INDIA FESTIVAL URS FESTIVAL




 
Urs Festival : Introduction

 

Urs Festival of Ajmer Sharif is held in the holy town of Ajmer in Rajasthan , India . It is considered to be one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar and is celebrated with great fervor all across Ajmer. The pilgrims who come to seek the blessings of the Khwaja make rich offerings called nazrana at the holy spot where the saint has been entombed. The offerings of rose and jasmine flowers, sandalwood paste, perfumes and incense contribute to the fragrance that floats in the air inside the shrine. The devotees also offer chadar, ghilaph and neema, which are votive offerings for the tomb. These are brought by devotees on their heads and handed over to the khadims inside the sanctum. Outside the sanctum of the dargah, professional singers called qawwals sing qawallis in order to praise the deeds of their saint. People gather around them and listen attentively, sometimes clapping to the rhythm of their instruments.

The Urs is initiated with the hoisting of a white flag on the dargah by the Sajjada Nashin (successor representative) of Chishtis. It is done on the 25th of Jamadi-ul-Akhir (sixth lunar month), with the accompaniment of music. On the last day of the sixth month, the Jannati-Darwaza (gateway of heaven) is flung open early in the morning. People cross this gate seven times with the belief that they will be assured a place in heaven. On the 1st of Rajab, the tomb is washed with rose water and sandalwood paste and anointed with perfumes. This ritual is called ghusal. The tomb is then covered with an embroidered silk cloth by the Sajjada Nashin.

At night, religious assemblies called mehfils are held in the mehfil-khana, a large hall meant for this purpose. These are presided over by the Sajjada Nashin of the dargah.Qawwalis are sung and the hall is packed to capacity. There are separate places reserved for women who attend the mehfil. The mehfil terminates late in the night with a mass prayer for the eternal peace of the Khwaja in particular and mankind in general.

An important ritual that marks the Urs festival celebrations is the cooking of the sacred kheer or milk pudding that is later distributed to the devotees who throng the grave. On the 6th of Rajab, after the usual mehfil and the sound of cracker-bursts accompanied by music, the Sajjada Nashin performs the ghusal of the tomb. Fatiha and Salamti are read. A poetic recitation called mushaira is arranged in which poets of all communities arrive to recite compositions dedicated to the Khwaja. The Dargah is located at the conjunction of three bazaars. There are a number of restaurants around the Dargah where visitors can choose from a variety of dishes most of which are non-vegetarian preparations. Guesthouses on the road leading to the Dargah offer accommodation that ranges from economical to luxurious.


History Of Urs Festival

 

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