The 13th century shrine is an icon of Ajmer and one of the holiest muslim shrines In the country. It is the final resting place of the great sufi saint – Khawajah moinuddin chishti, the bestower of boons’, popularly known as ‘garib nawaz or the protector of the poor’it is believed that the Khawajah was a descendent of prophet mohammad and received this land during the rule of prithviraj chauhan.
The shrine is considered next only to Mecca–Medina, by the muslims of south asia. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world flock here to seek the blessings and pay homage to the Khawajah, by offering chadars at the grave of the holy soul. Even Mughal emperor Akbar, walked to the Dargah, all the way from Agra and seeked blessings for having heirs to his throne. His wish was fulfilled and the place became highly revered for the mughals.
The dargah has a massive gate with silver doors, which were built by the nizam of Hyderabad. Qawwals from all over the world come here to sing in the praise of the saint, there qawwalis are spellbinding and the performances worth watching. Eccentrically attired fakris plead for alms, while the khadim (‘servant’ of the saint) keep a look out for pilgrims. The entire atmosphere is charged and mystic. On the right side of the courtyard is the Akbari Masjid, built in white marble by Akbar. There is another mosque here, which was built by Shahjahan and is a quite impressive monument. The courtyard also has the tomb of the Bhishti, tomb of Hafiz Jamal, the saints daughter and the tomb of Chimni Begum, one of the daughters of emperor shah jahan.
Other attraction in the shrine are, two massive degs (cauldrons),originally donated by mughal emperors, Akbar and jahangir, but replaced in 19th century.These are placed in the courtyard and the ritual rice is cooked in them. The smaller deg has a capacity of about 2240 Kg and the larger one can hold 4480 Kg of rice. The ‘looting’of deg is a unique ritual, as professional ‘looter’ jump in the steamy deg and empty it I minutes. This ‘loot’ is then sold as tabrruk (Sanctified food) by the ‘looter’ there are also several objects of antiquarian interest, the most important being the large drums and brass cauldrons brought by akbar, after the siege of Chittaurgarh, as war trophies. The six day celebration of the urs or death anniversary of Khawajah is the most important event of ajmer. It is held from the 1st to 6th day of the islamic month of rajab. During this time millions of devotees from all sects and regions gather here. It is said that when Khawajah was 114 years old, he locked himself in a room to pray. Six days later, when disciples broke the door, they found his mortal remains. The environs around the Dargah is in complete contrast with the colonial and modern Ajmer. The ritual offerings made at Dargah comprises of chadars (dazzling coverlets) for the grave, Incense, sweetmeats, rose petals and atar (Perfume) and are available at Dargah Bazar.
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