Ajmer is a bustling chaotic city around 130km southwest of Jaipur. It surrounds the tranquil lake of Ana Sagar, and is itself ringed by the 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, a venerated Sufi saint who founded the Chishtiya order, the prime Sufi order in India today. 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, most travellers just use Ajmer as a stepping stone to nearby Pushkar, a supremely sacred town to Hindus and a former hippy hangout. With Ajmer’s combination of high-voltage crowds, commerce and traffic, most travellers choose to stay in laid-back Pushkar, and visit on a day trip.
Ajmer gets very busy during Ramadan, and the anniversary of the saint’s death – The Urs.