Urs Festival - famous festival held every year in Ajmer sharif. Get details, highlights and tour packages along with online reservations.
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Introduction:

Urs Festival, Ajmer

Urs Festival of Ajmer Sharif is held in the holy town of Ajmer in Rajasthan , India . The Urs Festival in Ajmer , Rajasthan is marked with quwwallis - sung at night. The celebrations the unite people of all faiths, and the complete town is decorated with buntings and wears the spirit of festivity. Urs Festival is an occasion for thousands of devout to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to be in a festive mood and several programmes are organised to mark the festivals.

The Urs festival is considered as one of the most sacred Muslim celebrations. In fact the Dargah at Ajmer is considered to be the second most sacred pilgrimage after Mecca.

The six-day Urs festival recreates the memory of those six days during which Khwaja Hasan Chisti retired to his personal quarters for prayer and meditation till he breathed his last. The Urs festival celebrations are inaugurated by Sajjada Nashin, a descendant of the Chisti family.
The Sajjada Nashin hoists a pure white flag atop the Dargah dome followed by the ghusal ritual during which the grave of the great saint is washed with rose water and anointed with sandalwood paste, ghee and incense. Pilgrims come from far and wide to pay homage to their beloved saint and seek his blessings. Special poetry recitation sessions are conducted in the Mehfil Khana located within the Dargah premises. Pilgrims carry chadars, roses, jasmines, gilaph and neema offerings on their heads to the door of the main Dargah where these are handed over to khadims who offer these to the saint's tomb. An important ritual that marks the Urs festival celebrations is the cooking of the sacred kheer or milk pudding that is later distributed to the devotees who throng the grave. The best part of the Urs festival is that all the while devotees come and go and the various rituals are being performed, a set of musicians or Qawwals, sit on a raised platform outside the dargah and sing devotional songs or Qawwalis. The final day of Urs ends with the ghusal ceremony followed by Fatiha and Salamti prayers, poetry competitions and bursting of firecrackers.

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti was a Persian fakir who began the Chistia fakir sect in India and is considered as the messenger of Allah by the Muslims.

Celebrated on:

This festival usually falls in the 6th month of the lunar calendar.

Legends of the Festival:

The Urs, commemorative celebration is held in the solemn memory of Khwaja Muin-nddin Chisti, a sprightly respected Sufi saint fondly revered as the benefactor of the poor, popularly known as Gareeb Nawaz. The Dargah Sharif in Ajmer is the place where the Saints mortal remains lie buried and is the site of the largest Muslim Fair in India.

The Khwaja came from Persia and established the Chishtia order of fakirs in India. He is popularly known as Gharib Nawaz (protector of the poor) because he dedicated his entire life to the service of mankind. His spartan life spanned almost a hundred years and he embraced death in solitude while he had withdrawn to his cell for six days, asking not to be disturbed.
The Dargah Sharif in Ajmer is the place where the Saint's mortal remains lie buried and is the site of the largest Muslim fair in India.

Celebrations of the festival:

The Urs is initiated with the hoisting of a white flag on the dargah by the Sajjada Nashin (successor representative) of Chishtis. It is done on the 25th of Jamadi-ul-Akhir (sixth lunar month), with the accompaniment of music. On the last day of the sixth month, the Jannati-Darwaza (gateway of heaven) is flung open early in the morning. People cross this gate seven times with the belief that they will be assured a place in heaven. On the 1st of Rajab, the tomb is washed with rose water and sandalwood paste and anointed with perfumes. This ritual is called ghusal. The Sajjada Nashin then covers the tomb with an embroidered silk cloth.

An interesting ritual is the kheer is cooked in two large cauldrons called degs and distributed to the devotees as tabarruk (blessed food).On the 6th of Rajab, after the usual mehfil and the sound of cracker-bursts accompanied by music, the Sajjada Nashin performs the ghusal of the tomb. Fatiha and Salamti are read. A poetic recitation called mushaira is arranged in which poets of all communities arrive to recite compositions dedicated to the Khwaja. The Qul (end-all) on the 6th of Rajab marks the end of the Urs. At night, attend the special poetry recitation sessions (quwwallis), where professional singers sing their poems. Mehfils are organized in the mehfil-khana within the Dargah premises. See a brilliant display of fireworks. Qawwalis are sung and the hall is packed to capacity. There are separate places reserved for women who attend the mehfil. The mehfil terminates late in the night with a mass prayer for the eternal peace of the Khwaja in particular and mankind in general.

During Urs Ajmer, devotees bring chadars, gilaph, neema, rose and jasmine flowers, incense and sandalwood paste as offerings or ‘nazrana’.




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