Monday, July 27, 2020

Basic data and tourism information on Ajmer District of Rajasthan

Ajmer District at a Glance

General

·                     District:                      Ajmer

·                     Headquarters:          Ajmer

·                     State:                          Rajasthan

 

Area in Sq Km (Census 2011) 

·                     Total:                          8481

·                     Rural:                         8091.33

·                     Urban:                       389.67

 

Population (Census 2011) 

·                     Population:                2583052

·                     Rural:                          1547642

·                     Urban:                        1035410

·                     Male:                          1324085

·                     Female:                      1258967

·                     Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 males):         951

·                     Density (Total, Persons per sq km):           305

 

Constituencies (ECI) 

·                     Assembly:       8

·                     Lok Sabha:     1

The eastern portion of Ajmer district is generally flat, broken only by gentle undulations. The western part, from north-west to south-west, is intersected by the Aravalli Range. Many of the valleys in this region are sandy deserts, part of India's Thar Desert, with an occasional oasis of cultivation. Some fertile tracts are also present; among these is the plain on which lies the town of Ajmer. This valley has an artificial lake, and is protected by the massive walls of the Nagpathar range or Serpent rock, which forms a barrier against the sand. The only hills in the district are the Aravalli Range and its offshoots. Ajmer is almost totally devoid of rivers. The Banas River touches the south-eastern boundary of the district so as to irrigate the pargana of Samur. Four small streams—the Sagarmati, Saraswati, Khari and Dai—also intersect the district.

PLACES OF INTEREST

 

ADHAI - DIN KA- JHONPRA

 

Adhai din ka Jhonpra


‘Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra’ is a work of outstanding artistry of Indo-Islamic architecture and  is located near the Dargah Sharif. It consists of a courtyard protected from all four sides and has a front screen wall of seven sharp arches inside the place. It was originally supposed to be built as a Sanskrit College within a temple enclosure which was later destroyed by Mohammad Ghori and  converted into a mosque. The name Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra was given to the place in the latter half of the 18th century when fakirs began to assemble here in the times of the Marathas to celebrate the Urs anniversary of the death of the Pir Panjaba Shah, which lasted for two-and-a-half days (Adhai Din). The fakirs used to live in Jhonpras (huts), and hence, the name – Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra.

ANASAGAR LAKE

 

A view of Anasagar Lake


Another view of Anasagar Lake

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 (now known as Subhash Bagh) near the lake.


The Baradari on the edge of Anasagar lake


Emperor Shah Jahan too contributed to the expansion by building five pavilions, known as the Baradari, between the garden and the lake.

DARGAH KHWAJA SAHEB

 

Ajmer Dargah  (Image credit: Ajmer darshan)

 

Dargah Khwaja Saheb was the final resting place of the Saint, Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti. It was built in the 13th Century and is popularly known as ‘Gareeb Nawaaz’. The Dargah is located in Ajmer city and has the grave of the famous saint. Devotees believe that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti was the direct descendant of Muhammad because he arrived in Ajmer to preach about his beliefs after Muhammad appeared in his dreams. The entrance gate of the Dargah is called Nizaam Gate followed by Shahjahani Gate, which was built by Shah Jahan. Shahjahani Gate is followed by Buland Darwaaza. The Urs flag is hoisted every year on the Buland Darwaaza to mark the beginning of Urs.

The Dargah is presently under the ownership of an international trust. The government has appointed a Dargah committee which takes care of the affairs of the Dargah and also finances charitable institutes like guest houses, dispensaries, etc. The rituals of the Dargah are taken care of by priests known as Khadims.

AKBAR'S PALACE

 

Akbar Palace

Amongst the many incredible places to visit in Ajmer, Akbar’s Palace is believed to have been made in such a way that it would be difficult to attack it. One of the most visited monuments in the city, this Palace displays brilliant artwork and inscriptions on the ceilings and walls. Make sure to see the two impressive stone walls that surround the Akbar’s Palace. A portion of this must see attraction was also converted into a museum back in 1908 and you can explore the old treasures, stone sculpture, miniature paintings and medieval armoury of the warriors.

