AJMER'S HISTORICAL BUILDINGS - A must read if you plan to visit Ajmer


Ajmer is situated on Delhi-Ahmedabad national highway and also a major junction on that route. It is famous for the Dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti as worship place for Muslims as well as for the Pushkar, prominent religious place of Hindus. Historically also the city has its importance as it is a witness of the downfall of the last Hindu kingdom, the Chauhans. The city is situated in a valley and ridge region, which provides it an incomparable beauty. Raja Ajayraja Chauhan founded Ajmer in the 7th century A.D. Due to its strategic location the city has faced several ups and downs till its surrender to the Britishers in 19th century. After that city has progressed quite a lot but after independence due to lack of political will and strong economy base city is considered as slow growing town. The city posses some very beautiful, ancient monuments as well as picturesque sites. But in the absence of proper maintenance, they are losing their old charm. In the following part of the report there is a brief account of some of the important places and buildings of Ajmer


The dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti, popularly known as Khwaja Sahib, is a place of worship for both Hindus and Muslims but Muslims put this place next to their main worship place, Mecca-Madina.Every year in the month of October-November a urs is held in the memory of Khwaja, which attracts a large number of devotees almost equal toAjmer’s own population (more than 4 lakhs). This is also the main economy base of the town. The Dargah is situated at the foot of Taragarh Hill. It is an irregular rectangle, with its principal entrance to the north. At the main entrance of the campus there is a gate called as Buland Darwaja because it is disproportionately high almost 75 feet from ground. The courtyard between the Buland Darwaja and the inner courtyard covers underneath it, cellars of Hindu temples. The whole Dargah campus appears to have been built from the ruins of old Hindu temples. To the west of the court is situated mahfilkhana, a small water reservoir. Inside the Dargah campus, there are several buildings such as Tomb of Khwajasahib, cellars containing remains of Khwaja’s wives, and some other tombs. From architectural point of view, the buildings here do not have any outstanding feature except two big cauldrons, which are used to cook the prasad of Khwaja and considered as very much important and holy by the devotees. One of them is very big in size other is little small. Both of them together can contain as much rice as to feed almost 50000 people at a time. The whole campus of Dargah has not been developed at a time, the kings and nawabs went on adding the tombs and mosques. Now, the whole streets leading to Dargah has converted from residential to commercial and main commercial hub of the city. Area surrounding Dargah needs to be regenerated in order to remove inconvenience faced by visitors and to upgrade the economy base of the town.


From an antiquarian point of view as well as an architectural point of view, the Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhopra is one of the most important buildings in India and the most ancient monuments of Hindu Architecture. It was in use for quite a long period of time as a mosque but originally it was a Sanskrit college built during the regime of chauhan king, Raja Visaladev Chauhan. It is said that it is called as Adhai-din-ka-Jhopra because it has been converted in to mosque with in two and half days. It was originally one square shaped building, 259 feet each side, with cloisters on all the four sides enclosing a spacious courtyard and four splendid star-shaped towers on the four corners, surmounted by chhatrees. The Afghans of Ghors, who attacked Ajmer in 1192 A.D, destroyed this splendid building. They then began to convert it in to a mosque; the alteration consisted principally of the addition of the magnificent screen wall, consisting of seven arches. This screen wall is a superb piece of Saracenic architecture. The whole of the arches were adorned with three lines of writings, which are boldly and deeply cut in a hard yellow limestone and though somewhat discolored by the weather, it still retains all its original sharpness of outline. The central arch is 22 feet 3 inches wide, and remaining arches are all 13 feet 5 inches wide. This is another building that can be developed as a tourist place.


The celebrated fortress of Ajmer, famous in songs as Garh Beetli, but commonly called Taragarh, is one of the most renowned fortresses in the east, and has played a prominent part in Indian history. The fort covers an area of 80 acres, and is built on the crest of a towering hill called Taragarh, 2855 feet above sea level, and about 1300 feet above the plain. This hill, which overhangs the city of Ajmer and commands it at every point, is the northeast end of one of the ranges of the Aravalli Mountains. The walls of the battlements, where they have not been built on the edge of an inaccessible precipice, are composed of huge blocks of stone cut and squared so as to make a plain stone wall 20 feet thick, and as many feet high, strengthened by round towers built at every declivity in the hill, except on the promontory which juts out of the main fortress to the south and which is fortified by stronger bastions at very short distances. It is said that it was the first fort built on hill in India, in the seventh century of the Christian era by King Ajayraja Chauhan of Chauhan dynasty. It maintained its reputation for strength and strategic importance during all the political changes and upheavals this country has witnessed during the momentous period between the seventh and the nineteenth centuries. After the decline of chauhans it went into the hands of several kingdoms such as -ughal, Maratha kings etc. and finally been surrendered to Britishers in 1791 A.D. who dismantled it in 1832 A.D. This far framed fortress has sustained so many assaults, so many sieges, and has been occupied by so many masters that the character of the fortress is now completely changed; and has lost much of the architectural interest usually attached to such places.


