Nestled in the centre of the dusty dunes of Rajasthan, is the magnetically beautiful city of Ajmer. Formerly known as “Ajayameru” (Translated as ‘Invincible Hills’), this city is one of the oldest and noblest of cities not just in the North-Western state, but all of India! The 12th-century text Prithviraja Vijaya denotes that the Shakambhari Chahamana King Ajayaraja the First established this city during his reign.There are innumerable things to do in Ajmer! This archaic city is a paradise for all types of tourists; especially those seeking peace, solitude and internal self-reflection. Be it just sitting by a lake, or exploring the rich and varied history of the city, every experience here is truly soul-satisfying!
Its grandiose attracts travellers from all corners of the globe. This city is often known as the Holy City, and rightly so. It is the apotheosis of piety and sanctity, and Rajasthan’s most sacred place in terms of Islamic history and heritage. Moreover, the amalgamation of colours, the hauntingly beautiful ruins, forts etched with battle scars, the welcoming natives, the opulence of the kingdoms and of course, the breathtaking Nasiyan Temple all add to the mysticism of this place.
Ajmer has also been selected as one of the heritage cities for the HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana by the Government of India. So, without must ado, let’s dive right in! Here are some of the best things to do in Ajmer.
The 8 best things to do in Ajmer
- Dargah Sharif
- Nasiyan Jain Temple
- Ana Sagar Lake
- Adhai Din Ka Jhopra
- Akbar palace and Museum
- Jagat Palace
- Lake Foy Sagar
- Dine Out!
1. Dargah Sharif
Starting this list of most exciting things to do in Ajmer is this fantastic tomb of Sufi saint Khawaja Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti – making it one of India’s most prominent pilgrimage spots. Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti came all the way from Persia devoted his entire life to helping the poor and oppressed. Along the way, he rightfully earned himself the Saint status. Today, devotees of all faiths come to visit and pay their respects to this great man’s eternal resting place.
The gigantic silver doors have intricately carved pots kept right beside the entrance. Legend has it that these were given by Emperor Akbar when the saint blessed him with an heir to his throne.
- Location: Situated at the foot of a small and barren hill in Ajmer and can be accessed by road.
- Timings: Opened daily from 5 AM to 7 PM.
- Cost: INR 5000 – 6500 for a day trip
2. Nasiyan Jain Temple
Visiting the infamous Nasiyan Jain Temple is certainly one of the best things to do in Ajmer. Constructed in 1865, this paragon of piety is located at Prithvi Raj Marg in Ajmer. Often known as Lal Mandir (Red Temple) by the locals colloquially, this monolithic two-story structure is devoted to Lord Adinath who was the first Jain’ Tirthankara’.
One section of this glorious temple is the prayer hall; an area designated for holding prayers for worshipping the idol of Lord Adinath, while the other section of it has been transformed into a museum.
Made completely out of gold, the gallery of the museum portrays the five stages of the life and times of Lord Adinath. This gives it the nickname of the Golden Temple. The rest of the architecture is also adorned with gold and silver embellishments, with glass frescos, paintings, illustrations and other carvings all featuring as well. Visitors here can feel a flavour of the culture of its history.
However, the most beautiful aspect about this is the juxtaposition of the two places of worship of two separate faiths all in one city. It makes for a wonderful festive season, with the locals celebrating everything in harmony! This is certainly one of the best things to do in Ajmer.
- Location: The temple is located in Prithvi Raj Marg and can be accessed by taxi
- Timings: Opened daily from 7 AM to 7 PM, including Sundays
- Cost: INR 550
3. Ana Sagar Lake
Going boating on Ana Sagar Lake is another one of the most exciting things to do in Ajmer. This human-made lake constructed by Maharaja Anaji (who was the ancestor of Maharaja Prithviraj Chauhan) between 1135 AD and 1150 AD. Near the lake is the Daulat Bagh, a garden erected by none other than the lover of arts Emperor Jahangir. Emperor Shah Jahan would further go on to make modifications to this garden by adding in five more pavilions. This would be called the Baradari, among the garden and the lake.
The lake in itself is an extremely exquisite family outing spot. The beauty of it lies in the fact that there is an island in the middle of the lake! That’s right. From the east side of the Dault Bagh Gardens, tourists can hire a boat or a water scooter to waddle their way to the island.
However, it is important to note that every summer the lake gets dry so make sure you don’t visit this place during this time of the year.