SAIBABA TEMPLE

 

Saibaba Temple (Outside View)


Saibaba Temple (Inside View)

To complete a religious tour in Ajmer, the temple of Sai Baba is a must visit place. The temple is completely built in marble that appears translucent. Spreading over an area of two acres, the temple gives visitors a chance to capture brilliant landscape shots of the surroundings from across the garden. The Sai Baba Temple in Ajmer was built in 1999 and ever since this temple has gained its popularity.

NARELI JAIN TEMPLE

 

Nareli Jain Temple

The Nareli Jain Temple also known as the Shri Gyanodaya Tirth Kshetra is an important pilgrimage site for Digambara Jains. And perhaps there are two key elements that make Nareli Jain Temple worth a visit, one, the beautiful mix of traditional and contemporary architecture style, and second, is its secluded location amid Aravalli Hills. The entire temple is made of marble and it displays intricate stone carvings and 24 other miniature shrines in its vicinity. But the main attraction here is a huge statue of Guru Adinath Ji. Besides offering a religious treat to the devotees, its surroundings also provide a great spot for picnics and a perfect place if you want a quick getaway from Ajmer.

SONIJI KI NASIYAN

 

Soniji ki Nasiyan

One of the best places for pilgrims is the Soniji ki Nasiyan, located in the heart of Ajmer near Akbar’s Fort. Basically, Soniji ki Nasiyan is a Jain temple dedicated to Lord Rishabh or Lord Adinath and it beautifully displays rich architecture. The exterior of the temple is of red sandstone and is believed to have taken just a few years to complete. However, it took around twenty-five years to complete the entire structure inside out. Soniji ki Nasiyan displays the images of the Tirthankaras in an area that is connected by a staircase to the main temple. Swarna Nagari ‘City of Gold’ or the main chamber houses several gold-plated artistic representations of the Jain religion. It is said that this 19th-century temple is among the richest Jain temples in India.

TARAGARH FORT

 

Taragarh Fort

One of the oldest hill forts in Rajasthan, Taragarh Fort is a mega structure that was built in 1934 and is surrounded by six huge gates around the complex. The fort overlooks the entire city and displays beautiful architecture style of Rajasthan. Here, the front gateway is decorated with gorgeous stone sculptures of elephants. Taragarh also houses the Dargah of Miran Sahib. During the Mughal rule, Taragarh Fort was used as an important military centre but in the later years, it was used as a sanatorium during the British rule in Ajmer. The iconic attraction in the fort is Bhim Burj, which is a huge battlement where a large cannon and massive stone water reservoirs are located within the fort complex. It is a three-kilometer uphill walk from the main city, it is also easily accessible by car.

LAKE FOY SAAGAR

 

Foy Saagar Lake

Another renowned tourist attraction and counted to be one of the best places to visit in Ajmer is the Foy Sagar Lake built in the year 1892. This lake was originally constructed as a Famine Relief Project to help cope up with the scarcity of water. However, today, the lake serves as an ideal tourist place where one can spend time amid nature. Often it is the favourite place to have family picnics and can also be considered as a getaway for couples. This artificial lake is spread over 14,000,000 sq ft and has a flat water-body offering a picturesque view of the Aravalli Hills.

MAYO COLLEGE

 

Mayo College

Mayo College is one of India’s oldest independent boarding schools. Founded in 1875, and named after Richard Bourke, the 6th Earl of Mayo, Mayo College was set up to provide the scions of India’s princely states with an education similar to that provided by the Eton College in Britain. John Lockwood Kipling, father of Nobel Laureate, Rudyard Kipling, as principal of Mayo College, furnished the design of the Coat of Arms which shows a Rajput and a Bhil warrior. The college building is one of the finest extant examples of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.

KISHANGARH FORT

 

Kishangarh Fort

Kishangarh Fort is a beautiful fort located in Kishangarh, Rajasthan. On visiting the fort, one will see jails, granaries, armouries and other significant buildings present inside of it. The Durbar Hall is its biggest structure, and was the place where the kings carried out their official meetings on a daily basis. And when it comes to the most attractive place inside the fort, it has got to be Phool Mahal which showcases the splendour of the kings from the Rathore clan in a glorious manner, with gorgeous murals and frescos adorning its walls. Alongside the fort, a few lakes like Gundu lav talab & Hamir Sagar are located which serve as a great picnic spot. If you want to revisit history, Kishangarh Fort is a place you ought to visit when in Rajasthan.

