Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan
Ajmer Sharif is the mausoleum at Ajmer that is thronged by people from all religious backgrounds. The mausoleum holds the remains of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the revered Sufi saint. The Khwaja is supposed to make wishes come true for the devotee who visits the shrine. On a visit to Ajmer Sharif, you will see a crowd of devotees who come here seeking the blessings of the saint. And the Khwaja's blessings are for everyone, for the Gharib Nawaz, or savior of the poor, does not confine his benevolence to the wealthy and mighty.

It is said even the great Mughal emperor Akbar had to personally travel to Ajmer to seek the saint's blessings; the result of which was a son that was born to the childless king. People write down their requests and tie the paper by string to the grave of the saint, in hopes that their wishes will be granted.

The shrine entrance gives to a large courtyard. The entrance is protected by doors of silver. In the courtyard, you will see two massive pots, which are used for cooking traditional kheer, or rice and milk pudding, for devotees.

The cauldron can cook around 6,000 kilograms of pudding at a time! During the Urs, this kheer is distributed among the pilgrims after a ceremony known as the looting. The grave proper of the saint lies in the heart of the shrine. It is shielded from prying eyes by a screen carved from marble. A silver railing around it keeps the crowd from pressing in too close. The shrine, defying tradition, also has a prayer hall for women. This hall was built by Chimni Begum, daughter of Shahjehan and a devotee of the saint. Her tomb lies in the same complex.

Come May, and the city of Ajmer is decked up to celebrate Urs in memory of the saint. The festival, though meant to mark the death anniversary of the saint, does not have the somberness associated with such events. There are prayers and ceremonies, but they are followed by events such as poetry recitation.

The entire six-day events sees not just pilgrims, but also poets and traditional qawals, come to pay homage to the saint through poems and qawalis.