Pushkar — a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town, is one of the oldest cities in India. Located 15 km from Ajmer, the poised city of Pushkar is one of the most favored tourist destinations of Rajasthan. Vibrant in its appearance, Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’, meaning Snake mountain stands as a border between the two cities.
Pushkar, with hundreds of temples and ghats, is one of the most significant places according to Hindu mythology. It is home to the only temple of Lord Brahma in the entire world. A land of fairs and festivities, Pushkar is famous for hosting an annual camel fair, which usually takes place in October or early November. Hot air balloons, camel safaris, bustling shopping streets; this mystic town brings the arid desert to life.
Termed as Tirtha Raj — king of pilgrimage sites, Pushkar lake is one of the five most sacred dhams held in high esteem by the Hindus. The city owes its name to this serene lake, around which the city has developed for centuries now. According to the scriptures, when Lord Brahma was fighting the demon Vajranabha, lotus petals fell on the ground where springs emerged, leading to the creation of the Pushkar lake.
The lake has 52 bathing ghats ( steps leading to the lake ) and nearly 500 large and small temples dot the banks of the lake. Devotees believe that a dip in this highly revered lake will nullify all their sins and is also a cure to skin diseases. Due to its religious significance, visitors are asked to remove shoes before entering the complex. Prayers and rituals take place throughout the day. The evening aartis are performed with great pomp and show.
The only shrine dedicated to the Hindu God of creation in the entire world, the Brahma Temple is located near the Pushkar Lake. Although the current structure dates to the 14th century, the ancient temple is believed to be nearly 2000 years old. Made of marble and stone stabs, the sanctum is devoted to Lord Brahma and his second wife, Gayatri. Legends state that when Lord Brahma landed on earth, he chose this spot to perform yajna, a Hindu ritual offering fire sacrifice.
Every year on the full moon night of Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October-November), the town celebrates a festival dedicated to Lord Brahma. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple after cleansing themselves in the sacred Pushkar Lake.
Varaha Temple, Savitri Temple, Rangji Temple, Pap Mochini Temple are some nearby temples dedicated to various other Hindu deities.
Pushkar Camel Fair
One of the world’s largest cattle fairs, the Pushkar Camel Fair is annual, five-day livestock and cultural fete is held during the month of October-November. Over the years, Pushkar Mela, as it is locally known, with its enthralling and colourful vibes, has become an important tourist attraction. Apart from trading livestock, several cultural events and entertaining competitions draw thousands of visitors each year.
Matka Race, mustache competition, turban tying, bride-groom contest, camel races are some exciting competitions to participate. Cultural events showcasing the vibrant Rajasthani culture adds to the excitement.
Hot Air Balloon Festival
What can get better than experiencing the exhilarating beauty of Pushkar while floating high up in the sky; gently drifting over the vast encampment on the dunes, beautiful lakes, and holy temples.
Alongside the Pushkar Fair, the Puskar International Baloon Festival provides the perfect opportunity. The festival has gained wide traction since its recent incorporation in 2010. Tourists visiting the Pushkar Fair often indulge in this once-a-lifetime thrilling activity.
Early morning is the best time to take the flight as one can witness beautiful sunrise from the heights, that will be etched in memories for eternity.
Desert Camping and Camel Safari
With the stunning view of Aravalli hills at the backdrop, Desert camping in Pushkar is a treat to your eyes as the night settles in. Amidst the golden sands, experience the celestial wonders the night sky has to offer. The months of October-February offer the best time to camp under the starlit sky, as the scorching heat of the desert slowly fades with the arrival of winter.
Here you can find some amazing desert camping sites.
Riding the back of humpy camels, or beautifully decorated caravans, Camel Safari is the best way to explore the unending stretch of the great Indian Thar desert. Catching the glimpse of sunrise and sunset while strolling over the isolated dunes is totally mesmerizing.
So this vacation, gear up for an exciting trip to the sacred land of Pushkar.