Ajmer Urs, the Grand Holy Celebration
The Urs festival is a yearly festival conducted at Ajmer, a major city in the state of Rajasthan, which memorializes the death anniversary of Moinuddin Chishti, the Sufi saint and founder of the Chishtiya Sufi order in India. It is conducted for more than 6 days and features a night-long “dhikr/zikr qawwali” singing. The anniversary is held in the 7th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Thousands of pilgrim stopovers at the holy place from all over India and out of the country
History of the Fair:
The Urs of Moinuddin Chishti was begun in 1212 A.D. It is celebrated yearly in the 1st week of Islamic month of Rajab, on viewing the moon of Rajab, the 7th month of the Islamic calendar. Drums are beaten to indicate the beginning of the yearly observance. The term “Urs” is derived from the word “Uroos”, which means “Eventual meeting of an entity with God”. It is believed that Moinuddin Chishti has spent the last 6 days of his life in the seclusion in a Huzra (room that is meant for prayers), and on the 6th day of Rajab he expired.
Once again, the favorable month of May fetch us the festivity of Sufi Saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti, at the Dargah in Ajmer. The Urs Fair is pragmatic with great enthusiasm for 10 days each year, that is to say starting from May 01 to 10th, 2014. Basically, the Urs (that is the death anniversary of the saint) is a juncture for a gigantic pilgrimage, with thousands of devotees congregating to the Dargah. The celebrations persist for 10 days, starting with the hoisting of a white flag on the crypt by the Sajdanashin. Pilgrims of different faiths come from all over to hunt for the blessings of the great saint. The Programs of the spiritual music or ‘quawwalis’ are held all night long at the Dargah where the renowned singers partake in all the performances. The amount of the performance must be observed, so as to be truthfully treasured. Outside the Dargah grounds, 2 gigantic cauldrons prepare the sweet rice garnished with lots of dry fruits and condiments to be served as ‘Tabarukh’ or consecrated food.
The 6th day of the Urs is considered as the most extraordinary and auspicious event. It is known as the “Chhati Sharif”. It is commemorated on the 6th Rajab between 10:00 A.M. & 1:30 p.m. within the Mazaar Sharif. Shijra is read by obliged Khadims of Moinuddin Chishti, and prayers (Fariyad) are performed after that. Just before the Qu’l (ending of Chhati Sharif), Badhaawa (a poem of eulogize) is read at the main entrance of the holy place by the Qawwals.
Badhaawa is a recital convoyed just by clapping; there are no musical instrument played. It was composed by the Syed Behlol Chishty, an forebear of the current day Khadim society. After the recital, the observance of the Qu’l finishes, and the Fatiha is recited. The termination of the ceremony is marked by firing big gun exactly at 1:30 p.m. During Urs, an eventful marketplace rebounds at the foot of the Dargah. Flowers, embellished prayer rugs, decorative Chadars and prayer caps are a few among the several things to be spotted in the marketplace, excepting the traditional souvenirs which make their way to such fairs.
Devotees of diverse religions arrive here from different places to get the blessings of the great saint. Programs of spiritual Music or Quawwalis are conducted all night long at the Dargah in which well-known singers take part. The greatness of the performance has to be observed in order to appreciate it. Outside the Dargah grounds, 2 gigantic cauldrons cook tasty sweet rice that’s garnished with condiments and dry fruits that is served as “Tabarukh” or consecrated food.