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India >> Rajasthan >> Ajmer >> Pushkar
Pushkar Ajmer, Rajasthan  More Images
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Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual origin is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation. It is mentioned that Brahma performed penance here for 60,000 years to have a glimpse of Lord Vishnu.

A very small town, seemingly just bigger than the lake it skirts, Pushkar attracts Hindu devotees and those charmed by the Hinduism in large numbers. The milieu consists of people from across the world, sieving a cross cultural matrix – and all this lends the town an unexpectedly quaint air. Pushkar is thus as much about Aarti and chants as about Om Shanti” T-shirts, Shiva tattoos, Hippy lifestyles and digital gadgets. Layers of human experience, all blending together to make Pushkar as mythical and mystical as the legends warrant it to be.

The Pushkar Lake

The Pushkar Lake is the center of all the religious and mythical activities in the town and is the main attraction for the tourists – Hindu or Non-Hindu, who throng this city for its mystical charm. Lake is filled with mysterious dark green water, with the Aravali hills receding at a distance, is creased around by pure white Ghat (bank) buildings and provides an unforgettable aesthetic treat to the soul and eyes. Devotees in their quest for purification and the seekers in search of something undefined provide spectacle of colour and culture here. Even after the holly dip is over, one wishes to be near the lake, pondering on the changing colors of life, or just of the day.

Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing Ghats (a series of steps leading to the lake), where pilgrims throng in large numbers to take a sacred bath, especially around Kartik Poornima (October–November) when the Pushkar Fair is held. A dip in the sacred lake is believed to cleanse sins and cure skin diseases. Over 500 Hindu temples are situated around the lake precincts.

Pushkar has many temples. Most of the temples are not very old, since many were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the area. Subsequently, the destroyed temples were re-built. The most famous among all is the Brahma Temple built during the 14th century AD. Very few temples of Lord Brahma exist anywhere in the world.

Brahma Mandir and the Legend

According to the Hindu scripture Padma Purana, Brahma saw the demon Vajranabha (Vajranash in another version) trying to kill his children and harassing people. He immediately slew the demon with his weapon, the lotus-flower. In this process, the lotus petals fell on the ground at three places, creating 3 lakes: the Pushkar Lake or Jyeshta Pushkar (greatest or first Pushkar), the Madya Pushkar (middle Pushkar) Lake, and Kanishta Pushkar (lowest or youngest Pushkar) lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower ("Pushpa") fell from Brahma's hand ("kar") as "Pushkar". Brahma then decided to perform a yajna (fire-sacrifice) at the main Pushkar Lake. In order to perform his yajna peacefully without being attacked by the demons, he created the hills around the Pushkar – Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east and positioned gods there to protect the yajna performance. However, while performing the yajna, his wife Savitri (called Sarasvati in some versions) could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the yajna as she was waiting for her companion goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Indrani. Annoyed, Brahma requested god Indra- the king of heaven - to find a suitable girl for him to wed to complete the yajna  Indra could find only a Gujar's daughter (in some legends, a milkmaid) who was sanctified by passing her through the body of a cow. Gods Vishnu, Shiva and the priests certified her purity as she had passed through a cow, it was her second birth and she was named Gayatri. Brahma then married Gayatri and completed the yajna with his new consort sitting beside him, holding the pot of amrita (elixir of life) on her head and giving ahuti (offering to the sacrificial fire). But when Savitri finally arrived at the venue she found Gayatri sitting next to Brahma which was her rightful place. Agitated, she cursed Brahma that he would be never worshipped, but then reduced the curse permitting his worship in Pushkar. Savitri also cursed Indra to be easily defeated in battles, Vishnu to suffer the separation from his wife as a human, the fire-god Agni who was offered the yajna to be all-devouring and the priests officiating the yagna to be poor. Endowed by the powers of yajna, Gayatri diluted Savitri's curse, blessing Pushkar to be the king of pilgrimages, Indra would always retain his heaven, Vishnu would be born as the human Rama and finally unite with his consort and the priests would become scholars and be venerated. Thus, the Pushkar temple is regarded the only temple dedicated to Brahma. Savitri, thereafter, moved into the Ratnagiri hill and became a part of it by emerging as a spring known as the Savitri Jharna (stream); a temple in her honour exists here.

Pushkar Fair

The Pushkar Fair is such an opportunity that lets the discerning visitors to catch a glimpse of the real rural Rajasthan that is so unique, beautiful, colorful, magical, and mystical, when a quiet sleepy town is transformed into a fiesta of spectacular show, mesmerizing scenes and sounds, creating an experience which lures one back year after year. Very few, if at all any fairs in the world, can match the liveliness of the Pushkar Fair, considered to be one of the oldest continuous human gatherings in the history of mankind.

Pushkar fair continues for five days and these five days are a period of relaxation and merry-making for the villagers. This fair time is the busiest time for them, as this is one of the largest cattle fairs in the country. Animals, especially camels, are brought from miles around. Trading is brisk as several thousand heads of cattle exchange hands. All the camels are cleaned, washed, adorned, some are interestingly shorn to form patterns, and special stalls are set up selling finery and jewellery for the camels. Camels at the Pushkar fair are decorated with great care. They wear jewellery of silver and beads. There are silver bells and bangles around their ankles that jingle-jangle when they walk. An interesting ritual is the piercing of a camel's nose.

Most people associate the Pushkar Fair with the world's largest camel fair. But it is much more than that. It is an occasion for villagers from far and near to come together to enjoy in a dazzling style and colors, a welcome break from their harsh life in the desert. It is also an occasion for Hindu pilgrims to converge for a holy dip in the sacred Pushkar Lake and pay obeisance at the only temple in the world of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the Universe.

Excellent milieus to memorize, shoot, photograph and live it actually.

 Orientation

Pushkar town is divided into Badi Basti and Chhoti Basti, of which the latter is considered older. The Pushkar Lake is the religious, mythical and emotional center of the town, surrounded by 52 ghats, concentrated on the eastern and northern sides. Immediately next to the ghats, embracing the main buildings, runs the main bazaar, spreading from Jaipur Ghat in the south east and curving around the ghats through the east, north and part of the west till the Brahma temple. A stroll from the Jaipur Ghat to the Brahma Temple can be done in leisurely 20 minutes, and more if you indulge in shopping, which is irresistible. Northern fringe of the Pushkar Town has some sand dunes.

 

Of the three main ghats, the Varah Ghat and Gau Ghat are at the north end of the lake and the Bazar lane takes a sharp turn south to the Brahma Ghat. The Savitiri Temple is situated on Ratnagiri Hill, roughly behind the Brahma Temple. Walking is the best way to feel Pushkar, and every thing can be accessed on foot.

 

Pushkar has become an international traveler hot spot, but why and that is inexplicable. It is a quaint small town of India, but without the noise and pollution and crowds of the big cities. It has the serenity of a village but one that has been forced out of its provinciality.

 

People are pulled to this place by a divine charm, to come and seek self, know life, get spiritually refined and attain nirvana.

 Getting there

Location

A small town, which is one of the five sacred dhams (Pilgrimage site) for devout Hindus and is often called "Tirth Raj" - the king of pilgrimage sites - and has in recent years become a popular destination for foreign tourists, is nestled in the Arawali valley in central Rajasthan, at the foot of Naag Pahar or Snake Mountain, which seprates Pushkar and Ajmer.

Distance

400 km south west of Delhi, 154 km south west of Jaipur and 11 km north west of Ajmer.

 Fast Facts
Name Pushkar Best Time To Visit October to February
Location Ajmer   Rajasthan   West   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type A mistical town.
Temperature Summar         Winter         Rainy   
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