I wake to the sound of the alarm clock and rushed to the washroom and within no time dashed to the railway station to greet two of my old friends who were on a weekend visit. We were together in school and it was more than ten years now. They were here only for a day and our trip began as soon as we got into the car. Ajmer – a small district in Rajasthan – India, where several religions and cultures fuse together and give a fresh color to life.
If you have never heard about the city, which is a rare occurrence, reaching Ajmer is very easy by road as well as rail as it is well connected with all cities of India. Those reaching by air have to get down at Jaipur and hail a taxi or can take a bus from “Sindhi Camp” in case they are on budget travel. Driving is also another option depending on personal preferences as National Highways leading to the city are quite well developed and trouble-free, especially NH-8 from Delhi.
Though Ajmer is more suited for life after retirement yet it has so much to offer to those who want to explore. Not going by the tourist places, I focused on connecting my journey with food and friendship.
I believe, driving around any city in the early hours is the best way to experience the calmness the place has to offer and we just did the same. Driving past the Martindale Bridge, crossing Mayo College, we came back to Jaipur Road to visit our school – Sophia. But before that, we had a short stop at Jhammu to kick start our day with hand beaten smooth and delectable glass of coffee. After the nostalgic visit to school premises, we continued our journey crossing the Board Office, Central Jail and main bust stop before we stopped at Aapka Pundit – a famous chat (Savory) shop. Kachori with saag combination is unique to Ajmer. And of course, hot jalebis after the spicy kachori goes without saying. We got everything packed and went to Baradari to have this delicacy by the Ana Sagar Lake.
Staying was not a problem for my friends as I have a house in the city. But otherwise, travelers can book themselves in decent 3* hotels available around railway station and bus stop. However, if you want to be bit adventurous, then book yourself in the new resorts that have come up in Pushkar. Pushkar is one of the major attractions in Ajmer and holds importance for pilgrims from all over the world. The one and only Brahma Temple is located here, and the place is also a hub for foreign tourists just 11 kilometers from Ajmer.
It started drizzling while we were remembering out school days. The valley turns lush green in monsoon and we got into the car to head towards the hills and drive down to Pushkar. As I said, the place is surrounded by Araveli Hills and is very inviting in monsoons especially to people who love driving. The road forms a spiral along the edges of hills for few kilometers before descending down. Monkeys feeding on nuts and bananas on road sides are a common view. We parked in front of the famous Sunset Café near one of the many Ghats around Pushkar Lake and spent the afternoon listening to the Banjo played by the local musician.
You can’t avoid the Malpuas, puri sabzi, rabri etc. once you are in Pushkar. Also a stroll in the lanes of Pushkar is must for shopping of funky jewelry and oxidized metals. One can also have a camel ride in the desert. As it was time for sunset, we headed back to the city near Dargah Bazaar to worship the holy shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty, also known as Ajmer Sharif. One can see many people of other faiths also visiting the shrine of this Sufi Saint. The nearby lane offers mouth-watering mutton dishes and we couldn’t miss it.
This bought us to the end of our day’s journey around the city but leaving without shopping was not in the list. The markets are connected to each other and one can walk from one place to the other. Ajmer is famous for Bandhini, and Batik work same as Jaipur. There is a market dedicated to Bangles known as Churi Bazaar. We called it a day with shopping bags in our hands and dropped them at the Railway station and drove back home to plan for our next trip soon.
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