Ajmer Dargah
Ajmer Dargah
flickr.com

On February 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over a chadar to the Minister of Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on the 809th Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. The chadar will be offered at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah to honour the ongoing 'Urs' festival. Today, PM Modi posted a picture on Twitter with Minister Naqvi where he can be seen handing over the saffron chadar.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti also popularly known as Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz was a beloved Sufi saint of the Chisti order. He is known to be the direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad.

Born in Sistan (present-day Eastern Iran and Southern Afghanistan, he traveled all the way from Sistan to Lahore to Delhi, and finally settled in Ajmer, Rajasthan. His tomb in Ajmer, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, is one of the holiest Islamic sites in the world. Muslims from across the world visit Dargah Sharif every year to offer their prayers. Not only Muslims, but people belonging to different religions visit this shrine throughout the year.

To commemorate the death anniversary of the beloved Sufi saint, the Urs festival is celebrated each year in the holy city of Ajmer during the first six days of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar.

February 15, marks the beginning of the festival and it will conclude on February 24, 2021 following the Qul (conclusion). The six-day-long festival involves lighting candles, praying and singing qawwalis all night long. On the 6th of Rajab, mushaira will be held too where poetries and other compositions written for and dedicated to the saint will be recited. More than five lakh pilgrims visit Dargah Sharif every year to pray to the saint on his death anniversary.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is known for establishing the Chisti order of the Sufi mysticism in India in the early 13th century. He was the first saint to incorporate the use of music and hymns in prayers. It is believed that Prophet Muhammad once appeared in the dream of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and asked the saint to become his representative in India.

The festival of Urs at the Ajmer Dargah is open to people of religions. It is mandatory to remove your footwear outside the shrine and keep your head covered at all times once you enter the dargah.

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