Khwaja Garib Nawaj Urs Festival in Ajmer Shariff

The Urs (the death anniversary of the saint) is an occasion for a massive pilgrimage, with thousands of devotees flocking to the Dargah and is observed with great fervor in the month of May each year. The celebrations continue for six days, commencing with the hoisting of a white flag on the tomb by the Sajdanashin.
Annual Urs commences with Flag Hoisting at Buland Darwaza.

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Pilgrims of different religions come from all over to seek the blessings of the great saint. Programs of religious music or quawwalis are held all night long at the Dargah in which renowned singers participate. The intensity of the performance has to be witnessed, to be truly appreciated. Outside the dargah precincts, two massive cauldrons cook sweet rice garnished with dry fruits and condiments to be served as ‘tabarukh’ or sanctified food.

This is the 801st death anniversary of the Sufi saint and there is a ritual of sandal. On this auspicious day the sandal offered by the devotees in the past one year is cleared and later distributed among the devotees coming from far and nearby places. It is believed that sandal cures various diseases and that is the reason devotees take the sandal, keep it in bottles of water and drink that water throughout the year.

Although it is an Islamic tradition, people of all faiths participate with equal reverence.

Khwaja Garib e Nawaz 
Qul ceremony takes place on the last day of Urs, which is also the sixth day of the month of Rajab. This is considered to be a very important day. After the Morning Prayer, people start gathering the Holy Tomb.The activities include recital of Quran, Darood, Shijra-e-Chishtia and other verses. People also tie small turbans on each other’s head and pray for the benefit of the people, for peace, prosperity and happiness.

Deg at Dargah Shariff
Deg at Dargah Shariff

At the time of the Urs, a busy bazaar springs up at the foot of the dargah. Flowers, embroidered prayer rugs, prayer caps and decorative chadars are among the many things to be found in the bazaar, apart from the usual souvenirs which make their way to fairs such as this.

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