Through the cramped lanes of Ajmer, I was able to make my way to the Dargah, on a humid Friday afternoon. I remember walking through the same lanes two years ago with a friend but decided not to go in because of the crowd.
Today, as I walked in, making my way past the crowd, nodding to the hawkers politely denying their offers and saving myself from the cow dung filled pots on the road, I remembered how I felt guilty about not visiting the Dargah, despite making it this far.
I left my shoes at a shop which read 'free seva' and continued to struggle during my way in, wrapping a stole tightly around my head. Two things one must remember while going to the dargah is that
- Cameras are not allowed inside
- You must cover your head
As we entered the Dargah, the crowd moved in a clockwise parikrama, through a point where we were expected to offer some money. As we proceeded, there were a series of shops from where one could buy chaddars and prasad to offer at the dargah. It is believed that all prayers at the Dargah are answered so we bought some prasad and moved towards the main prayer area. Being a friday, we saw many devotees busy in their namaaz, a sight which has mesmerized me from my Jamia days.
We entered the prayer area, the queue for women being quite small and hence fast moving. I wasn't happy to see the state of the area, where devotees were expected to offer money with their offerings of The chaadar and prasad. I also noticed old women being pushed by men so that the queue could move faster, making the scene quite ugly. I managed to still get some flower petals as Dargah is a good place to buy beads and gems if you are interested in islamic tradition. I bought some kaajal and ittar while my sister bought rings. I encourage all to buy the same, as they are good bargains (Kaajal starting at Rs 10, and ittar at
Rs 40) and seem quite authentic as well. prasad and quietly completed my parikrama. I then completed my prayers and moved to the shops to buy some mementos for my family.
As we stepped out of the Dargah, the beautiful work on the walls now stained with paan spit caught my attention. Though the area around the Dargah has become quite dirty and after the visit inside, one feels like running away, the beautiful work on the edges of the walls makes you stop for a second. Since photography isn't allowed and encouraged inside, it is best you bring back the memories through your mind, heart and soul.
Some quick tips: Leave your cars on the main road and walk through the Do not hesitate to buy yourself some authentic Keep aside ten minutes to eat hot Feel free to go on a Friday, do not let Beware of those who force you to buy
Dargah Bazaar to reach the Do not think 'Free Seva' for shoes means free. They expect you to buy prasad, flowers and kaajal, good leather chappals and amazing kachories and jalebi as you near the exit of the Do not carry cameras and be very careful with your valuables Jumma scare you away, but avoid the time between noon and 2pm ittar on your way out from the market. chaddars from them.
chaadars or prasad. It is a place of worship and hence, you should do what the heart says.
If you are a non-vegetarian, do try some chicken kebabs on the side, but only if you can forget about hygiene. Make sure your head is covered at all times, and you follow rules like washing the feet before entering the mosque. Hope you enjoy your travel to Ajmer. If you need any help or clarification, leave a comment!