PUSHKAR – THE TOWN OF FAIRS AND FESTIVITIES
Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, the tranquil city of Pushkar is a favoured destination for thousands of tourists and devotees flocking to Rajasthan. Situated at a height of 510 metres, 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. According to legends, Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the Universe dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then decided to name the place after the flower, and thus the name, Pushkar. The city of Pushkar is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the whole world. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be the ultimate pilgrimage that must be undertaken to attain salvation.
Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Pushkar
According to Hindu scriptures, the sacred Pushkar Lake is described as ‘Tirtha Raj’, the king of all pilgrimage sites. No pilgrimage is considered to be complete without a dip in in the holy Pushkar Lake. Semi-circular in shape and about 8-10 metres deep, Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 400 temples and is truly a magnificent sight to behold.
Nestled in the picturesque Pushkar valley beyond the Nangaparvat and Anasagar Lake, the Brahma temple holds a special place in the hearts of Indians. It is the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma. 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 bare footed, Surya is shown wearing ancient warrior’s boots.
Dedicated to Lord Brahma’s first wife, Goddess Savitri, this temple is situated on a hillock right behind the Brahma temple. While climbing the long series of steps leading to the temple, one can catch a panoramic view of the lake, surrounding temples and sand dunes. The presence of the only Brahma Temple in Pushkar is the outcome of Savitri’s curse to Brahma for marrying another Goddess, Gayatri, while starting his yagna in Pushkar.
Gurudwara Singh Sabha
Gurudwara Singh Sabha, situated in the eastern part of Pushkar, was built in the beginning of the 19th century to commemorate the visits of the first and the tenth gurus- Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Govind Singhji.
The gracious and conspicuous Rangji Temple is another popular shrine that witnesses thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rangji, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The influence of South Indian style, Rajput style and Mughal style in the temple’s architecture is highly noticeable. The high-rising ‘Gopuram’, prevalent mainly in the temples present in South India is another feature of the temple that attracts visitors.
Pap Mochini Temple
Presided by the deity Ekadashi Mata, the Pap Mochini temple is believed to provide respite to followers from their cardinal sins. Located in the northern section of Pushkar, the temple is like a pearl in the crown of Pushkar. Having a great spiritual importance as well as boasting a splendid architecture, the Pap Mochini temple is one of the most popular temples in Rajasthan.
Sri Panchkund Shiva Temple
Sri Panchkund Shiva Temple is said to have been built by the five Pandavas. Located on the eastern edge of the town, this temple is around 2-3 kilometres from the lake.
Varaha temple is the largest and the most ancient temple of Pushkar. Constructed by the 12th century ruler, King Anaji Chauhan, this temple is dedicated to the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a wild boar. Legend has it that Varaha rescued the earth from depth of the primeval water, where it was dragged down by a demon (Hirnayaksh). It is one of the most visited temples in Pushkar.
This beautiful 12th century temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an underground component. The intricate Hemadpanti architectural style carvings give this temple a magnificent appearance. Thousands of devotees flock here to pay their respects during the auspicious time of Shivaratri, when Lord Shiva is ritually respected.
The Man Mahal is one of the greatest palaces of Pushkar. Built as a guest house of Raja Man Singh I, this palace is one of the most attractive spots to visit in Pushkar. It was built to serve as a royal guest house for Raja Man Singh I. The Rajasthani architecture from the royal era that adorns the palace makes it a visual treat. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel, called the RTDC Hotel Sarovar, and allows tourists to not only enjoy the beauty of the palace but also the breathtaking view of the lakes and temples around the lake.
How to Reach here
- Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is the nearest at a distance of 146 kilometres.
- Pushkar is well connected to the national highways of Rajasthan.
- Regular buses ply from Pushkar to the major cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer from the Ajmer bus stand.
- Pushkar Terminus Railway station which is operational since 2012, is connected to Ajmer railway station located at a distance of 11 kilometres.