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Pushkar

General Information
Pushkar Lord Brahma, it is said, did not rest after creating the world and its inhabitants. He set out to perform a yagna for peace, but a celestial yagna such as this needed a apecial location. The Padma Purana says that Brahma went to Lord Vishnu with the problem. Vishnu dropped a lotus on earth, and due to its impact, the water of pushkar (pushpa means flower, kar means hand) lake sprang forth.

Tiny Pushkar is a major pilgrimage center. Devout Hindus are expected to dip in the waters here at least once in their lifetime, and for many, this is the final stop on a tour of India's sacred sites. A staggering number of devotees converge upon Pushkar during the full moon of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika (Oct. - Nov.), which coincides with the world famous Pushkar oont mela (camel fair). During the fair, the largest of its kind in the world, the tiny town is transformed into a swarming beehive of activity- don't miss it Pushkar's sacred lake is considered to be primordial. The three main temple in town- of Brahma, of Vishnu as Varaha, and of Shiva as Apteshwar-are said to date the 10th century though no such antiquity seems evident now. The temple have been remade, painted over and added to. The Brahma temple in its present form dates to 1809, while the Varaha idol is said to date to 1727. The Savitri temple structure dates to the 17th century.

The most interesting building in Pushkar is the old Rangji Temple, dating to 1844 (not to be confused with the recently built Rangi temple) constructed by a tamil Vaishnava sect, it showcases a mix of tamil temple features such as gopurams hand in hand with typically rajasthani chhatris (cenotaphs) Given its sacred atmosphere, picturesque surroundings, and mela induced fame, Pushkar was powerless to escape its fate as a backpacker Mecca. The main street - a jumble of internet cafes shops, and rooftop restaurants - feels more like a traveler's fantasyland than India. Venture out of the bazaar to the other side of the lake or up into the surrounding hills and you will discover the magic that drew people to Pushkar in the first place.

Like Goa or Dharamshala, Pushkar is one of those travellers' centres where people go for a little rest and recuperation from the hardships of life on the Indian road. It's a delightful little village, only 11 km from Ajmer but separated from it by Nag Pahar, the ‘Snake mountain' and right on the edge of the beautiful Pushkar Lake with many bathing ghats, for Pushkar is also an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus. It's a really nice, laid back place but in October-November each year it comes alive with the huge Pushkar Cattle Fair.

How to reach Pushkar
By Road: A dense network of bus service operates from Ajmer to key destinations around. Distances from important tourist centres are: -
  • Jaipur: 138 kms. (86 miles).
  • Delhi: 392 kms. (244 miles).
  • Ahmedabad: 526 kms. (327 miles).
  • Jaisalmer: 490 kms. (304 miles).
  • Bikaner: 233 kms. (145 miles).
By Rail: Ajmer is connected to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Abu Road and Jodhpur by regular trains. Two of the best trains of the Indian Railways, Pink City Express and Shatabdi Express connect Ajmer to Delhi and Jaipur.

By Air: Jaipur, the nearest airport is 138 kms. (86 miles).

Weather Overview
Climate of Pushkar is of an extreme desert type. Pushkar weather witnesses wide differences in the day and night temperatures. In the summer time, the days are hot, with the blazing with its full strength. The nighttime is a complete contrast. The nights in Pushkar are pretty cold, even in summers. The average temperature in the summers ranges from 45° C (max) to 25° C (min), approximately. The climatic conditions of Pushkar, Rajasthan in the winter season are quite pleasant. The average temperature in winters ranges around 10° C, approximately. Rainfall in this city is very little. The best time to visit Pushkar is during the period of September to March.

Places of Interest
Brahma Temple
Brahma Temple It is said that Lord Brahma's lotus flower fell in three separate places in the Pushkar area, and that water came from the ground at each place. The three places are located within a radius of six miles. Senior Pushkar, where the hotels are located, is considered the most holy, because the lotus fell here first. Middle Pushkar is 3km down the road and has a small Hanuman temple and a 200-year-old banyan tree. New (Junior) Pushkar, 3km further north, has a small Krishna temple. As Brahma threw the pushpa (flower) with his kar (hand), so the place received the name Pushkar.

In the Mahabharata it is said concerning Pushkar: "The holy place of Lord Vishnu, Pushkar-tirtha, renowned in the three worlds, is situated on this earth. Fortunate souls can enter that place. O son of the Kuru dynasty, at Pushkar-tirtha billions of tirthas (holy places) gather at daybreak and sunset. Simply taking a bath at Pushkar-tirtha destroys sins of both men and women, including the sin that caused their birth. As Madhusudana (Krishna) is the original God, so Pushkar is the original tirtha."

