India is known for its cultural diversity with people of different religions coexisting side by side is dotted with places of Hindu pilgrims. Of them, Pushkar stands as one of the holiest places in Hindu mythology, house to amusing attractions, beautiful scenic locations and cordial environment. If you are tired of your monotonous life and are looking for some tranquillity and solace. Then a day escape at Puskar could be your much-awaited opportunity. Pushkar promises to offer you the most memorable experience.
Pushkar is a charming little town which falls just 15 km away from the Ajmer city in Rajasthan. It is ideally situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by hills on three sides and sand dunes on the other. It is one of the five most sacred pilgrimages in the Hindu religion, the others being Puri, Badrinath, Rameswaram and Dwarka. It is said to be the land where God resides. Pious people from various parts of India visit Pushkar, the only abode of Brahma, to have a holy dip in the Pushkar lake.
Home to at least five hundred temples and over fifty ghats, Pushkar holds a special place in the heart of every devout Hindu. The temples in Pushkar implies the kind of atmosphere and religious tenor that echoes in this town. The reverberation of pujas and chantings, beatings of drums and the sound of devotional prayer songs offers a unique scene for the thousands of devotees and wraps them in the fabric of one religious sentiment. The whole mystic aura and the silver bells ringing from the camels is totally interesting for someone who visits Pushkar for the first time.
In recent times, many foreign tourists are also making it a point to visit this place in order to get a view of indescribable natural beauty. Let’s introduce you to the major features of this mystic place.
At the very first glance, the divine land will mesmerize you by the panoramic beauty of the lake which surrounds this holy town. Pushkar Lake or Pushkar Sarovar is the heart of the quiet town and is believed to have been formed by Lord Brahma himself.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma, who is the creator of the universe, was in search of an auspicious place to perform yagna and was flying over the Rajasthan desert on his swam. Some lotus petals fell from his hand and floated down. Amazingly, three blue lakes sprang up where the flowers touched land. Of them, a lake the largest of the three lakes formed up at Pushkar. That is how the scenic holy lake which is worshipped by the Hindu devotees into being. A dip in the lake is supposed to give you the ultimate salvation you are seeking. The serenity of the lake lives when a huge aarti ceremony takes place at night.
There are a plethora of temples built around this lake and the various ghats connect the temples to the water. Mere one glimpse of the place fills one with a sense of spirituality.
Pushkar is called the king of all pilgrimages (Teerth Raj). The most important Pushkar temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma that was built in the 14th century. The significance of this Pushkar temple is that it is the only temple in India where Lord Brahma is revered. The Pushkar temple is an aesthetic pleasure even to the tourist who may not visit temples merely out of devotion. The temple can easily be identified by its red spire and the sculpture of a swan, which was the preferred animal of Lord Brahma.
The temple has been built with marbles and is decorated with silver coins. A silver turtle adorns the floor of the temple, amplifying further artistic enticement to the place. It is also believed that Lord Brahma along with many other gods and goddesses carried a sacred ritual (Yagya) here. In order to preserve the sanctity and piety of this place, it is illicit to consume meat, drugs and alcohol when one is in Pushkar.
Out of the 500 temples here, there are many other important temples that dot the place. The Savitri shrine located on the hill behind the Brahma Temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma’s first wife. This temple can be reached by a flight of steps and offers a stunning view of the lake and the encompassing the desert scape. The Varaha temple distinguished for sculptures, carvings and richly ornamented appearance was rebuilt by Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur in the year 1727. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation the form of a boar. The Rangji temple which has been designed in the South Indian architectural style.
Pushkar has 52 ghats where pilgrims descend to the lake to have a holy bath. It is believed that if you take a holy dip on Kartik Purnima, it is equivalent to perform yajnas for several years.
Apart from the numerous temples, another prominent tourist attraction of Pushkar is the Man Mahal, a palace erected by Raja Man Singh of Ajmer. Raja Man Singh used this largest imperial house during his stays to Pushkar.
