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Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer Dargah, Ajmer Sharif or Dargah Sharif is a sufi shrine (dargah) of the revered sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti, located at Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. The shrine has Chisti's grave (Maqbara). Moinuddin Chishti was a 13th-century sufi mystic saint and philosopher. Born in Sistan (modern day Iran), he travelled across South Asia, eventually settling in Ajmer (modern day Rajasthan, India), where he died in 1236. As local as well as national rulers began to come and pray, the structure was expanded. In 1332, the sultan of Delhi (Tyghluq dynasty) Mohammad Bin Tughluq constructed a dargah (a commemoration structure constructed around the tomb of Muslim saints, where people from all religions come to pray and ask for favours) and it grew in popularity and size over the years. The structure was subsequently expanded by a number of rulers including many saints. Ajmer Sharif Dargah is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away from the main central Ajmer Railway station and 500 metres away from the Central Jail and is situated at the foot of the Taragarh hill. It consists of several white marble buildings arranged around two courtyards, including a massive gate known as Nizam Gate donated by the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan and the Akbari Mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It contains the domed tomb of the saint. Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot on pilgrimage from Agra every year in observance of a vow where he prayed for a son. The large pillars called "Kose ('Mile') Minar", erected at intervals of two miles (3 km) along the entire way between Agra and Ajmer mark the places where the royal pilgrims halted every day. It has been estimated that around 150,000 pilgrims visit the site every day. The main gate to the shrine is the Nizam Gate, followed by the Shahjahani Gate, erected by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In turn it is followed by the Buland Darwaza, built by Sultan Mahmood Khilji, upon which is hoisted the urs flag, marking the beginning of the death anniversary rituals. The urs for Moinuddin Chishti is celebrated every year on the 6th and 7th of Rajab. The dargah (shrine) of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is an international waqf (endowment), managed under The Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955 of Government of India. The Dargah Committee, appointed by the Government, takes care of the maintenance of the shrine, and runs charitable institutions like dispensaries, and guest houses for the devotees but do not care take the rituals of the main shrine (Mazar sharif/Astana e Alia) which is under the custody of hereditary priests known as Khadims. Dewan Syed Zainul Abedin is the direct descendant in the 22nd generation of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Meanwhile, according to the Supreme Court of India he is the Hereditary Sajjadanashin Spiritual Head of the shrine of Ajmer Dargah. On the other hand, in the aspect of genealogical lineage (family tree), presently he is the most direct descendant of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. He is the successor of Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz.

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