Urs Ajmer Sharif

Urs Ajmer Sharif

First through sixth days of the Islamic month of Rajab
This is the urs, death anniversary, of the Sufi saint Khwaja Muin al-Din Muhammad Chishti (or Moinuddin Muhammad Chishti, 1142-1236), who founded a major Sufi order in India. His tomb, known as the Dargah, is located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India, considered by many South Asian Muslims to be the most important pilgrimage site next to Mecca.
The saint is often referred to as Gharib Nawaz, meaning "protector of the poor," because he spent much of his life in service to the less fortunate. He also had a great love of devotional music, believing it had the potential to enhance one's spirituality. Such songs, called qawwali, are sung during his death festival. Chishti is said to have retreated into solitude six days before he died, thus his urs is celebrated not only on the anniversary of his death, but also on the preceding five days.
In addition to special religious services, offerings, prayers, and other ceremonies, a huge fair takes over the town of Ajmer during the urs. Vendors sell food and religious items, and some of the finest poets of the Urdu language gather to provide readings.
CONTACTS:
Government of Rajasthan, Department of Tourism Art & Culture Govt. Hostel Campus
Paryatan Bhawan, M.I. Rd.
Jaipur, Rajasthan 302 001 India
91-141-5110595; fax: 91-141-5110591
www.rajasthantourism.gov.in
SOURCES:
EncyRel-1987, vol. 14, p. 348
OxDictWrldRel-1997, p. 213
WildPlanet-1995, p. 241