Ajmer’s famous annual Urs festival, dedicated to Sufi saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisty popularly known as ‘Garib Nawaz’ (Messiah of the poor),
Hundreds of thousands of believers from various parts of the country flock to the Sufi sain’t mausoleum to pay their obeisance. This tradition has been kept alive since 1944. Urs is observed to mark the death anniversary of any departed saintly figure. Although it is an Islamic tradition, people of all faiths participate with equal reverence.
During Urs, the Dargah’s main gates called the ‘Jannati Darwaza’ (Gateway to Heaven), which normally remains closed, are opened for the devotees.
Chisti, who preached tolerance and unity of all religions, died in Ajmer where his tomb has become a shrine for millions of people from around the world.
In 1236 AD, the saint entered his cell to pray in seclusion for six days, at the end of which he died. Since then the Urs has been celebrated for six days every year.
On their part, the devotees visiting the shrine offer fresh flowers as a symbol of their devotion. Some offer large amounts of money and expensive jewels.
Devotional music and reciting from Chishti’s own works and other Sufi saints are rendered in traditional Qawwali (chorus singing) style.