Ajmer is a
city in Ajmer District in India's Rajasthan state. Ajmer is a very
beautiful city, since it is surrounded by the mountain by all
sides. You can run your eyes through 360 degrees and you will find
the spectacular Aravali Mountains. Ajmer, also known as Ajaymeru,
was the city which was ruled by Prithviraj Chauhan. The city gives
its name to a district, and also to a former province of British
India called Ajmer-Merwara, which, after India's independence,
became the state of Ajmer until November 1, 1956, when it was
merged into Rajasthan state.
Ajmer (Ajaya-meru in Sanskrit) was founded in the seventh century CE
by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan. He established the Chauhan dynasty which
continued to rule the country while repeated waves of Muslim invasion
swept across India. Ajmer was conquered by Muhammad of Ghor, founder
of the Delhi Sultanate, in 1193. Its internal government, however, was
handed over to the Chauhan rulers upon the payment of a heavy tribute
to the conquerors. Ajmer then remained feudatory to Delhi until 1365,
when it was captured by the ruler of Mewar. In 1509 Ajmer became a
source of contention between the maharajas of Mewar and Marwar, and
was ultimately conquered by the Marwar ruler in 1532. Ajmer was lost
to the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1559. It continued to be in the hands
of the Mughals, with occasional revolts, till 1770, when it was ceded
to the Marathas. From that time up to 1818 Ajmer was the scene of an
ongoing struggle, being seized at different times by the Mewar and the
Marwar maharajas, from whom it was often retaken by the Marathas. In
1818 the Marathas sold Ajmer to the British for 50,000 rupees. Since
then Ajmer had enjoyed unbroken peace and stable governance.
Places of interest :
The chief objects of interest is the Dargah, tomb of the
most revered Muslim sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, the Gharib Nawaz.
The Dargah Shareef of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is situated at the foot
of the Taragarh hill, and consists of several white marble buildings
arranged around two courtyards, including a massive gate donated by
the Nizam of Hyderabad, a mosque donated by the Mughal emperor Shah
Jahan, the Akbari Masjid, and the domed tomb of the saint. To this
place Emperor Akbar, with his queen, performed pilgrimage on foot from
Agra every year in observance of a vow he had made when praying for a
son. The large pillars, erected at intervals of two miles the whole
way between Agra and Ajmer, marking the daily halting places of the
royal pilgrim, are still extant.
Taragarh Fort, the fort of Ajmer, seat of the Chauhan rulers, is
claimed to be the first hill fort of Asia, built at a time when the
Aravalli mountain ranges were above the snowlines. This gives it the
reputation of being one of the oldest hill forts of the world, and it
is definitely the oldest among the hill forts in India.
The summit of Taragarh hill, overhanging Ajmer, is crowned by a fort,
the lofty thick battlements of which run along its brow and encloses
the table-land. The walls are two miles in circumference, and the fort
can only be approached by steep and very roughly paved planes,
commanded by the fort and the outworks, and by the hill to the west.
On coming into the hands of the British Raj, the fort was dismantled
by order of Lord William Bentinck, and was converted into a sanatorium
for the troops stationed at the British cantonment town of Nasirabad.
Adhai-din-ka-jhonpra, a Jain temple constructed in 1153 and
converted into a mosque by Qutubuddin Aibak after 1193, is situated on
the lower slope of the Taragarh hill. With the exception of that part
used as a mosque, nearly the whole of the ancient temple has fallen
into ruins, but the relics are not excelled in beauty of architecture
and sculpture by any remains of Hindu art. Forty columns support the
roof, but no two are alike, and great fertility of invention is
manifested in the execution of the ornaments.
Magazine, the city's Museum, was once the residence of Prince Salim,
son of Emperor Akbar, and presently houses a collection of the Mughal
and Rajput armor and sculpture. This residence of Salim is significant
from a historical point of view, because Salim as Emperor Jahangir
read out the fireman for trade to India to the British East India
Company from here, thus starting the chain of events that lead to
India's colonisation by the British.
Mayo College was established in 1875 by Lord Mayo, Viceroy of India.
The architecture of the school buildings evokes the grandeur of
erstwhile princely Rajasthan. The main building of the school, in
white marble, is a classic example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, and
the design now lies in the archives of the British Museum in London.