11 km north-west from Ajmer, in the state of Rajasthan, on the desert fringe lies a tiny tranquil town called Pushkar, along the bank of the picturesque Pushkar Lake. One of the holiest and oldest cities of India, Pushkar is a favored destination for thousands of tourists and devotees. As per legends, Pushkar boasts of over 400 temples, ghats and palaces revealing an entirely different picture of the city. An important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus, Pushkar is home to the only temple of Lord Brahma in the country as well as the world. Lord Brahma is known as the creator of the world, as per the Hindu mythology.
Pushkar is situated at a height of 510 meters, surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The 'Nag Pahar', or the Snake Mountain, forms a natural boundary between Ajmer and Pushkar. The sleepy, lakeside settlement of Pushkar is of great mythological significance. According to Hindu mythology, lotus petals incidentally fell from the hands of Lord Brahma on the ground at three places, from where water immediately sprouted, which lead to the creation of three lakes, Pushkar Lake, Madya Pushkar Lake and Kanishta Pushkar. Pushkar is one such place where Lord Brahma performed “Yagna”.
Pushkar Camel Festival is the best time to witness the kaleidoscopic picture of this part of Rajasthan. The riot of colors and liveliness is evident from swirling dancers, tented camps, intricate artwork and towering camels. Thousands of Hindus from across the globe come to Pushkar to take a dip in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake. All in all, Pushkar radiates an ambience of peace and spirituality that casts a lure to visit again and again. Visit Pushkar and catch a glimpse of the unrevealed part of this otherwise drowsy and quiet town begetting a legacy of timeless architectural heritage.
PLACES TO VISIT
Numerous ghats run down the lake and the pilgrims are bathing in the lake's Holi waters. Photography is prohibited.
The holy lake is surrounded by numerous ghats & temples. The lake is very busy in the morning, all the devotees & Sadhus take the holy bath in the Sarovar.
This world's only temple devoted to Bramha, is situated near the market in the old town. Apparently Lord Brahma wanted to perform a Yagna (self mortification) at the lake, and when his wife Savitri didn't attend, he married another woman on a whim. Savitri, understandably annoyed, vowed that brahma would not be worshipped anywhere else. It's marked by a red spire, and over the entrance gateway is the hans, or the goose symbol, of Bramha.
The one-hour trek up to the hilltop Savitri Temple overlooking the lake is best made early in the morning; the view is magical.
Originally built in the 12th century, Varah Temple was, like many others, destroyed by the bigoted Emperor Aurangzeb (who, it is said , was particularly upset by the huge idol here of Varah, the god with the body of a man and the head of the boar.) Reconstructed BY Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1727, the temple has an interesting and richly ornamented image house.
A Beautiful temple built in the 19th century, it was described by a British traveler of the time as "by far the most remarkable, for the elegance of its structure and the nature of its ornaments, of all the temples Pushkar boasts of." It is also noteworthy for its white marble Mahadeva image, with its five faces (and its traditional tufts of hair).
One of Pushkar's largest and most intricate temples, the Ramavaikunth Temple was built in the 1920's and has beautifully sculpted images of no less than 361 different deities. The ornate outer gopuram over the entrance is said to have been built by a team of masons specially brought here from south India.
HOW TO GET HERE
By Air: Sanganer Airport, in Jaipur, is the nearest airport connecting Pushkar to the rest of India and abroad. Located at a distance of 146 km from Pushkar, this airport is well-connected to the major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Indore, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
By Rail: Ajmer is the closest railway station from Pushkar at a distance of just 11 km. Being an important destination itself, Ajmer is conveniently connected with the major cities of Rajasthan and India. Pink City Express and Shatabdi Express are the best trains to opt for while traveling to Ajmer from Delhi and Jaipur.
By Road: Pushkar is easily connected to the major roadways and national highways of Rajasthan and India. The Marwar bus stand is situated in the north of Pushkar and is linked to long distance places, like Delhi, Jodhpur and Bikaner. The other stand is Ajmer bus stand, at a distance of 11 km in the east of Pushkar. Regular buses ply from Pushkar to Ajmer, Jaipur, Indore and Nagda every 15 minutes.