 

PRITHVI RAJ SMARAK

 

Prithviraj Smarak

Prithvi Raj Smarak is a memorial made in the honor of the brave Rajput chief, Prithvi Raj Chauhan III. Regarded as the epitome of devotion and courage, he was the last ruler of the Chauhan lineage and was enthroned to rule over the twin capitals of the Ajmer and Delhi, in 12th century. The memorial exhibits a statue of Prithvi Raj III seated on his horse, made in black stone. The horse has one of its front hooves up in the air, as if charging forward. The memorial stands atop a hill, surrounded by the Aravalli range, giving visitors a panoramic view of the city of Ajmer. The memorial also has a garden adjacent to it, wherein tourists can sit and relax.

Friday, July 24, 2020

An insight into the holy town of Pushkar

  

Pushkar is a small town located in central-east part of Rajasthan, on the western side of Aravalli mountains. The nearest airport from Pushkar is Kishangarh Airport in Ajmer, about 40 km (25 mi) northeast. Pushkar is about 10 km (6.2 mi) from Ajmer, connected via Pushkar road (Highway 58) which goes over the Aravalli Range mountains. Ajmer is also the nearest major railway station.

A view of Pushkar town

According to legends, Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the Universe, dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then decided to name the place after the flower, and thus the name, Pushkar. The city of Pushkar is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the whole world. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be the ultimate pilgrimage that must be undertaken to attain salvation.

Hindu mythology speaks about Panch Sarovars (Five Lakes) – Man Sarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar, of which, Pushkar Lake is considered to be the most sacred. Devotees believe that bathing in the waters of the lake on Kartik Poornima (during the Pushkar Fair) will nullify sins and cure all skin diseases. This artificial lake has been created by building a dam and lies nestled in the folds of the Aravalli range, surrounded by a desert and hills on all sides. The lake has 52 bathing ghats (steps leading into the water) and the water around each ghat is believed to possess special medicinal powers. The Pushkar Lake is a popular destination for pilgrims, as evidenced by the over 500 temples that dot the banks of the lake.

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, the tranquil city of Pushkar is a favoured destination for thousands of tourists and devotees flocking to Rajasthan. Situated at a height of 510 metres, Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’, literally meaning Snake Mountain forms a natural border between Ajmer and Pushkar. Known as ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’, the essence of the famous Pushkar rose is exported all over the world. Along with an interesting mythological history, a legacy of timeless architectural heritage makes Pushkar a fascinating city.

Pushkar is a favorite travel destination in Rajasthan, as it happens to be a temple town. The town of Pushkar has developed around the Pushkar Lake.

It is an old town considered to be the only place where Lord Brahma is worshipped. Pushkar lies on the shore of Lake Pushkar and the deities Savitri and Gayatri are popularly worshipped here as they were Lord Brahma’s wives. Since it is a temple town you would likely be visiting the most important temples of Lord Brahma, Savitri and Gayatri Devi. A major tourist attraction in Pushkar is the camel fair held in November, about which there is more information below.

There are a number of hotels overlooking the Pushkar Lake with rooftop restaurants for a serene view as you dine. The town has a no alcohol and vegetarian-only policy.

Among the sightseeing places in Pushkar it would be great to watch the lake illuminated by the evening aarti lamps.

The Brahma Temple is enchanting with its evening puja (prayer) chantings of bells and lamplight aradhana. Shoes, bags and cameras are forbidden inside the complex. The Savitri temple is the next in importance to the Brahma temple. The Pap Mochini is 30 minutes away, and a temple dedicated to Gayatri, Brahma’s second consort. Tourism in Pushkar has gained importance because there are spiritual tours conducted on foot which are rejuvenating; besides there is scope for shopping memorabilia; enjoying coffee at little cafes; shopping for Rajasthani handicraft and taking camel safari to the sunset point. Visiting simple temple towns like Pushkar are a relief from the humdrum of complex city life where you can breathe at ease and give yourself a much needed break.

