Visiting Ajmer, Rajasthan, India a second time

When we visited Ajmer the first time, it was during Ramadan time and we experienced a very serene town.  Our first visit was combined with a visit to nearby Pushkar where we spent most of our time.  You can read about it in my blog post:

This time around, we decided to focus on Ajmer as we only had an evening to spare. 

We reached Ajmer around 5 pm.  Our first stop was the Ajmer Jain Temple.  Unfortunately, the temple is out of bounds for non-practicing Jains.  However, we were allowed to explore Soniji Ki Nasiyan building which showcases beautiful gold models of legendary cities.  You have to climb up steep, narrow steps but the sights inside are truly amazing.  Only drawback – the place closes promptly at 5:30 and you need at least an hour to properly explore the displays.  So time your visit accordingly.

Next we headed to the hotel.  Here, we learnt a very important lesson about India and traveling during peak travel season… just because you paid for a room upfront does not mean you are guaranteed a room…especially in hotels that are event oriented.  A small inn called KC Inn came to our rescue on short notice (fantastic place by the way) and thanks to them we had a decent place to spend the night… Unfortunately, we lost about 2 1/2 hours in the process.

After the hotel debacle, we had a quick dinner and headed to the Dargah.  Here, we had an opportunity to see the following: tail end of the qawwali session, food being cooked in one of the large caldrons in the premises and the closing ceremony and the poetry session during the ceremony.  It was incredible.  However, this time around, we did become aware of the pick-pockets people often warn about… yes, unfortunately they do lurk around and you do have to be extra careful.  Take care of yourself and your belongings.

Around 10:45pm we decided to call it a night and headed back to our hotel.

We decided not to spend time exploring the other sites within Ajmer as no one was in the sightseeing mood anymore (it is amazing how one bad event can throw you off completely).  Places missed include:  Akbar’s palace, Taragarh fort and the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra.  If we had another half a day, we would have definitely seen these places.

The next morning, after breakfast we headed to our next destination.

Lessons learnt:

  • Hotels – don’t fall for heritage hotels that focus on events.  Their primary customers are not individual guests.  Instead, opt for smaller, clean inns that will give you a safe place to stay, especially if you are looking for something close to the Dargah.
  • Ajmer Dargah – Every person you speak to will give you different information regarding timings of events.  What we experienced this time around is that the qawwali sessions take place until the closing ceremonies, which start around 8:30 – 8:45 pm.  After the entrance of the tomb is closed, other sessions take place that are also quite interesting to witness. If you want to experience the evening vibe, then head to the Dargah around 7 to 7:30pm.
  • Human sea – Be prepared for a sea of people in front of the Dargah… it is indeed a sight to behold… but also be careful about your belongings!
  • Timings – If you plan to see other sights within Ajmer, be aware of opening and closing times and plan accordingly.


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