This is the largest, oldest and most beautiful lake of the Ajmer city, constructed by the King Arnoraja Chauhan of the Chauhan rule, grandfather of legendary King Prithviraj in 1135-150 A.D. It was constructed by damning a rivulet named “Bandi River”. The massive embankment of Anasagar was of earth faced with stones almost 1102 feet long, spread between two hillocks Khobran Bhairoon and Banjrangarh having temples above of same name. The lake has a circumference of 5 kms., with water spread of 2.7 SQ. KMS. The lake supplied water to the Ajmer city before the construction of Foysagar in 1891 A.D., by two underground masonry channels, one passing through the city to the Nahar Kund and the Surajkund. Besides it adds the beauty to the city, it has a source of interest in being the fountain of the Luni tributary, which pursues its silent course, until its unites with the eastern arm of the delta of the Indus. Now this lake, as in most lakes of India, is going on shrinking in its size as well as has become a place for dumping wastes. The most beautiful spot of the town is going on depleting and losing its importance.


Emperor Shahjahan, when saw the beauty of Anasagar, put up a marble parapet on the embankment1240 feet long, and Five Pavilions of polished marble, incomparable in elegance and beauty in 1673 A.D. These are incomparable in beauty as well as a good work of architecture. Of the five pavilions, the third from the south, the largest (46 feet long) and the best, built after the model of the Diwan-I-Khas in the Delhi fort, was allowed to stand intact. The others were converted into offices and residences and further dismantled during British period. One pavilion was used as a temple in the magazine after replacing it from Anasagar to the above building. These baradaries commands a very good view of Anasagar and also provides a recreational spot to the citizens of Ajmer.


This is a large garden spreading over almost 10 acres of area, was laid out by Emperor Jahangir as a royal pleasure garden on the banks of Anasagar near Baradaries. This was a walled enclosure constructed primarily for the use of the inmates of the Harem. The walls were demolished in 1884 A.D. and the gardens were attributed to public. Now Municipality maintains the garden. There is a square tank surrounded by a marble platform and number of fountains built during Jahangir’s time, and is still in a good state of preservation. The garden with Anasagar and Baradaries provides a charming beauty and it is the most attractive point of the Ajmer Town.


THE mayo College, sometimes called as “Eton of India” is situated in the south east of Ajmer city about two miles from city centre and on an elevation of 1570 feet above sea level. It has been opened as Princess college of India by the Lord Mayo, The Viceroy of India (1869-72) in 1875. It received pupils not only from India but also from Persian countries. It is spread over almost 170 acres. The college building is a noble structure of unpolished white marble with bands of black introduced at intervals in the Hindu Saracenic style. It contains a large hall 68’X 40’ x 37.5’ beautifully colored in oils. The designs created in the hall are emblematic of the Solar and Lunar Races. Rising above the building is a delicately proportioned Clock Tower, 127 feet high. Round the main building are grouped in the form of horseshoe, most of the boarding houses. The building of Mayo College is considered as one of the architecturally beautiful institutional building, which still in operation, in Rajasthan. The College is unique among schools in India because of its splendid facilities and polo ground.


The magazine was one of the most prominent objects at one time in the landscape of Ajmer and is of historical importance. The Magazine is a massive rectangular structure with four imposing bastions at the corners, an audience chamber in the centre, and a magnificent gateway towards the west facing the town. To the west of the Magazine, there was an open space for elephant fights and similar other amusements and also for the execution of criminals. The Mughal emperors used this as palace on their visit to Ajmer. Now the magazine is in use as museum for displaying reminiscent of Ajmer’s past and from all sides it is cluttered with buildings. The police headquarter of Ajmer is near to the Magazine. Till now the magnificent gateway of the museum is in a good condition but the building inside is slowly decaying. At present Archeological Survey of India maintains it.


Another beautiful sight in Ajmer, partaking of lake Anasagar in terms of natural settings and beauty, is the Foysagar. This lake was constructed in 1891-92 by the municipal committee of Ajmer to supply drinking water to the people of Ajmer. It was constructed by damning the same river in the upstream catchments of Anasagar Lake around 8 KMS, from city centre. The lake is 24 feet deep and has a cubic capacity of 150million feet and water spread of 14 million square feet. The height of embankment is 39feet. As the lake is at higher elevation than city, water flows to city through gravitation. There is a small garden to the north of the embankment, the whole scenery owing to the close proximity to the hills, is very picturesque.


  1. AJMER HISTORICAL AND DISCRIPTIVE by Dr Harbilas Sharda Fine Art Printing Press, Ajmer, 1941

  2. Tourism Report, Ajmer, by Deptt. Of TOURISM, ART & CULTURE, 1999


  4. TECHNICAL DATA OF LAKES IN AJMER, Irrigation Deptt. , Ajmer