Known the world over for the famous Dargah of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti, Ajmer has had a very colorful past and it was to this city along with the holy town of Pushkar that I went on an official trip, accompanied by a member of the top management of a leading hospital of Udaipur.
The drive down to Ajmer, about 300 kms from Udaipur via Bhilwara, through fields of mustard and farmlands, took us about 4 hours. Though we were in the city by lunch time and were also feeling hungry, we first thought of meeting our contact person in Ajmer for the job at hand. After having a brief discussion with him, it was time for us to have our lunch. Though some of the restaurants of Ajmer like Honeydew, are famous all across the state of Rajasthan, we were recommended to go to a traditional Indian restaurant or Dhaba quite near to our place of work that supposedly served delicious Indian vegetarian dishes.
The restaurant, Guddan ka Dhaba did not disappoint us. We ordered a Dal (lentil) fry with tadka, a Navratan Korma, a vegetable Raita (curd preparation) and Tandoori Rotis.The service was prompt and the food was, as promised delicious, more so for a pair of deliriously hungry men from Udaipur. We again went back to work after lunch, though our gastronomically satisfied selves yearned for a nap.
After getting through with the day’s work, the next point to ponder for us was to where to stay in Ajmer. We had thought that getting a decent accommodation in Ajmer would be easy and in fact our first preference was the government circuit house but we had discounted a big factor. We had inadvertently landed bang in the middle of the wedding season and our search for accommodation was easier said than done. We scouted around and enquired for rooms at the Ajmer Club as well as the RTDC Hotel Khadim. Ajmer Club was fully booked (as was the Circuit House) and Hotel Khadim could accommodate us for only a single day. It was at Khadim that we came to know that RTDC also had two hotels in the Hindu holy town of Pushkar, about 12 kms from Ajmer and accommodation was available in both of them. Then and there itself we decided that we would be moving on to Pushkar for our stay.
The route from Ajmer to Pushkar is a very scenic one. It took us past the beautiful Ana Sagar lake, the heart of Ajmer and through a long winding road across wooded mountains inhabited by a variety of animals and birds. Troops of monkeys were there galore on the sides of the road in eager anticipation of tit-bits from the passers-by. As we entered the holy city, our car was stopped and we had to part with Rs20, the entrance fees to Pushkar against which we were given a receipt which was valid for movement both to as well as fro for 24 hours.