In Pictures: India's largest Sufi festival

Thousands gather at Ajmer for annual Urs festival commemorating death of Sufi saint.


Thousands of people have converged in the western Indian city of Ajmer as part of the annual Urs festival celebrated at the famous Sufi shrine.

It is the largest Sufi festival held in the country during the seventh month of the Islamic calendar based on moon sightings.

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People of all faiths take part in the festival that commemorates the death anniversary of revered Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, also known as "Gharib Nawaz" (Benefactor of The Poor).

Thousands of pilgrims from various parts of India and the world descend upon the lake town in Rajasthan state to celebrate the life of the famous saint and founder of the Chishti order of Sufism.

It is said that the saint spent the last six days of his life in a prayer room which is where the shrine is built.

During the week-long festival, devotees offer prayers, flowers, food, money and other donations at the shirne where the tomb of Saint Moinuddin Chishti lies.

Celebrations include Sufi poetry recitals and "qawalli" or devotional songs, which can carry on through the entire night.