South west of Jaipur, Ajmer is an oasis wrapped in the green hills. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. Then Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghori, after which Ajmer became home to many dynasties. Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Muslims as well as Hindus. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered both by the Hindus and the Muslims.
Surrounding the expansive lake of Ana Sagar and rugged Aravalli Hills, Ajmer has some superb examples of early Muslim architecture and is also a significant centre for the Jain religion as it possess an amazing golden Jain temple. However, with Ajmer's combination of high-voltage crowds and traffic, especially during Ramadan and the anniversary of the saint's death, most travellers choose to use Ajmer as a stepping stone to laid-back Pushkar.
Ajmer is also a centre of culture and education. The British chose Ajmer for its prestigious Mayo College, a school exclusively for Indian nobility at one time. However, now it is one of the best public schools in the country. Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (14 km.) which has the distinction of having the only Brahma temple in the world. The picturesque Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct or Nov), devotees throng in large numbers to take a dip in the sacred lake.
Ajmer was also a favourite residence for the great Mughals. One of the first contacts between the Mughal King Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe took place here in 1616. The Scindias took over the city in 1818 and then handed it over to the British. Thus Ajmer was the only region to be directly controlled by the East Indian Company.
Apart from the Dargah and the Jain temple, Ajmer also has Taragarh Fort, Adhai Din Ka Jhonpda, Abkari Fort and Museum and Anasagar Lake as major tourist places to visit.