Dargah Sharif or Ajmer Sharif is a sufi shrine of sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti located at Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. The shrine has the grave (Maqbara) of the revered saint, Moinuddin Chisti. It is the second largest congregation of Muslims at one place after Mecca. It is said that the brass candlesticks taken from the Kalika temple after its destruction were given to the Dargah Sharif shrine of Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, a shrine that Akbar vowed to rebuild after his victory.
The main gate to the shrine is the Nizam Gate, following which is Shahjahani Gate which was erected by Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. It is followed by Buland Darwaza, upon which the Urs flag is hoisted, marking the beginning of the festival.
The annual Urs festival commemorates the death anniversary during the first six days of the Rajab (falls between March and July). During Urs, the Dargah’s main gates called the Jannati Darwaza (Gateway to Heaven), which normally remains closed, are opened for the devotees. In honour of the saint during the Urs, Qawwali concerts are held reciting Chishti’s own works and others. It attracts a large number of devotees to the shrine. The dargah, which is visited by Muslim pilgrims as well as Hindus and Sikhs as a symbol of intercommunal harmony.
The main attraction of the Urs are the kalanders from Mehrauli, called the friends of Gharib Nawaz, walk to Ajmer all the way from Delhi every year. They offer colourful chadders with gold and silver threads.
The dargah (shrine) of Chisti is an international wakf (endowment), managed under the ‘Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955′ of Government of India. The Dargah Committee, appointed by the Government, manages donations, takes care of the maintenance of the shrine, and runs charitable institutions like dispensaries, and guest houses for the devotees.
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