The lakeside city of Ajmer in Rajasthan houses the 'Ajmer Sharif' (Holy Ajmer). It is considered a sacred spot by the devotees of all creeds. The earthborn remains of the highly respected Sufi saint Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chisti were entombed here, in 1192. The saint came to Ajmer from Persia. The saint is fondly known as 'Gharib Nawaz' (protector of the poor) amongst the people as he had dedicated whole of his life to the service of the poor.
Each year, over 5 lakh devotees flock at the Dargah to pay homage to the saint. During the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, people from India and abroad gather at the Dargah in Ajmer.
Ajmer city comes alive during the Urs Fair. It is decorated with buntings. Several programmes mark the celebrations of the fair. These are an addition to the joy and merriment of the fair. Qawwallis (songs in the praise of the saint) are sung during mehfils (religious assemblies) that are organized during the night. The best part about the fair is that it brings close the people of various faiths.
The celebrations begin with the hoisting of a white flag at the Dargah. The tomb is then washed with water and adorned with an embroidered silk cloth. The devotees that come to the Dargah to seek the blessings of the saint make offerings of rose and jasmine flowers, sandalwood paste and perfumes. In addition to these, chadar, ghilaph and neema are also offered by the devotees.
Make sure that you cover your head before you enter the Dargah. Though there are a number of scarves available being sold at the market outside the Dargah, you can also choose to carry one. On the concluding day of the fair, Fatiha and Salami are read. Bursting of crackers punctuate the end of the Urs Fair.