Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rome Wasn't Built In a Day But This Mosque In Ajmer

Is called the Two-And-A-Half Day Building. There are two explanations for the name, the less plausible one being that it was built in 2.5 days. There's a festival that lasts 2.5 days and that's probably what gave it this name.

It's architecturally more interesting than the big religious monument in Ajmer, the Dargah, although the Dargah has more religious importance. The Dargah is the most important Islamic shrine in India, according to at least one guidebook.

Before visiting these two shrines we visited a bizarre yet awe-inspiring Jain temple, which featured a mini world inside it made out of gold. It depicts stories in the life of a Jain saint, but it looks like one of those giant Lego cities that people used to build. Here's a good photo. And another that shows that the whole structure is two stories tall.

After lunch, which included real biryani at Jannat, Mom went back to the hotel and I climbed a hill to get to Taragarh Fort. I thought the fort would be typically Indian--not much at the top except tourists. It turns out there's a pilgrimage site at the top so there are stalls all along the trail selling quack religious cures. There are old loudspeakers on each stall with recordings spouting out stuff like:"Does your child have bad dreams? Does your child wake up in the middle of the night? Use this magical necklace. Two for five rupees; four for ten." I suppose you have to buy two in case the first one is defective and not covered by a warranty. The shrine at the top of the fort is worth a visit but you will be asked for money by a couple of religious people and you won't get a receipt, which is unlike the shring at the bottom of the hill, the aforemention Dargah, where all donations are recorded.

I descended the hill using a different trail which was mostly paved so it took only 25 minutes or so. I liked the views along the ascent more but during the descent, I believe I saw the elite prep school east of town, which is referred to as the Eton of the East.

Incidentally Ajmer gets very few Western tourists. I saw fewer than ten today. I did find one at the precise moment at which I needed to look at the Lonely Planet map of Ajmer, though.

Tonight we're taking a train to Jaipur.


Blogger Anil P said...

Likewise, the Fouti Masjid in Murshidabad was said to have been built through a single night.

12:51 AM  

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