The shrine of the 13th-century Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty is in the heart of Ajmer, a city about 11 km (7 miles) southeast of Pushkar. The shrine is very significant for South Asian Muslims—visiting it means the chance to set your soul free eternally—and is visited by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The busiest time is during Urs, the anniversary of the saint's death, which takes place during six days in the Islamic month of Rajab starting with the day of the
full moon. The custom when you visit this shrine is to offer flowers, sugar balls, beads, and a chaadar (ornate scarf)—the beads and sweets will be blessed and given back to you. Sufiism is a more mystical and less austere aspect of Islam that is embraced vigorously in these parts.
Be prepared to deal with crowds and aggressive beggars on the street leading to the dargah whenever you visit. Ajmer itself isn't much of a destination, so most people bypass it on their way to Pushkar, then backtrack for a half-day visit to the shrine; the drive to Ajmer to Pushkar is scenic and descends through some minor hills offering views of Ajmer and its lake. The shrine is located at the end of a narrow lane and is not very accessible. Have the driver (if you have a car) park on the wider main road and hire an auto (tuk tuk) for Rs. 150 or so (let the driver negotiate a price, if possible) to take you to the dargah and back. Shoes, purses, rucksacks, cameras, and video cameras are not allowed in the dargah—it is best to leave those items in the car with your driver (if reliable) and deposit your shoes at the shrine shoe stalls (for Rs. 50, and you get a basket of flowers to offer inside). Mind your wallets and phones. Women and men need to cover their heads inside the shrine and must be dressed appropriately (no skirts, shorts, sleeveless tops). Don't think of visiting the inner sanctum of the dargah during the Urs but do view from afar. There's a lot of rush at the weekends and during holidays, especially towards evening, but do stop by to hear devotees banding together and sitting down in the couryard to sing qawwalis, lovely devotional sufi music, from about 6 pm onwards.
While you're here, the 19th-century Nasiyan Temple is worth a visit as well: the detailed display depicting the Jain story of the world's creation inside the temple is mesmerizing. It's near Agra Gate, or just ask people how to find the Jain temple.
Ajmer, Rajasthan, India