Pushkar fair (fair is called “mela” in Hindi)

The Pushkar Fair, also called the Pushkar Camel Fair or locally as Kartik Mela or Pushkar ka Mela is an annual multi-day livestock fair and cultural fĂȘte held in the town of Pushkar (Rajasthan, India). The fair starts with the Hindu calendar month of Kartik and ends on the Kartik Purnima, which typically overlaps with late October and early November in the Gregorian calendar. In 1998, over 1 million visitors came to Pushkar throughout the year. The Pushkar fair alone attracts over 200,000 visitors.

Percussion Artist at Pushkar fair




Puppet show at the fair

The Pushkar fair is one of India's largest camel, horse and cattle fairs. Apart from the trading of livestock, it is an important pilgrimage season for Hindus to the Pushkar lake. Pushkar fair has also become a significant tourist attraction for domestic and international travelers, given the cooler season, the abundance of colorful cultural themes. Cultural events and competitions include dances, tug of war between women teams as well as men teams, the "matka phod" (a matka is a round clay pot used for storing drinking water), "longest moustache" competition, "bridal competition", camel races and others.

Pushkar Mela is celebrated from the Kartik Ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar.

 

Let us learn a bit about Pushkar and the amazing fair it is host to. The Pushkar town offers tourists a wide range of rich architectural heritage, activities, and experiences. The fair is as old as 100 years and is truly a cultural retreat with various dancers, musicians, snake charmers and acrobats. Pushkar Mela pulls thousands and thousands of livestock from far and beyond. Cattle from faraway places travel on foot for business purposes. Camels are definitely the highlight of the fair. Beautifully decorated camels well adorned with jewellery participate in the fair and activities like camel dance shows, camel decoration contest. Other highlights include camel safari tours, music and dance shows and modern comfortable camps to stay. 

 

Activities at Pushkar fair

Some of the activities to watch out for at the Pushkar Mela are as follows.  The thrilling hot air balloon is one of the most interesting activities. Watching the entire city and the scale of the mela from air is simply breathtaking. Others include LangriTaang with foreigners, Kabbadi Match, Voice of Pushkar, Mandana Competition, Kite Flying Competition, Jeep Safaris and a lot many camel related contests and competitions.

Watching sunsets during the safari is a not-to-miss experience.

 Camp Stay and Contests at Pushkar Fair

Booking the perfect accommodation can really make your trip a unique experience. Pushkar Mela offers an off-the-beaten-path range of camps for stay where one can hope for a unique experience. Comfortable and cozy, these camps are quiet and offer an authentic experience.

 

 

Tented accommodation at Pushkar fair


One of the preferred accommodations is the Skywaltz Pushkar Camp. One can stay in Deluxe Tents Non Air Conditioned and Luxury Tents Air Conditioned. You can take a one night package at Luxury Air Conditioned tents and this will include stay in a Luxury tent at the camp for a couple, all meals and local transfers at the Pushkar Mela Ground. It will also include full day access to the elevated sitting area at the stadium and VIP seating for evening concerts.

 

Luxurious tent accommodation

 

The packages vary in cost from about Rs 10,000 to 20,000 per night, depending upon number of days of stay.

It is advisable to get your accommodation booked in advance as the fair witnesses numerous travelers, both domestic and international coming from various parts of the world. Also, make sure to make bookings for activities like camel and jeep safaris, quad biking, para-motoring & hot air balloon flights beforehand.

Please visit https://www.pushkarmela.org/packages for details and booking of packages

  

PLACES OF INTEREST

PUSHKAR LAKE

 

Pushkar Lake

 

According to Hindu scriptures, the sacred Pushkar Lake is described as ‘Tirtha Raj’, the king of all pilgrimage sites. No pilgrimage is considered to be complete without a dip in in the holy Pushkar Lake. Semi-circular in shape and about 8-10 metres deep, Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 400 temples and is truly a magnificent sight to behold.

BRAHMA TEMPLE

 

Temple of Lord Brahma

 

 Jagatpita Brahma Mandir is a temple dedicated to the Hindu God of Creation, Lord Brahma and is located close to the sacred Pushkar Lake. Nestled in the picturesque Pushkar valley beyond the Nangaparvat and Anasagar Lake, the Brahma temple holds a special place in the hearts of Indians. It is the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma. Built with marble and decorated with silver coins, this temple can be identified by its red spire and the image of a swan (considered sacred to Lord Brahma). The chaturmukhi (four faced) idol of Lord Brahma is housed in the inner sanctum. A marble statue of the sun god stands sentinel at the temple. Interestingly, while all the gods are shown bare footed, Surya is shown wearing ancient warrior’s boots.

