Ajmer Dargah Sharif
Dargah Sharif' or 'Holy Dargah' is one of the most sacred Muslim shrines in the country. Venerated by both Hindus and Muslims, it is the tomb of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, a Sufi saint who came from Persia and devoted his life to the service and upliftment of the poor and downtrod den. The Dargah has a massive gate with silver doors built in several stages. Revered by the Mughal rulers, it has touches of Humayun to Shah Jahan in its structural architecture.
A silver railing and a marble screen surround the actual tomb of the saint, made of marble with a gold plated dome.Every year Urs is held here for six days in his remembrance. It is said that when he was 114 years old, the saint locked himself in a room for six days to pray and left his mortal body in solitude. Several thousand devotees throng to this place during this time of the year and food is cooked in huge cauldrons and served to the devotees. The surprising part is that the people serve the food while standing inside the scalding hot food in the cauldrons.
These cauldrons are said to be offered by Emperor Akbar when the saint blessed him with an heir for the throne.The pilgrims make rich offerings called 'nazrana' at the sacred spot where the saint has been entombed that include rose and jasmine flowers, sandalwood paste, perfumes and incense that put in to the fragrance that floats in the air inside the shrine. Cash offerings are also made. Also offered by devotees are the 'chaadar', 'ghilaph' and 'neema', which are votive offerings for the tomb. Outside the holy place of the Dargah, professional singers called 'qawwals' sit in groups and sing hymns in the praises of the saint in a characteristic high-pitched voice. One can also see 'fakirs' on the main gate begging for alms in the name of the Khwaja. Qawwalis at the shrine and fragrance of the incense sticks together create a divine effect.