As goes the saying: Paying obeisance at Teerth Raj Pushkar in Rajasthan, India is equivalent to paying obeisance at chaar dham!
I was lucky to accomplish my chaar dham yatra by visiting Pushkar in January 2020, when I visited Jaipur for Literature Fest.
After finishing our Jaipur Lit Fest activities, Aarti, my cousin planned a trip to Ajmer, where our bade chacha lives. I was quite excited to meet him and my younger Chachi who live in Ajmer and I had not met them for years. En route Ajmer was the holy town of Pushkar, and I expressed my desire to visit Pushkar. My wish was granted and Mohit drove us ladies to Pushkar. I was very happy to be in Pushkar, which I had visited with my father some decades ago. Reliving those memories!
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.
I didn’t have vivid memories of Pushkar so it was like being there for the first time. The experience was simply divine to Brahma Ji temple (only temple in India). I must admit that the market leading to the temple is to die for. You can shop so many curious, traditional dresses, handicrafts, pooja samagri and what to say of eating joints there servicing hot crunchy maal puas and rasgoolas!
The pilgrimage is loved and respected equally by foreigners and Indians, which was quite evident there. A number of steps lead to Brahmaji temple which is engraved in silver with gold stambh in the centre of its verandah.
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 ancient warrior’s boots. The feeling was simply divine.
After Brahma temple, we moved towards Pushkar Lake where people were performing religious rites but I was surprised to note that there was no concept of hygiene or cleanliness. It was quite an unpleasant sight, otherwise, it is so scenic which can’t be described in words, surrounded by mountains from all sides. Rajasthan Tourism needs to take up the initiative of cleaning the place on the lines of Namami Gange Program of Government of India. It is truly the need of an hour!
I also visited Pracheentum Hanuman Mandir there, followed by a sumptuous meal of Poori, Aloo Sabzi and Maal Puas at a typical bhojnalaya. I must admit that Pushkar visit is quite a walk and if your legs are strong enough then only you can see it in totality. Mine are of course not, still, they behaved.
Pushkar is well connected to the national highways of Rajasthan. Regular buses ply from Pushkar to the major Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is the nearest at a distance of 146 kilometres.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 14 kilometres.
If you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, Pushkar visit should top your itinerary!