Essential Guide to India’s surreal Pushkar

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The tranquil city of Pushkar is a favored tourist destination for its fairs, festivities, and mythology. I had read about Puskar some time back but had made no specific plans for visiting it. During one of our trips to Ajmer Sharif, my husband and I decided to visit Pushkar.

Pushkar looks like any other small town in Rajasthan.

So why visit Pushkar?

Pushkar is famous for its Brahma temple. Due to this temple and Pushkar Lake, Pushkar holds the status of a very holy place among Hindus. It is believed that this temple is 2000 years old but the current structure of the temple was built in the 14th century.

Pushkar has also become famous for the annual Camel Fair or Pushkar Fair which attracts thousands of tourists from different places.

Pushkar is famous for its Brahma temple. It is believed that this temple is 2000 years old but the current structure of the temple was built in the 14th century. Pushkar has also become famous for the annual Camel Fair or Pushkar Fair which attracts thousands of tourists from different places. Click to read when to visit Pushkar and MORE #pushkar #pushkarcamelfair #pushkarindia #pushkarmela #pushkarlake #pushkarmarket #pushkarthingstodo #indiatravel #indiatravelplaces #indiatraveltips

What is the best time to visit Pushkar?

October to March (Winter) is the best time to visit Pushkar when the weather is pleasant. Temperature ranges from 8 to 22 degrees Celsius during this time. This allows travelers to enjoy visiting various places without getting scorched in the sun. It is better to avoid visiting Pushkar during these seasons.

If you are planning to visit Pushkar, keep in mind that the Pushkar fair is a week-long festival held in the month of Kartik (Hindu calender) which falls somewhere in late October or early November.

We visited Puskar in February when the days were warm and sunny. We had the whole day to explore the market and temples. Evenings were pleasantly cool. It gets cold during the night so it is advisable to carry light woolens if you plan to visit during winter. During summer (April to July) and monsoon (August and September), days are hot and humid with the temperature soaring up to 45 degrees Celsius.

Places to visit in Pushkar

Temples

There are at least a few hundred temples in Pushkar in addition to the very famous Brahma Temple.

Savitri Temple, Varaha Temple, Rangji Temple, Mahadev Temple, Raghunath Temple, Ramavaikunth Temple are a few to be named.

You can visit a new temple every day if you plan to stay for months.

Travel Tip: The best time to visit temples would be early morning or evening. Evening aarti on the ghats is an experience definitely not to be missed. Aarti timings may vary according to the season so it’s better to check beforehand.

Pushkar Lake

Spend an evening watching the sunset by the lakeside or watch the sun rising on the lake if you are a morning person.

This is a great way to spend some time away from the chaos and fast-paced life that we often forget to leave behind even while vacationing. You can even choose this time as a period of digital detox.

Listen to the birds, sounds of bells or aarti from the temples, or some music being played in a restaurant nearby.

Be present with yourself. When I sat silently on the stairs of the Ghat one late evening, time stopped for me or perhaps it was moving but at a very slow pace. This is the magic of Pushkar.

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Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)

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There is a famous Gurudwara in Pushkar called ‘Singh Sabha Gurudwara. It is believed that the first and the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh had spent some time in Pushkar.

Gobind Ghat on Pushkar Lake is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh.

Hike to Savitri temple

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Travelers seeking some adventure in Pushkar like to go for a hike to Savitri temple.

This temple is dedicated to Brahma’s wife, Savitri. It is perched on a hilltop providing an amazing view of Pushkar from the top. It is a good place for photography.

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Restaurant hopping

As Rooftop restaurant has become quite a common thing these days, especially in Rajasthan, Pushkar is no exception to it.

Though non-veg food and alcohol are prohibited in Pushkar, there are enough options to satisfy your taste buds.

You would find many cafes, stalls, restaurants offering Indian, continental and Israeli food. I tried an Israeli meal comprising of Falafel, hummus and Pita bread.

I had the best Malpua of my life in Pushkar and even got some packed to take away.

Pushkar Yoga Garden

It would be surprising not to have something to do with Yoga in a place that has a lot of foreign tourists and a big spiritual connection.

