Ajmer is a land of varied tourist attractions that reflect its rich history and diverse culture. Surrounded by Aravalli Hills, the bustling city derives its name from Ajay Meru which means invincible hill, and at the end of an isolated hill lies one of the most popular places to visit in Ajmer – Dargah Sharif. The city is a perfect spiritual destination where different religions coexist and flourish in harmony. Furthermore, it is home to beautiful lakes, historical sites and various other sightseeing options, which render Ajmer a unique charm that effortlessly impresses tourists.
Read on to know about some of the unmissable places to visit in Ajmer:
Places to Visit in Ajmer
1. Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer
Undoubtedly, the first tourist attraction that you or any tourist would explore in Ajmer has to be the revered Ajmer Sharif Dargah. This is the tomb of the famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, also known as Garib Nawaz, which is visited by not only Muslim pilgrims but devotees of all faiths with the belief of getting their prayers answered. Since this shrine was built by the Mughals in the 13th century, it has elements of the rich Mughal architecture, such as tombs, courtyards and gates – Nizam Darwaza, Shah Jahan Darwaza and Buland Darwaza.
The prasad distributed among devotees here are cooked in two massive cauldrons kept in the inner courtyard. Irrespective of your spiritual inclination, the aura of this shrine, combined with the aroma of flowers and incense sticks will bring a sense of calmness in you, especially during the six-day Urs festival celebrated in Rajab (the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar).
- Location: Diggi Bazaar, Ajmer
- Timings: 4 am to 10 pm (Summers), 5 am to 9 pm (Winters)
2. Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra, Ajmer
Beyond the Dargah Sharif lie the ruins of the historic site of Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra. This structure was constructed to function as a Sanskrit college, but was ultimately finished as a mosque in 1198 by Sultan Ghori after he captured Ajmer.
Reflecting a perfect blend of Indo-Islamic architectural styles with domes, pillars and arched wall, this structure was later modified by Sultan Iltutmish in 1213. The mosque which literally means ‘the hut of two and a half days’ is believed to have been named after the 18th century Urs festival which was actually organised for ‘adhai din’ or two and a half days.
- Location: Lakhan Kothri, Ajmer
- Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
3. Anasagar Lake, Ajmer
The scenic Anasagar Lake is one of the largest lakes in India that was built in the 12th century by Arnoraj Chauhan, who was the grandfather of legendary Prithviraj Chauhan or Rai Pithora. This artificial lake derives its name from Arnoraj, who was also known as Anaji. It is presently one of the most popular places to visit in Ajmer because of its amazing views that form the perfect background for memorable photographs and is best visited at dusk. Apart from its scenic charm, this lake is also the venue for water sports where you can indulge in boating and water scooter rides.
- Location: NH-58, Ajmer
- Timings: 8 am to 8 pm
4. Soniji Ki Nasiyan, Ajmer
Soniji Ki Nasiyan, also known as the Red Temple (Lal Mandir), Golden Temple and Ajmer Jain Temple, is a beautiful religious site dedicated to Rishabhanatha or Adinath – the first Jain Tirthankara. This 19th-century temple boasts of ornate architecture with the entrance made up of red stone.
The main attraction of this two-storeyed structure, counted amongst the richest temples in the country, is the Swarna Nagari or the City of Gold. This main chamber has beautifully made gold plated wooden structures, representing significant figures of the Jain perception of the ancient world. This architectural marvel attracts devotees as well as tourists from near and far.
- Location: Adarsh Nagar, Ajmer
- Timings: 9 am to 4 pm
5. Nareli Jain Temple, Ajmer
Another Jain temple that is worth visiting is the Nareli Jain Temple, also known as Shri Gyandoaya Tirth Kshetra, located on the outskirts of Ajmer. The captivating architecture of this marble temple is a mix of traditional and modern elements that gives it a unique style. The temple with angular designs and amazing sculptures is a significant place of pilgrimage for Digambar Jains.
On the hill above, there are 24 miniature temples, dedicated to the 24 Jain Tirthankaras who taught the path of righteousness. These smaller temples are referred to as Jainalaya as well as Choubisi.
- Location: Nareli, Ajmer
- Timings: 6:30 am to 7 pm
6. Prithvi Raj Smarak, Ajmer
The name needs no introduction as everyone knows the brave Rajput ruler Prithvi Raj Chauhan III, also known as Rai Pithora. Synonymous with valour, this 12th century king ruled over the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi. Located on a hilltop, the black stone statue of the fearless Prithvi Raj Chauhan is seen seated on his favourite horse.
