Pushkar

Pushkar is one of the most ancient cities of India. Located in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district in midst of Aravali range, Pushkar is often called tirtha-raj, which literally means the king of pilgrim sites. It is also among the five pilgrim sites or dhams for people following Hinduism. There are several temples in Pushkar and the most famous temple is the Brahma temple, which is one of the few temples dedicated to Brahma in the world. Pushkar is also famous for the Pushkar Lake, which has 52 ghats. Pilgrims from across the country visit the lake to take a dip in its holy water. The sacred Pushkar Lake resounds with the chants and hymns from the 400 blue colored temples located on its banks. Pushkar is also called ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’, because of the flower farming in and around the city. These flowers are exported across the world. Surrounded by hills, Pushkar is a popular destination among the devotees and tourists alike. In the recent years, Pushkar has become one of the most famous tourist destinations among Indian as well as international tourists. The annual Pushkar Camel Fair, which is held in November, is a major crowd puller. The spirituality and tranquility will make you fall in love with Pushkar instantly. The beautiful architectural heritage and its interesting history make Pushkar a must-visit place in India.

The streets of the town are lined with shops selling everything from tie-dye clothes, the musical instrument didgeridoos and other trinkets for tourists. This mystical town retains its authentic flavor and charm despite the commercialization. The mountain range Nag Pahar, which literally means Snake Mountain, separates Pushkar from Ajmer.

n Sanskrit, Pushkar means blue lotus flower. Pushkar has an interesting history. According to legends, Brahma found Purshkar to be ideal for his Mahayagna. Soon he found out about Vajranash, a demon, who was killing people of the town. Brahma killed the demon by chanting a mantra on a lotus flower. Few parts of the lotus fell on three sites in Pushkar and these places were later called Jyaistha, Madhya and Kanishtha Pushkar. To protect Pushkar from demons, a yagna was performed by Brahma. For performing the yagna, Brahma’s consort, Savitri, was required. However, she was not present there and Brahma married a girl called Gayatri from Gurjar community to complete his yagna. Enraged by the news of Brahma’s wedding, Savitri cursed that people would worship Brahma only in Pushkar. The Pushkar temple still has a Gurjar priests known as Bhopas. The town was under the Rajputana Agency in 1901 and had 3,831 residents.

Sightseeing in Pushkar

Pushkar is emerging as one of the popular tourist destinations in India. Connected to several stories and legends, this place is also among the most sacred pilgrim sites. The beautiful architectural legacy and the colorful fairs of Pushkar make it an interesting place to visit. The most famous tourist attraction is the Brahma temple, which attracts thousands of devotees and tourists. The Pushkar Lake is another must-see place in Pushkar. You can also trek to the top of a hill to reach the Saraswati temple and enjoy the panoramic view of the Pushkar Lake. The Gandi Ghat in the town is a significant place as the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were sprinkled at the ghat. Here is a list of places to visit in Pushkar.

Pushkar Lake

Located in Pushkar, the Pushkar Lake is one of the most popular tourist attractions. According to the legends, the lake was created when Brahma dropped his lotus at this site. The sacred Pushkar Lake is believed to be holy by Hindus. It is called Tirtha Raj, which means the king of Pilgrimage place. The sacred water of this lake is believed to wash away the sins. The lake’s water is believed to have curative and medicinal properties. More than 500 temples are present around the lake.

The history of the lake dates back to the 4 th century BC. The lake has been mentioned in coins from that period. According to the inscription at Sanchi, the lake existed in the 2 nd century BC. Although, the lake was not on the trade route, it was a major pilgrim site. As per a story, Nahar Rao Parihar of Mandore, who was a Rajput king in the ninth century, followed a white boar, during a hunting expedition, to the lake. He was thirsty and as soon as he dipped his hand in the lake to drink the water, he noticed that the Leukoderma marks had been cured. Astonished by the healing power of the lake, the king restored the lake. People stared to throng to this lake after learning about its curative powers to take a dip and heal any skin ailment. It is said that the lake was created when a dam was constructed across the Luni River. Some believe that Guru Gobind Singh, the 10 th Sikh guru, read the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of Sikh, on the bank of the lake.

The lake has 52 ghats, which are stone steps to descend to the edge of the lake. Devotees flock to these ghats for a holy dip during auspicious days like Kartik Poornima, during the Pushkar fair (October-November). Of the 52 ghats of the lake, ten ghats that are situated on the periphery are important. These ten ghats, which are the Gangaur Ghat, Karni Ghat, Jaipur Ghat, Yag Ghat, Gau ghat, Kota Ghat, Gwalior Ghat, Saptarishi Ghats, Dadhich Ghat and Varaha Ghat, have been categorized as ‘Monuments of National Importance’. Gau ghat is now called Mahatma Gandhi ghat, while the Brahma ghat was named so because it is said that Brahma bathed here. Varaha ghat is called so as it is believed that Vishnu appeared at this site in his boar (varah) incarnation. Near the Varaha ghat, there is Nart Singh ghat with stuffed crocodile. The lake has a rich aquatic life. Once there were man-eating crocodiles in the lake, but the British caught them and transferred them to a reservoir close by.

The lake is also a heritage monument. Over the centuries, the lake and the ghats have been restored by the Maratha kings and the Royal families of Rajasthan. You can visit the lake on any day of the week throughout the year from 9 am to 6 pm. You don’t have to pay any money to visit the lake and it will take you an hour to see the lake and the surrounding area.

Brahma temple

There are more than 500 temples in Pushkar and among them the most popular and significant is the Brahma temple. Many of the old temples, including the Brahma temple, were demolished during the reign of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. These temples were later rebuilt. Although the original Brahma temple is said to be 2000 years old, the present structure dates back to the 14 th century. The Brahma temple in Pushkar is among the few Brahma temples existing in Indian and the world. The other temples dedicated to Brahma include Carambolim close to Valpoi in Goa, Uttamar Kovil located near Srirangam in Tamil Nadu, Asotra near Balotra in Rajasthan, Khedbrahma in Gujarat, Bithoor in Uttar Pradesh, Prambanan in Indonesia and Mother temple of Besakihin in Bali in Indonesia. Sages and holy men take a ceremonial bath in the sacred Pushkar Lake and then enter this temple. The Brahma temple is also called the Jagatpita Brahma Mandir. This famous Hindu pilgrim site is built of mainly stone slab and marble. The main idols of the temple are of Brahma and his consort Gayatri. The temple has a hans (goose) over the entrance.  Devotees combine their visit to the temple with the visit to the sacred Pushkar Lake. There are several other temples near the lake like Gayatri temple, which is dedicated to the second consort of Brahma; Savitri temple, which is dedicated to the first consort of Brahma and Varah temple, which is dedicated to the boar avatar of Vishnu.

The temple is open all day of the week from 5 am to 1:30 pm and 3 pm to 9 pm during summer. During winter, the time is from 6 am to 1:30 pm and 3 pm to 8:30 pm.

   

Pushkar Lake                                               Brahma temple

 

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