There is a center that provides Yoga classes in a traditional Indian way.

Pushkar Yoga Garden offers Yoga and Meditation retreats and courses of various duration that one can choose as per convenience.

Meerabai Temple and Museum in Merta

Merta is located at a distance of around 63 km from Pushkar. It can by reached by bus or cab. It was the birthplace of Meerabai who is famous for her devotion and love towards Lord Krishna.

Nearby, there is a Museum dedicated to Meerabai that displays her life through paintings and verses from her bhajans. This Museum is constructed in the palace which used to be her home where she was brought up.

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Why is Pushkar holy?

Legend has it that petals of a lotus flower fell from the hands of Brahma (the ‘creator’ according to the Hindu religion), the place where it landed, emerged the Pushkar Lake. Pushkar is also home to the most famous Brahma temple. Existence of this lake and this temple made Pushkar a holy place.

Why is Brahma temple only in Pushkar

There are very few temples dedicated to Brahma and the one in Pushkar is the most prominent and famous.

There is an interesting mythological tale behind this. Brahma was looking for a place to perform Yagna but the inhabitants of the where the Yagna was to be performed were being harassed and killed by a demon named Vajranabh (Vajransh).

He used his weapon, the lotus flower to kill the demon.

Petals of this flower fell down on the ground and created lakes in Pushkar.

While performing this Yagna, Brahma needed his wife to be present with him but she failed to arrive timely. Yagna had to be performed anyway. So a Gurjar girl named Gayatri was found and got married to Brahma.

Together they completed the rites of the Yajna. When Brahma’s wife, Savitri arrived and came to know about what had happened, she got very angry and cursed Brahma that he would not be worshiped anywhere else but Pushkar.

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Why do Hindus not worship the creator as Christians or Muslims do?

There is an interesting mythological tale behind this. Below is an extract of interpretation by Devdutt Pattanaik.

In the beginning, Brahma was all alone. He could not see whence he came from. Who was he, he wondered. Finding no answer, he decided that the best way to know who he was, he had to know who he was not.

So he created the ‘other’.

This ‘other’ took the form of a woman.

She was Shatarupa, one of many forms.

Brahma got infatuated with her and kept following her.

She tried to escape and hide so Brahma grew five heads, one for each direction and one at the top.

Shiva got angered with this unacceptable and immoral behavior of Brahma, considering that Brahma himself was the creator or father of Shatrupa.

Enraged, Shiva cut off Brahma’s fifth head.

Creation began because Brahma wanted to know who he was. But when the world was created, Brahma was so enchanted by this creation that he got attached to it and tried to control it.

In his attachment and desire to control it, he lost all sense of himself. And by doing so became unworthy of worship.

  • Thus creation is seen as that which is produced through desire and attachment.
  • Destruction is that which follows desire-less-ness and detachment. Lord Shiva is indifferent to the charms of Shatarupa.
  • Lord Vishnu stands in between. Not as indifferent as Shiva to Shatarupa, who embodies the material world, but not as attached to her as Brahma. He engages with her but with detachment.

Thus, Shiva and Vishnu are appropriate responses to the problem that is life.

Shiva and Vishnu represent how one should live life – engagement with detachment. This is the Hindu ideal and this makes Shiva and Vishnu worthy of worship. But not Brahma {Source}.

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Is it safe to travel Pushkar?

Pushkar is a small town and it easy to move around. It is very safe as far as security is concerned. Along with the people running businesses here, locals are very friendly and welcoming towards the visitors. The thing that one needs to be cautious of is – scams.

As there are a large number of foreign tourists who continue to stay in Pushkar for a long time irrespective of off-season or not, it has become a major source of income for the locals.

  • While in Pushkar, especially near the lake and ghats, don’t accept anything from strangers or people appearing to be priests, guides, etc.
  • They would put a Teeka (red powder mark) on your head, tie a red thread on your wrist, offer you a flower and ask you to perform a Pooja ( ritual) for your ancestors and then, in the end, would demand a hefty amount from you.
  • Unless you actually want to do all this, ignore people approaching you saying similar things and walk away.
  • In case you get involved in this, you are not under any obligation to pay as much as they demand. If it seems too much to you, then it probably is. Be stern and adamant.
  • You can sit or walk around lake freely (barefoot) without offering anyone anything.

