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Urs Ajmer Sharif: Festival Honors Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/22/2012 12:40 pm

Click through to see photos from the festival:

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  • An Indian Muslim Sufi devotee dances with a band during a procession to the revered Muslim Shrine of Ajmer Sharif during the Urs Festival in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Monday, May 21, 2012. Thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of India annually travel to the shrine of Sufi Muslim saint Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, for the annual Urs festival observed to mark his death anniversary. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

  • An Indian Muslim Sufi devotee who is on a pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif, a revered Muslim shrine in India's western state of Rajasthan, smokes marijuana as he rests at a transit camp in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of the country annually travel to the shrine of Sufi Muslim saint Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, for the annual Urs festival observed to mark his death anniversary. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: A Sufi Muslim pilgrim gestures after paying respects at the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • An Indian Muslim Sufi devotee uses a sharp objects as he self flagellates during a procession to the revered Muslim Shrine of Ajmer Sharif during the Urs Festival in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Monday, May 21, 2012. Thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of India annually travel to the shrine of Sufi Muslim saint Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, for the annual Urs festival observed to mark his death anniversary. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: Sufi Muslim pilgrim, Basanti Hijra, 42, who walked from Delhi as part of the pilgrimage, clasps her hands as she dances during the annual procession during the 'Urs' Festival on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • An Indian Muslim Sufi devotee uses a sharp objects as he self flagellates during a procession to the revered Muslim Shrine of Ajmer Sharif during the Urs Festival in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Monday, May 21, 2012. Thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of India annually travel to the shrine of Sufi Muslim saint Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, for the annual Urs festival observed to mark his death anniversary. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: A Sufi Muslim pilgrim, rcollects alms as he and others march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: Sufi Muslim pilgrims carry flags as they march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: Sufi Muslim pilgrims march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: Sufi Muslim pilgrims carry flags as they march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: A boy is handed a 10 Rupee note after performing, as Sufi Muslim pilgrims march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

  • Sufi's Gather To Commemorate 12th Century Persian Saint

    AJMER, INDIA - MAY 21: Sufi Muslim pilgrims carry flags as they march towards the 'durgah' or shrine, where Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti is buried, during the annual 'Urs' procession on May 21, 2012 in Ajmer, India. Thousands of Sufi Muslim pilgrims from across India converge on the North Indian town of Ajmer to mark the 'Urs' (death anniversary) Festival of Muhammad Moin-ud-din Chisti, a 12th century Sufi saint from Persia who lies buried in Ajmer. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and fakirs from all South Asia come to celebrate and pay their respects to the saint.(Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

Urs Ajmer Sharif is a six-day long annual commemoration of the death of the Persian Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti, at his tomb (dargah) in Ajmer, India. Celebrated as a wedding feast, or the union of the soul with the beloved, it is the largest urs (commemoration of death anniversary of a Sufi saint) observation in India. In 2012, Urs Ajmer Sharif is observed from 22nd May until 28th May.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock to the town of Ajmer making offerings of flowers, and reciting special prayers and qawwali (poetry) to seek the blessings of the saint. Self-flagellation is also a common aspect of the occasion.

Moinuddin Chisti established the Chistiya order of Sufis in India. Known as Gareeb Nawaz, or benefactor of the poor, he is an especially beloved saint of India.


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