Ajmer is not just a tourist destination. It’s an experience that stays with you, long after you leave.
These Ajmer things to do will leave you feeling compelled to return to this hallowed city.
1. Make a wish
There are many things about Ajmer that keeps people coming back. But the premier landmark of the city is the hallowed Dargah Sharif, tomb of Saint Muinnudin Chisti. People of all kinds, from different parts of the world, come together at the Saint’s shrine to offer their respects and ask for his blessings. The shrine is particularly crowded on Fridays and during the annual festival of Urs.
2. See the ‘Kingdom of God’
A lesser-known but absolutely divine contribution to the Ajmer offering is Soni ji ki Nasiyan, also known as Nasiyan ji mandir. This complex houses a mesmerizing gold-plated creation which is an attempt to recreate the “Kingdom of God” conceived in the Jain fables. The intricate work and detailing in this “Golden City” are simply astonishing.
3. Head for the hills
The Taragarh Fort is one of the oldest forts in India and sits atop the Aravali range. The imposing fort offers an enchanting view of the city below and makes for a peaceful sunset point. Besides the landscape, the fort is also an attraction because it homes Miran Saheb ki Dargah, the final resting place of Miran Saheb, drawing followers in large numbers.
4. Laze by the lake
Ajmer’s Anasāgar Lake is a popular spot. The languid lake is frequented in the evenings by locals and visitors alike, who can be seen enjoying an evening stroll and munching on the local street food.
5. Push off to Pushkar
Just up the road from Ajmer is the place famous for its annual fair and bohemian spirit, Pushkar. The 11 kms distance can be covered in just 30 minutes by car. One can opt for an overnight stay or just go there for a few hours to visit the Brahma temple, saunter through the streets and feast on mouthwatering vegetarian dishes served in its trendy cafes.
6. Rummage in the shops
Although big brand names can be seen sporadically around the city, the real steals are vibrant curios sold on street corners and in makeshift shops. From ornaments for your home to gorgeous costume jewelry, there’s a plethora of inexpensive products, which can be yours without any real bargaining.
7. Walk the alleys
As you maneuver your way through Ajmer’s bustling and spirited alleys you’ll come across hidden gems that aren’t found in most travel brochures. Between a kulfi-seller’s stall and a bangle-makers shop will be a music school resonating with the sounds of the sitar.
8. See fine Islamic architecture
As you walk through the alleys next to the Dargah Sharif, you’ll find your way to Dhai din ka Jhopra. It is believed that the monument was originally a Hindu university, which was demolished once the Mughal came to power. And, in just two and a half days (dhai din) it was replaced by the Mughals with the creation that stands here today. The monument is one of the few places in Ajmer, where one can see architecture with Mughal influence.
There is no airport in Ajmer, but it is extremely well-connected by trains and highways to all major cities. The nearest airport is in Jaipur.
With the exception of Tarahgarh Fort, most tourist destinations are located close to one another. Being well-informed about the distances helps when using auto-rickshaws or taxis.
Tourists should avoid visiting the Dargah Sharif on Fridays and Sundays. Beware of pickpockets, touts and con artists. Cover your head before entering the shrine.
If possible, leave your mobile phones and bags in your homestay, because they are not allowed inside many places.
Traveling to Ajmer between late March and July is extremely ill-advised as the summers are harsh and unforgiving.
Ajmer is 138 kms from Jaipur, 392 kms from Delhi and 233 kms from Bikaner.
Udaipur is a 5-hour drive away.
Take a look at our Ajmer homestays.
Front page image: Creative Commons
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.