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How can I reach Pushkar?

Many trains run from Jaipur to Ajmer taking around 3 hours for the journey. The safest and most economical way to reach Pushkar is to take a train from Jaipur to Ajmer. Then take a local bus from Ajmer to Pushkar.

  • Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is the nearest at a distance of 146 kilometers.
  • 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 14 kilometers.

What should I buy in Pushkar?

There is a lot to buy in Pushkar. The street markets and shops here are flooded with beautiful cloths wall hangings, junk jewelry, silver jewelry, leather stuff, embroidered handbags, handmade paper, wall hangings, rose products, trinkets and many other handicrafts.

Even if you are not interested in purchasing anything, you should visit the markets of Pushkar just for its buzz, colors, and variety of things that they offer at great prices. If you like shopping, it would be very difficult for you to resist but you must know how to bargain. Initially, the shopkeepers ask for a price that is a way too higher than the actual price for the product. Keep bargaining until you arrive at a reasonable price.

A number of fairs and festivals are held in Rajasthan throughout the year at different places. These fairs and festivals attract a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.

So, if you are wondering, which annual fair is famous for camel trading? It is the Camel festival of Pushkar where along with camel and cattle trading, a lot of other interesting events and activities are organized.

Pushkar Fair dates for 2019,2020

Pushkar fair is a week-long festival held in the month of Kartik (Hindu calender) which falls somewhere in late October or early November.

  • For the year 2019, the Pushkar Camel Festival would be held between 4th November to 12th November 2019.
  • For the year 2020, the dates for this festival are 22nd November to 30th November.

Why is the Pushkar Camel Fair celebrated?

Pushkar Camel Fair is celebrated mainly for animal trading. It has become a very famous tourist attraction of Pushkar now. People come from distant places for animal trading, camel shows, rides, folk dances, games, competitions and many such things that make this event more interesting.

You get a chance to experience all the flavors of Rajasthan in one place.

There are local artisans selling handicrafts and you may indulge in local cuisine. Camels and other animals are washed and adorned with colorful tassels and braids for competition. Experience staying in the tents and luxury camps

Luxury Stay Options

Pratap Mahal- IHCL SeleQtions

If you want to experience royalty in the small town of Pushkar, Pratap Mahal is the right pick for you. It is located at a distance of 6.2 miles from Pushkar Lake. Starting from the location, architecture, ambiance, everything about this palace exudes luxury. Rooms are furnished in traditional Rajasthani style but are equipped with all the modern amenities.

Click here for more reviews, latest price, and availability.

Budget Stay Options

Inn Seventh Heaven

Very artistically decorated place where every corner looks like a piece of art. There are hints of pastels and bright colors on stark white background adding to the beauty of this place. The rooftop restaurant, open spaces, terrace, there are many places to unwind and relax. It is a traditional Rajasthani haveli with open space at the center and a lot of plants and vines.

Click here for more reviews, latest price, and availability.

Hostel Stay Options

Hostelavie is a great place for backpackers and travelers who like meeting like-minded people during their travels. The hostel is located in Choti Basti Pushkar at a distance of 6.2 miles from Ana Sagar Lake and 8.1 miles from Ajmer Sharif. It has spacious dormitories, common area, and a huge backyard.

Click here for more reviews, latest price, and availability.

I hope this information helps you in planning your Pushkar trip well. I remember when I had visited Pushkar, it felt like any other small town of India.

What took me by surprise was that many shops had display boards written in Hebrew. I didn’t know till then that many Israeli people stay at Pushkar for a long time and are frequent visitors.

I was curious about this Israeli connection.

A local filled me in with some dope!

In Israel, young men and women have to serve compulsorily in the military for a few years. After spending this time in a strict atmosphere and discipline, they seek some freedom and relaxation. India offers a plethora of diverse experiences at a very cheap price.

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