- Location: Situated in the middle of Ajmer; can be reached by any local transport
- Timings: Opened daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, shut during summers
- Cost: INR 600
4. Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
Beyond the Dargah of Khwaja Muin-up-din Chishti we mentioned earlier, on the outskirts of the city limits, visitors can find the extraordinary ruins of the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra mosque! This mosque was originally built to be a Sanskrit college. However in 1198, when Mohammed of Ghori seized Ajmer, he ordered that this building be converted into a mosque. He even added a seven-arched wall covered with Islamic calligraphy in front of the pillared hall to glamourize the building further. According to myth, though, the reconstruction of this mosque only took a whopping 2 and a half days (hence its name!).
Unfortunately, this mosque was decommissioned a long time ago and beyond restoration. Nevertheless, its ruins are still extremely enigmatic and hold within them the essence of an old world charm. The architecture is exquisite even for today’s times. It is complete with soaring domes, pillars, and a beautiful arched screen, largely built from pieces of Jain and Hindu temples! Come here to seek out an extremely powerful place and add it to your list of things to do in Ajmer.
- Location: Located in Andere Kota road
- Timings: Opened daily from 4:30 AM to 8:30 PM
- Cost: Free for all
5. Akbar Palace and Museum
Another one of the extremely fascinating things to do in Ajmer is a visit down to Akbar Palace and Museum. The famous Akbar Palace is one of the top tourist sites in Ajmer. Built-in 1500 AD, this majestic palace is a treat for all history lovers. The allure of this palace is that it was once home to the resident King and all his troops. Now, it performs a different function.
It is now the humble abode to a Government museum that showcases various aspects of the Mughal lifestyle. Visitors are treated to a barrage of artefacts, sculptures, relics, and paintings. You can take your family or significant other to this museum and not only have a great time but also walk out with the confidence of having learnt something new about your country’s past!
- Location: Located in Ajmer Village and can be reached using public transport
- Timings: Open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on every Monday for cleaning and maintenance)
- Cost: INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for foreign tourists
6. Jagat Palace
How can you come to the land of the Kings, and not stay like royalty? That’s right – up next on this exquisite list of things to do in Ajmer is to treat yourself. Visit Jagat Palace and live like a King! While you may find a plethora of good hotels in Ajmer, none will compare to the iconic Jagat Palace. Whiling this hotel is perpetually booked out if you book your stay in advance you are sure to get good accommodation. Offering a splendid view of the sand dunes that stretch till the horizon, you can enjoy princely comforts at this resort.
This hotel has become a mainstay for all tourists that come to Ajmer. It is ideally situated near the Dargah which means you are never too far away from the excitement of the city!
- Location: Behind Ramdwara, Ajmer Road, Pushkar
- Timings: Open all day; 11 AM checkout time, 12 PM check-in
- Cost: INR 5000 and above per night
7. Lake Foy Sagar
Another one of the amazing things to do in Ajmer is visiting Lake Foy Sagar to view the sunset. The scenic lake is a popular tourist hangout spot where you will see the banks of the lake filled with picnic baskets. Come here and witness perhaps the most gorgeous sunset in all of India. As the shimmering sun gently dips below the horizon of the lake, the sky fills with a supple murky yellow. It is picturesque and assured to give you chills. You can spend a leisurely evening here and capture some breathtaking pictures to take back home as memories.
- Location: Foy Sagar Garden Road, Ajmer
- Timings: Open from 6 AM to 7 PM
- Cost: Since it is a public lake, there is no entry fee for visiting it
8. Dine Out
What trip is complete without food? Wherever you are, wherever you go – the local cuisine and food scene is just as important. And there are only some cities better than Ajmer in this domain. If Ajmer is a paradise for peace-seekers and pious people, it is also a haven for foodies! The indulging street food will leave you biting off your fingers here. Walk around this quaint little city, exploring its popular restaurants. From Chinese to Continental, and Mughlai to Rajasthani – this city has it all for you.
Some of the best places for you to visit are Sheesh Mahal, Honeydew Restaurant, Mango Masala, Ambrosia, and Silver Leaf Restaurant. These have become legendary over the years with locals as well as tourists coming to dine their hearts out. We recommend you put this right among the topmost things to do in Ajmer!
Further Read: Best Places to visit in Jaisalmer in 2 days
Well, there you have it! These were the 8 best things to do in Ajmer – the Holy City! Make sure that you spend at least a handful of days in this vibrant city so that you can absorb its splendour and pageantry to the fullest extent. This city will give you a holistic understanding of Rajasthan; complete with a walk through its variegated history, scrumptious food, magnificent architecture and a peek into the lifestyle of the locals!