma temple.And Brahma is not the only deity who is worshipped in Pushkar....Read More

Sunset Cafe

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Restaurant | "Good banana filter, even better view"

Sunset Cafe Photo, Pushkar, India
Quote:
Pushkar is one of India’s most popular destinations with the backpacking, spirituality-seeking, often drug-running, crowd that also frequents destinations like Manali or Goa. Thousands of travellers from all across the world wash up here, often staying for months altogether. Others come on package tours, maybe just on a daytrip from Jaipur. Not everybody’s keen on having Indian food, not if they’re spending a few months in Pushkar. Therefore, places like Sunset Café.We had heard about Sunset Café, that it was one of Pushkar’s most popular places to eat—and it did seem that way, because just about everybody we asked for directions knew exactly where it was. The café is part of the Sunset Hotel and h...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Sunset Cafe
Pushkar Lake
Pushkar, Rajasthan

Out of the Blue Cafe

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Restaurant | "Large portions, but…"

Out of the Blue Cafe Photo, Pushkar, India
Quote:
It’s generally believed that you stock up a lot of goodwill with the powers that be (read: Gods) if you do a parikrama—a circuit—of the Pushkar Lake. This implies starting off at any point on the bank of the lake, and then walking right round the lake, till you return to where you started off. It’s not a strenuous or unpleasant task, actually, since the lake is not much more than a pond (so it’s a short walk) and Pushkar is pretty clean, even in the back alleys—so it’s pleasant.But if, like us, you’ve had a tiring day wandering around Ajmer, with only a couple of slices of pizza for lunch, your strength does start to flag. And I am one of those who must have a mid-afternoon cup of cof...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Out of the Blue Cafe
Kapra Bazaar, Badi Basti
Pushkar, India
9269102811