Taragarh is a fort outside Ajmer. From its description in the Lonely Planet, it sounded like a lovely place for a stroll. I set off early in the morning, having learned a valuable lesson about not hiking to hill forts in the middle of the day. The start of the path was hard to find but once I reached the stone steps it was easy to follow. As was the trail of litter and broken sandals.
The route to the fort was fairly quiet early in the day, but there were various signs of civilization: a couple of restaurants, tarpaulins stretched across the path; remains of a pay-phone shack. Higher up I started to pass stalls selling what seemed to be Islamic items. Some of these stalls played DVDs on small TV screens, while others played sermons through speakers. As I climbed the sound of these sermons overlapped with one another.
I made a fast ascent, wanting to reach the fort before the sun rose over the mountainside. The stone stairway was like something from a novel and the fort itself was impressive, with a great view of Ajmer.
To enter the main part of the fort I had to remove my shoes, and I was offered a packet of religious items to buy (incense and lotus flowers, I think). I walked barefoot around the town for a while, but I had little idea what the fort’s significance was. Given the stalls on the way up and the prohibtion on footwear, it was a pilgrimage site of some significance. A friend later told me it was the resting place of a Sufi saint, but I don’t know any more than that.
It was strange to visit a holy site with no idea of what it meant to people. That aside, the climb to Taragarh was one of the most impressive walks I’ve made in my life. I sat and enjoyed the view for a bit, then walked back into Ajmer, none the wiser.