Brahma wanted to perform a yajna (sacrifice) on the full moon day in Kartika (Oct/Nov), and he was in search of a suitable place to perform the yajna. The lotus from his hand fell down, rebounded, and fell at three places, from where water sprang. Thus Brahma decided to perform the yajna at Pushkar. The yajna, however, could not be performed without his wife, Savitri, by his side, and she was late. Brahma therefore had to request Indra to arrange a marriage for him so that he could fulfill the religious obligations. The priest manifested a daughter called Gayatri. Because she was an untouchable, she was put into the mouth of a cow and removed from the other end, which totally purified her. Gaya means "cow" and tri means "passed through." When Savitri arrived, she saw that Brahma had married without her permission, so she cursed him that he would be worshiped only at Pushkar. Enraged, Savitri went and established a temple on top of Rathkagir, the hill a little south of Pushkar. It is said to be due to Savitri's curse that Brahma is worshiped almost exclusively at Pushkar.

Pushkar Lake
Pushkar Lake The pious Pushkar Lake, believed to have been created by the falling of lotus from the hand of Lord Brahma. It is considered to be as old as the creation. The lake is considered as one of the most sacred spots, and believed that one dip in the waters of lake on Kartika Poornima is equivalent to performing yagnas for several hundred years. It is surrounded by hills on three sides and desert on the other side. The cave of Saint Agasthya was located on the snake mountain here. There is one belief that Kalidasa, the Indian counterpart of Shakespeare, had this place as his locale for his Sanskrit drama, Shakuntalam.

According to a legend, the lake was formed when Lord Brahma wanted to perform a yagna here. Prominent among the ghats are Gau Ghat, Brahma Ghat and Varah Ghat. Also called Main Ghat, Gau Ghat is the place from which ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were sprinkled into the lake. Brahma Ghat is believed to be the spot where Brahma himself is said to have worshipped. The Varah Ghat is famed to be the place where Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu Trinity, appeared in the form of Varaha (a boar), third in the line of his nine incarnations. It is advisable for the visitors, who travel to the Pushkar lake, not to take photos and to remove their shoes before going to the ghats.

Gayatri & Savitri Temple
The temple is dedicated to Savitri, the wife of Lord Brahma and located on the top of the Ratnagiri Hill. According to the legends when Lord Brahma performed a Yagna (holy fire devoted to gods) along with Gayatri, a local milkmaid, furious Savitri cursed her husband that he would never be worshipped anywhere except in Pushkar and that too only once a year. Savitri left for the Ratnagiri Hill after cursing her husband and immolated herself there. There is beautiful statue of Goddess Savitri inside the temple.

Pushkar Fair
Pushkar Fair The most important reason of Pushkar being on the international travel map is Pushkar Fair. The fair is held every year in the month of November during the Kartik Purnima (day of full moon) when hundreds of thousands of people take a holy dip in the sacred Pushkar Lake. This is also an occasion to organize the largest camel fair in the world.



Shopping
Shopping Apart from being a revered pilgrimage place, Pushkar is also recognized as a major well of souvenirs in the state of Rajasthan. This Pushkar Shopping guide provides you all the information regarding the shopping places and famous shopping items of the city. The popular shopping items of Pushkar, available in the local bazaars, include:
  • Textiles
  • Jewelry
  • Leather goods
  • Pottery
  • Embroidered Clothes
  • Puppets
A popular Pushkar shopping destination is the Pushkar fair. The fair is an ideal venue to shop for items such as embroidered clothes, bangles, leather goods, beads, camel cover, etc. The other main shopping places in Pushkar, Rajasthan are:
  • Sarafa Bazar
  • Baza Bazar
  • Kedalganj bazaar
Eating Out
Eating Out Catering to so many tourists, eating out in Pushkar is cheap. 'The Halwai-ki-gali', by the Gau Ghat offers variety of Indian snacks. As other places in Rajasthan, Dal-Baati-Churma is the staple food and perhaps the favorite Rajasthani food. Look for the restaurant RS across the Brahma Temple.

Pushkar Palace offers great buffet lunches.
Venus Restaurant at hotel Venus has a rooftop restaurant that offers multi-cosine. The other favored places are Moon dance, offering Indian, Mexican, Italian and Thai, Sai Baba Cafe near Gau Ghat and Sunset Cafe at Kishangarh Ghat.
Hotel Sarovar , like most of the Hotels also has a restaurant. This is the fanciest it gets here, which is still very cheap in price.

Night Life
Consuming meat and alcohol is strictly prohibited within 5 Kms of the city limits. However you will find some way or the other to entertain yourself and mix with other tourists and explore things to do. Nightlife in Pushkar can be full of surprises. However watching Pushkar sunset from the Ghats is a beautiful experience. The Kishangarh Ghat with the Sunset café behind can be a great spot to experience the changing colors of sunset. If you have a room with a view , the view of the Ghats in lights can be an extended experience for you.

Emergency numbers of Pushkar
The list of useful Pushkar help lines are given below:

Emergency Numbers:
  • Fire- 101
  • Police - 100
  • Crime Police - 1090
  • Ambulance - 102
Tourists Information
  • Tourist Information Bureau - 315714
  • Tourist Information - 1364
  • RTDC Sight seeing - 371648
General Telephone Numbers
  • Indian Airlines - 140
  • Railway Enquiries- 131
  • Hindi Services- 177
  • Tel. Directory- 197
Call these Pushkar help lines and the emergency numbers of Pushkar and be sure they will reach out to you in anyplace and anytime with there services.
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