The history of famous lake city
Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower. Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.
Pushkar word may be derived from word ‘Pushkarni’ means- Lake. It may be derived from word Pushpa means flower and Kar mean hand. Pushkar is a hauntingly beautiful town which has curled up its existence around the Pushkar Lake, with 52 different Ghats and has bordered its territories with milky blue temples around the lake and the city.
According to Hindu theology, the pond at Pushkar and one particular pond in Pakistan has a theological association with Shiva; it was formed by the tears of Lord Shiva which he is believed to have shed after the death of his wife, Sati.
The story goes that when Sati died, Shiva cried so much and for so long, that his tears created two holy ponds – one at Pushkara in Ajmer in India and the other at Ketaksha (near Choa Saidan Shah in Chakwal District of Pakistan) which literally means raining eyes, in Sanskrit. It is from this name that the word Katas is derived.
As the night sets, the lake slowly transforms into a blue shining emerald as the name suggest, The Blue Lotus.
Situated at a height of 510 meters, Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’, literally meaning Snake Mountain forms a natural border between Ajmer and Pushkar.
Known as ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’, the essence of the famous Pushkar rose is exported all over the world. Along with an interesting mythological history, a legacy of timeless architectural heritage makes Pushkar a fascinating city.
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. These busy and colorful streets are one of the best ways to explore the city and find good places to stay and eat.
As the holy town is already famous for its temples, a couple of these temples have interesting stories behind them which would fascinate anyone a devotee or not.
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 14th century. The Brahma temple in Pushkar is among the few Brahma temples existing in Indian and the world. Built with marble and decorated with silver coins, this temple can be identified by its red spire and the image of a swan (considered sacred to Lord Brahma).
The chaturmukhi (four faced) idol of Lord Brahma is housed in the inner sanctum. A marble statue of the sun god stands sentinel at the temple. Interestingly, while all the gods are shown barefooted, Surya is shown wearing an ancient warrior’s boots.
Located on top of a hill called Ratnagiri, Savitri temple is dedicated to Brahma’s wife Savitri. You can trek up the hill to catch the beautiful view of the Pushkar Lake. The temple is situated at an elevation of about 750 ft and a flight of 650 steps take you to Savitri temple, which is the second most significant temple in the town. The best time to visit the temple is early morning as you would be able to witness an absolutely stunning sunrise from the top of the hill.
Pap Mochini Temple
The temple is dedicated to Ekadashi Mata and devotees believe that a visit to this temple will free them of their sins. Pap, in Hindi and Sanskrit, means sin. The temple, which boasts of a spectacular architecture, is located on the northern part of Pushkar.
Apteshwar temple is among the famous temples in the sacred town of Pushkar. Dedicated to Shiva, this temple was built in the early 12th century and has an underground section. This magnificent temple has a Hemadpanti style of architecture. The delicate designs in the temple will leave you in awe. To see this temple in its full glory, visit it during Mahashivratri, which is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm here.
The list of the temple must visit go on giving you an abundance of temples to choose from every day of your stay.
You can explore the town on foot as it is not very big. The walk through the city will enable you to see all the details of the beautiful temples and other buildings. Spiritual walking tours are also offered by few companies. Evening or morning walks are offered. These walking tours usually include visits to the Pushkar Lake, famous temples of Pushkar, trying local cuisines, experiencing havan or the fire ritual and a visit to the local market. You can also rent a motorbike or a cycle to explore this charming town. Another popular way to explore the region is on camelback. Book a camel safari for an exciting tour of this holy town.
Built to serve as Raja Man Singh I’s guest house, the Man Mahal palace is among Pushkar’s grandest palaces. This palace is one of the most popular tourist spots in the town. Man Mahal is a visual treat with its grand Rajasthani architectural style of the royal period. The palace has now been converted into a heritage hotel and is called RTDC Hotel Sarovar. The palace still retains its old world charm.
The Pushkar affair
A major attraction in Pushkar is the Pushkar fair. Pushkar camel fair is the most important and famous event in Pushkar. The fair is held from Kartik Ekadashi to Kartik Poornima in the Hindu calendar for five days. It falls between the month of October and November.
The celebration can extend up to 14 days. According to legends, god Brahma appeared at the Pushkar Lake on the Poornima or the full moon day. Many visitors and locals swim across the lake as it is considered auspicious. Poornima is also the main day of celebration during the fair. The fair is considered the largest camel fair in the world.
This is where the locals sell and purchase livestock, but in recent years, this fair has emerged as a popular tourist attraction. Several competitions like ‘longest mustache’, ‘matka phod’ and bridal completion are held during the fair. Apart from watching different performances and taking part in the competitions, you can indulge in some retail therapy here. There are many stalls at the fair selling bangles, fabric, bags and other items.
Nearly 400,000 people every year flock to the banks of Pushkar Lake to attend the fair. Pushkar camel fair is a mega event with more than 11,000 horses, camels, and cattle along with expats and tourists from across the globe visiting a tiny temple town of Pushkar. This vibrant and colorful fair is one of the travel experiences you must not miss for anything.
The decked up camels and other animals walking in style across the rugged path with beautiful sand dunes in the background will enchant you. This fair is a cultural retreat and a carnival with many artists from across the world. Musicians, acrobats, and dancers attend the fair and perform here.
Pushkar camel fair is a must visit for those who want to feel the tradition and the colorful culture of Rajasthan. This is a major crowd puller and to cater to the tourists attending the fair, many companies provide luxury tents for accommodation.
Pushkar is conveniently connected to Jaipur by road, the nearest airport is also in Jaipur and the Railway services work till the Pushkar Terminus.
So, enjoy the best of world’s largest camel fair, international ballon fair, and much more to explore the best of Pushkar!