Ajmer, the divine seat of the great Sufi Saint; Garib Nawaz ‘Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’, equivalently revered by the people of all casts and creeds reveals a cosmopolitan culture where a composite of both Hindu and Muslim ethnicity is witnessed. The chief social groups that dwell in Ajmer include Rajputs, RajputMers, Ahirs, Jats and Gujjars. The languages that are widely spoken in Ajmer are Rajasthani, Hindi, English, Urdu and Sindhi. Ajmer is notable for its delectable cuisine that comprises of several Rajasthani food specialties such as Dal Bati Churma, Bajre Ki Khichadi, Bedmi Puri, Gatte Ki Sabzi, Rajasthani Pulaao, Sohan Halwa, Dilkushar – Besan Ki Chakki, Jalebis, Ghewar, Kalakand, Balushahi, Motichoor Ladoos etc.
Ajmer is also a paradise for the tourists who are more interested in shopping. The articles that can be bought from Ajmer and taken home as souvenirs constitute Traditional Odnis, Saris, Lenghas, Hand Tie-Dyed Turbans, Handloom and Block Printed Textiles, Bandhini Textiles, Embroidered Shoes, Hand Embroidered Stuff, Arts and Handicrafts, Souvenirs, Woodcrafts, Miniature Paintings, Home Décor Items, Brass Utensils, Furniture, Gold Jewelry, Silver Souvenirs, Bangles, Leather Belts and Bags, ‘Ittar’ or Perfume, and many other trinkets and fascinating objects.
Apart from its thriving tourism industry, the economy of the residents of Ajmer is supported by its booming trade centers where various goods such as cotton, hosiery, leather, wool textiles, shoes, pharmaceuticals, soap, leath machine, mechanical tools, etc are manufactured. Moreover, at the secondary level, Ajmer also makes a mark in the fields of engineering workshops, electronics, re-rolling mills, flour mill parts, bread & biscuit production etc. Kishangarh, located just 31 kilometers from Ajmer happens to be one of the biggest markets of marble products. Apart from that, the urban farmers of Ajmer earn a significant living from poultry farming and dairy products.
The most essential and salient features of Ajmer culture echo in the fairs and festivals celebrated here, those apart from being a source of fun and enjoyment manifest the religious, traditional and cultural aspects of Ajmer. The most remarkable fairs annually organized at Ajmer are the Pushkar Mela and the Urs Festival.
Pushkar Mela, a five days festival celebrated in the Hindu month Kartik that falls in the month of October or November is the annual livestock fair that is held at Pushkar located about 14 kilometers from Ajmer. Also known by the name ‘The Pushkar Camel Fair’, this Mela is acknowledged amongst the world’s largest camel fairs and acclaimed as the only fair of its kind in the entire world. Other than buying and selling the livestock, the Pushkar Mela also highlights several competitions like ‘Camel Race’, ‘Matka Fod’, Longest Moustache’, Bridal Competitions’, Cricket Match between locals and tourists, and many more attractions that include songs, dance, music, and exhibitions. During this time of the year Pushkar becomes the ballpark of cultural synthesis when colorfully dressed people, merchants, traders, musicians, artists, acrobats, folk dance performers, comedians, religious persons and innumerable tourists assemble and enjoy to their fullest.
Urs Festival, the largest Muslim fair held in India is celebrated at Ajmer in the consecrated memory of the blessed Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. The Urs Fair, a six days festival is observed in the first week of the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar; Rajab that commemorates the death anniversary of this Great Saint also exalted by the title ‘Garib Nawaz’. The term Urs means the ultimate meeting of an individual with God. It is believed that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti spent his last six days in a prayer room (Huzra) alone and then commenced his eternal journey. The celebration of this festival starts with the beating of drums and completes with the firing of cannon. The noteworthy features of Urs festival are the recitations and performances of Qawwali, Shijra, Fariyad and Badhaawa. Millions of devotees of Khwaja from all over the world alight at Ajmer at the time of Urs Festival to pay homage at the feet of their celestial saint and seek his blessings.