Adjacent to this statue lies a beautiful garden, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch with your friends and family. Since it is perched atop a hill that is surrounded by the Aravallis, you get an enchanting view of the entire city and the valley below.
- Location: Taragarh Road, Ajmer
- Timings: 6 am to 9 pm
7. Mayo College and Museum, Ajmer
Mayo College, established in 1875, is one of the oldest independent public boarding schools in the country. Considered to be the best boarding school in India, this academic institute was named after Mayo’s sixth Earl Richard Bourke and had an academic structure similar to Britain’s Eton College.
The impressive building of this boys-only school boasts of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and houses a museum in the Jhalwar House. Mayo College Museum is considered the world’s largest school museum that spans over 18 rooms. All the items on display at this museum have been gifted by alumni, teachers, parents, etc.
- Location: Srinagar Road, Ajmer
8. Akbar’s Palace and Museum, Ajmer
A fortified palace was built in Ajmer by the renowned Mughal Emperor Akbar with an aim to keep an eye on the neighbouring rulers and to use as a royal retreat. Apart from its magnificent architecture and the black marble idol of Goddess Kali, the palace is known for its museum, which is called the Ajmer Government Museum, Archaeological Museum as well as Bharatpur Museum.
Since this place served as an arms magazine during the British rule in India, many locals still call it Magazine. This museum has several interesting items on display, including archaeological artefacts, exquisite sculptures, arms, paintings, inscriptions, etc.
- Location: Museum Road, Ajmer
- Timings: 10 am to 5 pm (Monday Closed)
9. Clock Tower, Ajmer
Since Ajmer was a place of significance during the British rule, the city has many architectural landmarks of that era, and one such imposing structure is the Victoria Jubilee Clock Tower that is located opposite the city railway station. Reminiscent of the British architecture, the clock tower is more than 125 years old and was built in 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee anniversary of Queen Victoria. Seeing this clock tower for the first time reminds you of the architectural brilliance of the world-renowned Big Ben, but with smaller dimensions!
- Location: Parao, Ajmer
- Timings: 24X7
10. Lake Foy Sagar, Ajmer
One of the most scenic sites in the city is the beautiful Lake Foy Sagar that has been named after the British engineer Foy who built it in 1892. This lake was built with the purpose of offering wage employment to locals who were suffering due to famine in the region.
At a glance, this artificial lake looks flat and boasts of serene and peaceful environs. Surrounded by the expansive Aravallis, this site is perfect for those in search of quietude as well as for those in search of a beautiful location to capture through lens.
- Location: Foy Sagar Garden Road, Ajmer
- Timings: 6 am to 7 pm
11. Taragarh Fort, Ajmer
Just a few kilometres from Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra lies the historic Taragarh Fort that was built on the crest of the hill. Reminiscent of the Rajputana architecture, this magnificent edifice was built by Ajmer’s founder Ajaipal Chauhan. From its main gateway to the water reservoirs, every single structure resonates the grand architectural style of that era.
This fort has witnessed many wars during the Mughals and British Raj, the testimony of which is the age-old canon named Thunder from the Womb (Garbh Gunjam). Apart from this, Dargah of Hazrat Miran Syed Hussain Khangswar (Miran Saheb) is another major attraction of this fort.
- Location: Taragarh, Ajmer
- Timings: 8 am to 7 pm (Summers), 8 am to 5 pm (Winters)
12. Baradari, Ajmer
The beautiful Anasagar Lake is fringed by Baradari – the white marble pavilions on the southern eastern embankment that were added by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1637 to further beautify this famous waterbody. A lush garden section was also built by Mughal ruler Jahangir in the 17th century that served as an ideal leisure spot. When the British took control of the region, they converted this area into offices and even added many structures to meet their requirements.
At present, the five pavilions along with the royal bath, which is called hammam, have been restored to its original form. While in Ajmer, do not miss to visit this idyllic spot to relish calmness while admiring the greenery and placid water in the company of loved ones.
- Location: Anasagar Lake, Ajmer
- Timings: 8 am to 8 pm
Along with these popular places to visit in Ajmer, your itinerary must include Shahid Smarak, Abdulla Khan’s Tomb, Pragya Shikhar Todaro – a black granite temple dedicated to Jain Acharya Tulsi and the famous Sai Baba Temple which has been built using an exceptional marble stone that is translucent in nature. Besides, you can also explore the popular places to visit in Pushkar as this pilgrimage town is around 15 kilometres from Ajmer.