 

The sanctum sanctorum of Brahma Temple


The ancient structure is about 2000 years old, although the current structure dates to the 14th century. Pushkar has over 500 temples, some very old, but the Brahma temple is the most important among them. Legend has it that Brahma came down upon earth to perform a yajna and chose this site for his temple. In the 8th century, Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara devoted himself to renovating the temple, but the current structure is credited to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam, who repaired and slightly modified it. The inner sanctum of the temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma and his second wife, Gayatri. The temple is made of marble and stone stabs. Its red pinnacle (shikhara) can be seen from a distance and the temple has a distinct hamsa (bird) motif. On Kartik Poornima during Pushkar Fair, the town celebrates a festival dedicated to Brahma. Devout pilgrims visit the temple after bathing and cleansing themselves in the sacred Pushkar Lake. The Brahma temple has been recognized as one of the ten most religious places in the world and is considered to be one of the five sacred pilgrimage destinations for Hindus.

 

SAVITRI TEMPLE

 

Savitri Temple

 

Dedicated to Lord Brahma's first wife, Goddess Savitri, this temple is situated on a hillock right behind the Brahma temple. While climbing the long series of steps leading to the temple, one can catch a panoramic view of the lake, surrounding temples and sand dunes. The presence of the only Brahma Temple in Pushkar is the outcome of Savitri’s curse to Brahma for marrying another Goddess, Gayatri, while starting his yagna in Pushkar.

RANGJI TEMPLE

 

Old Rangji Temple




New Rangji Temple

 The gracious and conspicuous Rangji Temple is another popular shrine that witnesses thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rangji, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The influence of South Indian style, Rajput style and Mughal style in the temple’s architecture is immediately evident to the discerning eye. The high-rising ‘Gopuram’, prevalent mainly in the temples of South India, is another feature of the temple that attracts visitors.

 

PAP MOCHINI TEMPLE

 

Paap Mochini Temple

 

Presided by the deity Ekadashi Mata, the Pap Mochini temple is believed to provide respite to followers from their cardinal sins. Located in the northern section of Pushkar, the temple is like a pearl in the crown of Pushkar. Having a great spiritual importance as well as boasting a splendid architecture, the Pap Mochini temple is one of the most popular temples in Rajasthan.

 

ATMATESHWAR TEMPLE

 

Atmateshwar Temple


This beautiful 12th century temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an underground component. The intricate Hemadpanti architectural style carvings give this temple a magnificent appearance. Thousands of devotees flock here to pay their respects during the auspicious time of Shivaratri, when Lord Shiva is ritually respected.

 

VARAHA TEMPLE

 

Varaha temple

Varaha temple is the largest and the most ancient temple of Pushkar. Constructed by the 12th century ruler, King Anaji Chauhan, this temple is dedicated to the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a wild boar. Legend has it that Varaha rescued the earth from depth of the primeval water, where it was dragged down by a demon (Hirnayaksh). It is one of the most visited temples in Pushkar.

 

SARAFA BAZAAR

 

Sarafa Bazaar

 

Among the most popular and vibrant bazaars in Pushkar is the Sarafa Bazaar, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. All the stuff in a way exhibit the real culture and tradition of India. In fact, any tour to Pushkar is incomplete without visiting this famous bazaar.

Pushkar is revered as one of the most pious towns in Rajasthan, with several sacred ghats and shrines. From famous attractions to lively bazaars, Pushkar has a lot keep you engaged. Whether it is a local market or a showroom, the town doesn’t seem to disappoint you in any aspect.

Some of the unique buys of Sarafa bazaar include best quality of garments (stitched or readymade), beautiful shimmering fashion accessories, amazing fabrics, stony bead bangles and excellent leather goods. The town also boasts of intricately designed camel covers. Do not miss the most stunning and attractive statues of different Hindu Gods and Goddess.

Baza Bazaar

The nearby Baza bazaar also offers unique shopping opportunity to both domestic & international tourists.

  

Rajasthan tourism site link: https://www.pushkarmela.org/