that this custom is an ancient one, though no account of its origin can
be given. It is counted among the miracles of the saint that no lives
have ever been lost on these occasions, though burns are frequent.
The cooked rice is bought by all classes, and most castes will eat it.
The Ajmer fort was built by Akbar. It is a massive square building,
with lofty octagonal bastions at each corner. The fort was used as the
residence of the Mughal emperors during their visits to Ajmer, and was
the head-quarters of the administration in their time and in that of the
Marathas. The main entrance faces the city, and is lofty and imposing.
It was here that the emperors appeared in state, and that, as recorded
by Sir Thomas Roe, criminals were publicly executed. The ground
surrounding the fort has been largely built over, and its striking appear-
ance is thus considerably impaired. The interior was used as a
magazine during the British occupation until I857; and the central
building, now used as a tahsil office, has been so much altered that its
original shape and proportions are difficult to trace and restore. With
the fort the outer city walls, of the same period, are connected. These
surround the city and are pierced by the Delhi, Madar, Usri, Agra, and
Tirpolia gates. The gates were at one time highly decorated, but the
Delhi Gate alone retains any trace of its earlier ornaments. In the
older city, lying in the valley beneath the Tgragarh hill and now
abandoned, the Nur-chashma, a garden-house used by the Mughals,
still remains, as also a water-lift commenced by Maldeo Rathor, to
raise water to the Taragarh citadel. The Daulat Bagh, or 'garden
of splendour,' which was made by the emperor Jahangir in the seven-
teenth century, stretches for some distance from the Anasagar embank-
ment in the direction of the city. It contains many venerable trees, is
maintained from municipal funds, and is a popular place of resort.
Ajmer is an important railway centre, and the local emporium for
the trade of the adjoining parts of Rajputana. The locomotive, carriage,
and wagon shops of the Rajputana-Malwa Railway are
industries, established here, which employ about 7,000 hands,
while the whole of the earnings of the railway are
paid into the Ajmer treasury. Several Seth trading firms have their
head-quarters at Ajmer, with branches throughout Rajputana, and also
in Calcutta, Bombay, and other principal cities of India. They act
chiefly as bankers and money-lenders, and transact considerable busi-
ness with Native States.
Ajmer has been a municipality since I869. The municipal committee
consists of twenty-two members, mostly natives. Its income in 1902-3
Ad ministrtio. was Rs. 1,83,000, or Rs. 2-8 per head of population,
the principal source of revenue being octroi.
The city derives its water-supply from the Foy Sagar tank, some
3 miles to the west of the city. It was built as a famine relief work in