It is, once again, time to travel around the world with our Les Roches students. This time, Student Ambassador Rajveer Singh takes you on a trip to the Indian cities of Ajmer and Pushkar.
In this guide, I will be talking to you about the two cities of Ajmer and Pushkar in Rajasthan, with a focus on Ajmer. Both cities are very close to my heart as I have been schooled in Ajmer and have visited Pushkar very frequently over my nine years of boarding school life.
When it comes to Rajasthan, also referred to as the “Land of Maharajas”, it is the largest state in the subcontinent of India. It is known for its historical cities and towns, which are the epitome of architecture and royalty.
To give you a little bit of background, Ajmer, formerly known as Ajaymeru or the “Invincible Hill”, was founded in the 11th Century by a Rajput ruler named Ajaipal Chauhan. Surrounded by the breath-taking landscape of the Aravalli Hills, the city is located in the North-Western part of India. The best time to visit it is between October and February because of the pleasantly chilly weather. I would not recommend a visit between the months of March and May as the temperature rises above 42 degrees Celsius.
Now, here are my top 3 places to visit in Ajmer:
1. The Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Sacred shrine of the pious Sufi Saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, the Ajmer Sharif is one of the holiest shrines in India for the Islamic Community and has its doors open to people of all faiths and religions. The entrance of the “dargah” is made of massive silver doors which lead to a courtyard where the Saint’s tomb is situated. The tomb is gold-plated and is guarded by a silver railing. The serene atmosphere and the fragrance of fresh flowers and scented incense sticks make this shrine a must-visit place for all tourists.
2. The Mayo College, Ajmer
Founded in 1875 by Richard Bourke, the 6th Earl of Mayo, Mayo College is one of India’s finest boarding schools. It is my alma-mater and is also known as the Eton of the East. It was founded to provide matching education to Eton College in Britain for the princes and members of royal families back in the days. The Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Mayo College’s main building reflects royalty and is of significant historical importance. Today, students from all over the globe study at The Mayo College and it is still considered the best boarding school in the Indian subcontinent.
3. The Anasagar Lake
A scenic artificial lake, the Anasagar Lake was built between 1135 and 1150 AD by Arnoraj Chauhan. Several decades later, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir added his touch through the Daulat Bagh Gardens surrounding the lake. Emperor Shah Jahan, who’s brainchild is the Taj Mahal in Agra, also added five pavilions known as the “Baradari” between the garden and the lake.
Where to eat
I would highly recommend a meal at The Mango Curry restaurant for an amazing multi-cuisine culinary experience; and then head to Bhootia Halwai for some delectable “Rabdi”, which is a condensed-milk-based dessert, and a lip-smacking glass of lassi.
Some hotel recommendations in Ajmer and Pushkar
For a budget but value-for-money stay, I would recommend staying at the Data Inn, which is centrally located in downtown Ajmer. Hotel Crossroad and LN Courtyard are also very good options.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a luxury stay, I would recommend that you drive fifteen kilometres to reach Pushkar and stay at Ananta Spa & Resorts or The Westin Pushkar.
BONUS: Visit the pilgrimage town of Pushkar
When visiting Ajmer, do not forget to stop by the beautiful city of Pushkar, which is a very famous Hindu pilgrimage town bordering the desert.
Pushkar counts fifty-two staircases, also known as “Ghats”, wherein the pilgrims take the holy dip. It is also the proud home of the world’s only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. It is believed that the Lord, who is known as the creator of the world in Hinduism, was cursed that there will only be one place in the world where his temple will be made and that town is Pushkar.
It is a beautiful place and a visit to Pushkar cannot be completed without visiting the scenic Pushkar Lake and having a meal at the Sunset Café.