Although Pushkar is an ancient pilgrimage site, many of the old architecture was destroyed by Aurangzeb and have been rebuilt later. However, one can still be transported back in time when he or she visits the sacred soil of Pushkar for a pilgrimage or even for a single day.
The highlight of Pushkar: Pushkar Fair
Along with being a prominent Hindu pilgrimage, Pushkar is perhaps more commonly associated with Pushkar Camel Fair. This fair is an annual religious carnival held beside the Pushkar lake. Being the largest Camel fair of the world, this fair sees a heavy turnout of tourists and pilgrims from around the world each year. Tourists come to this mystical land to witness this spectacular event and to savour the rich traditions and cultural heritage that it has to offer. The fair is held during the auspicious occasion of Kartik Purnima in the month of October/ November. It starts on Kartik Shukla Ekadashi and goes on for five days till Kartik Purnima.
More than 50,000 camels can be sighted in Pushkar during this fair. You can see many camels being brought here from every nook and corner and getting traded here. To have a good price, their owners clean and adorn their camels with finery and jewellery. Several stalls line up along the places, selling jewellery for camels. You can see camels wearing jewellery of silver and beads. They are dressed with bells and bangles around their ankles. An interesting ritual of nose piercing of camels also takes place here.
Although it was earlier meant for the trading of camel and cattle only, the Pushkar camel fair has now become a major tourist attraction and a grand ceremony in itself. The whole town seems to be entirely indulged in merrymaking and recreations. The atmosphere comes alive with colourfully dressed locals and tourists, devotees, musicians, acrobats, folk dancers, comedians, holy men and tourists exploring this fabulous fair in Pushkar. In fact, you can witness colourful, vibrant bazaars, enchanting folk music and sports involving camels.
Another crucial facet of the Pushkar Fair Rajasthan is the races and competitions. The chaos of camels flickering across the sands amidst cheers and screams from the audience is a fabulous view. The most fascinating contest held here is the camel beauty competition. The camels are decorated and paraded. The other peaks of Pushkar Fair entail best breed contest, moustache competition, bridal competition along with activities like tattooing, ethnic shopping, puppet shows, acrobatics, etc.
It would be best if you plan your trip during this period, it’s the time of the year where the town is at its finest and full of good vibes. Besides the world-famous Pushkar fair, another awesome festival that is run in Pushkar is the Hot Air Ballooning Festival. Some other carnivals are also held here, such as the Nagaur Fair, Tejaji Fair, and the Blue Lotus Festival.
When in Pushkar, one is bound to be affected by the complete peace that engulfs your soul. Everything about the place is magical, whether they are sand dunes, lakes, religious places, awesome hikes, festivals, hot air balloons, camel rides, rooftop cafes all side by side with the camels, saints, pilgrims, touts, tourists, snake charmers, fireworks, glitter, Rajasthani fashionistas, little blue boys dressed as the Hindu god Lord Shiva brings a bit of insanity to the local atmosphere.
It is hardly any wonder that the majority of the people who come to Jaipur never miss visiting Pushkar. So, a day trip to this small town, Pushkar is the right choice to get in touch for exotic travelling experience around Jaipur.
Best time to visit Pushkar
The best time to visit Pushkar mainly depends on two things: the weather and festivals. If you are wondering what the best weather to visit Pushkar, well we will let you know. Summers at Pushkar are incredibly hot, though nights and mornings will be enjoyable. The best time to visit is the wintertime, which extends from the month of October to March. The weather is pleasant during this period and probably this is the reason why the fair takes place during this time.
How to Reach Pushkar
Pushkar is a popular tourists destination and hence it is well connected with all modes of communication. Jaipur airport is the nearest airport to Pushkar. The nearest railway station is Ajmer. The best way to reach here is through a road trip to Jaipur. It is around 145 km from Jaipur and it will take approx 3 to 4 hours journey. Getting around is very easy as Pushkar is a small town. It is ideal to explore Pushkar on foot only or you can use a bicycle.
Excursions from Pushkar
Visiting Pushkar one can also visit Kunchaman Fort, Dargah of Sufi Saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti at Ajmer, A ride to Merta city and Sambhar Lake.
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