Pushkar – The Pious City
Top 8 Things To Do In Pushkar
Bordering the boundless Thar Desert and surrounded by hillocks on three sides, Pushkar is a harmonious blend of spirituality and tranquility. The ambience of the blue-hued temples surrounding the lake along with the collective divine hymns and chants offer a soul-soothing experience. Fondly named as ‘Tirtha Raj’ or the king of the pilgrim sites, it owes its religious significance to the Mahayagna performed by Lord Brahma, who is believed to be the creator of the universe according to Hindu mythology. Pushkar is a home to one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma in India. Located in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan, it the most ancient cities of India. Curling around the holy Pushkar Lake, this magical city is one of the major tourist as well as pilgrim attraction. Pushkar is also called the ‘Rose Garden of Rajasthan’ because of the rose farming in the city. Pushkar rose essence is exported all over the world. The mythological history, enchanting temples, colorful markets, lively streets and rich cultural lifestyle of Pushkar makes it a must-visit destination. Whether you visit Pushkar for a religious dose, authentic shopping, or just unwinding your senses; the city offers diverse experiences. Check out the top 8 things to do in Pushkar.
1. Pushkar Lake
Surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 500 milky blue temples, the magnificent Pushkar lake is positioned amidst the Aravalli range of hills and Thar Desert. People take holy dips in its water to be cleared of all sins. According to the legends, when Lord Brahma killed a demon named Vajranabh with his weapon – the lotus, some petals fell on the ground creating the holy Pushkar Lake. Lord Brahma named the place as Pushkar and performed a Mahayagna here. The name Pushkar was derived from ‘pushpa’ which means ‘flower’ and ‘kar’ which means ‘hand’. Pushkar lake is believed to have a sacred curative nature and taking a dip in its holy waters cures all skin diseases. It is also believed that devotees taking a holy bathe in the lake on Kartik Purnima attain salvation. The lake is also a home to many colorful fishes and other aquatic life. The view of the lake is even more enchanting at night. with beautifully lit ghats all around. So, take that religious holy dip or just take a stroll around the lake and enjoy your leisure time.
2. Brahmaji Temple
Brahmaji Temple in Pushkar is one of the few temples dedicated to the creator God of Hindus, Lord Brahma. Although the temple was constructed in the 14th century, the origin of the temple is believed to be 2000 years old according to Indian Mythology. The temple is a grand structure mainly built with marble and stone slabs joined together with molten lead. The red spire of the temple with the symbol of goose on it is a distinctive feature. As a mark of offering to lord Brahma, there are hundreds of silver coins inlaid on the inner walls of the temple by the devotees. The temple houses a life size marble figure of Lord Brahma along with the figures of wives, Savitri and Gayatri. The temple is visited by the devotees after taking a dip in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake.
3. Savitri Mata Temple
The beautiful Savitri Mata temple is located on the highest Ratnagiri hill overlooking the Pushkar Lake. The temple is dedicated to the desolated wife of Lord Brahma. According to the legends, when Savitri could not reach on time for the Mahayagna performed by her husband, Lord Brahma; he performed the yagna accompanied by a local Gujjar girl, Gayatri. Annoyed by this, Savitri went to the hilltop. Later, an agreement was made that Savitri will always be worshipped before Gayatri. This tradition continues and the first aarti is performed at the Savitri Mata temple and then at the Gayatri temple. Although this temple was constructed in the 20th century, the idols of Savitri are believed to be dated back to 7th century A.D. The temple can be reached by a 1.5-kilometre strenuous trek or by a comfortable ropeway with a breathtaking view of the city. Seek blessings of the most revered Goddess in Pushkar. Enjoy the sunset and the city view from the top. You can also hire colorful turbans and click interesting pictures wearing them. Beware of the notorious monkeys at the top as they are cute little thieves.
4. Camel Safari
Camel Safari is a must-do adventure in Pushkar. Enjoying the desert-cape riding on the ship of the desert is an exotic experience. Venture into the golden sands of the spectacular Thar Desert on colorfully decorated camels. The camel carts are fully equipped to provide a comfortable experience to the tourists. Ride through the sandy tracks, rolling landscapes, remote villages and the untamed countryside of Rajasthan. Meet the villagers in their traditional costumes and conventional houses to get a glimpse of the desert lifestyle. Explore the varied range of flora and fauna of the desert. Relish the folk dances on the sand dunes displaying the rustic and royal culture of Rajasthan. This is followed by lip-smacking Rajasthani meals. Travel through the secluded sand dunes to sleep under the stars. Your trip to Pushkar is incomplete without the camel safari experience.
5. Folk Dance
You cannot think of Pushkar without its captivating Rajasthani folk dances. Enjoy an evening filled with rich exotic music and the skillful oscillating dance moves of the traditional dancers. You will be fascinated by the colorful dresses of the folk dancers and the musicians as well as their embellished musical instruments. Admire the circle rotations of the famous ‘Chakri’ dance and the enthusiastic ‘Walar’ dance. Be amazed by the skillful performance of the ‘Chari’ dance where women dance holding brass pots on their heads and a lighted lamp is placed in the pots. ‘Bhavai’ dance offers a thrilling experience where a proficient dancer balances around 8 to 9 pitchers on her head. The unique ‘Fire Dance’ involves various heart-stopping fire stunts with the accompaniment of drum beats. There are many more performances and each maintains an individuality of its own.
Pushkar offers a variety of cuisines and delicacies to satisfy your taste buds. The local Rajasthani street food is a treat to the food lovers. Relish the sumptuous panchmel dal with wheat and semolina baati dipped in clarified butter. Taste the mouthwatering Malpuas – the fried pancakes dipped in hot sugar syrup, delectable Rabri Jalebi and the famous camel milk lassi. Get a palatable spicy dose of onion and dal kachori, Aalo papri, Mirchi Wada, Gatta Curry and a lot more lip smacking flavors of Rajasthan. Also, savor the different puchka flavors from the local market that include mint, garlic and hing.
When in Pushkar, you simply cannot resist shopping. The colorful markets of the city are full of numerous shops selling a wide variety of authentic Rajasthani items. From the colorful beaded bangles, shimmering accessories, miniature paintings and handicraft items to the stunning God statues, huge vases, garments, amazing fabrics, authentic spices and intricately designed camel covers, these shops sell anything to tickle a traveler’s fancy. Since Pushkar is known as the ‘Rose Garden of Rajasthan’, the shops also sell various products made with the flower, such as, rose water, rose sharbat, dried rose petals, rose mouth fresheners, even rose perfumes, essential oils and ittar.
8. Pushkar Cattle Fair
The Pushkar fair or locally called the ‘Pushkar Mela’ is a five-day cattle fair held annually in Pushkar. The fair starts with a camel race on Kartik Ekadashi and ends on Kartik Poornima with a mass bathing in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake. The highlights of the fair include, livestock trading, camel races, traditional dances, longest moustache competition, bridal competition, puppet shows, snake charmers, acrobats, magic shows, cricket matches, Ferris Wheel rides and many more. The still air of Pushkar is filled with hot air balloons at dusk and dawn. The fair ground is flooded with pilgrims and tourists buying traditional items from the stalls. The Pushkar fair is believed to be attended by approximately 50,000 camels, 300,000 people (including tourists, pilgrims, sadhus and locals) and 33 million Gods. It gives you a glimpse of the rich culture and colorful traditions of Rajasthan.