Pushkar is another of the nondescript townships in Rajasthan, which is one of the oldest surviving Hindu holy places.Pushkar is also referred to as Tirth Raj meaning thereby as King of all Tirths, it is also referred to as the Adi Tirth also.The literal meaning of this Hindi word Tirthmeans place of pilgrimage and word Adi means ancient and this adjective is well meaning, as the origin of Pushkar is associated with Lord Bramha and dates of its actual founding is unknown.However, existence of Pushkar as a Tirth can be traced to the ancient holy Hindu scriptures of both Mahabharata and Ramyana.Whereas, in the Mahabharata the place finds reference in context with the King Yudhistirs travels wherein he is to take bath in the holy pond, in Ramayana this place finds reference in context with Vishwamitras penance at this place as also to that of Apsara Menakas having bathed in this holy pond.In another ancient Hindu scripture of Vamhana Purana it is stated that Bhakt Pralhada visited the holy place calledPushkaranya or Pushkar forest.The description found in Mahabharata regarding the existence of dense forest in the area corroborates the earlier description in this Purana.Pushkar, thus has been in existence since time immemorial.
View of Ajmer township from hills around Pushkar
Pushkar is situated about 14 Kms. from Ajmer and a large number of local taxis, shared taxis and busses ply from Ajmer for Pushkar.Ajmer is also well connected by train from all around, particularly from New Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur & Mount Abu.The distance from New Delhi is around 394 Kms. and there are a large number of regular as well as express trains forAjmer from Delhi and the journey takes about an average of 8 hours or less in express trains like Shatabdi.There are also regular bus services available from Delhi run by the government owned Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation in Luxury category & Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation Ltd. running ordinary busses.Apart from the government run bus services, there are a large number of private operators who offer quality services like Srinath Travels & Parsavanth Travels etc.The road being of very good quality, the journey time varies to around 9 hours run on an average by road.There are a variety of places to stay at Ajmer that suits every pocket and in the government run sector, Hotel Khadim is good.With the tourist influx into Pushkar in recent past, the hotel sector has improved tremendously in the Puskar itself.However, one has to have advance booking (made well in advance) in case you want to visit Pushkar during the peak tourist season i.e. from October to February, especially so during the famed Pushkar Fair, which is held during end October & early November.Initially, this fair was meant for trading cattle by villagers from around Rajasthan, but with the advent of tourist influx into the area, it has now taken shape of a full blown tourist extravaganza coupled with this age old tradition.The details of places to stay etc. can be viewed atwww.ajmer.nic.in/pushkar/.
Many ghats around the holy Pushkar pond
Mythologically, the origin of Pushkar is attributed to Lord Bramha, who is considered to be the creator of this world as per Hindu mythology.The only temple dedicated to Lord Bramha in the whole world exists at Pushkar (meaning born due to flower) and dates back to the 14thCentury.As regards the creation of Pushkar there are many anecdotes associated but there are two main ones (i) That when the demon Vajra Nabha killed Brahma's children, he in turn struck him with his weapon which is a lotus flower. Vajra Nabha died upon impact and the petals of the lotus fell at three places. One of them is Pushkar, where a lake sprung into being. Brahma is supposed to have performed sacrifice at this lake on Kartik Purnima (the full moon day of the Kartik month), hallowing the place; (ii) It is said that gods released a swan with lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth, where Lord Brahma would perform a grand yagya. The place where lotus fell was so called Pushkar.As per Hindu beliefs a dip in the waters of Pushkar and worship at his temple ensures salvation and the sins of those pilgrims is washed away by hold pond water. So thousands flock to Pushkar, to observe the ritual on kartik Purnima or on any of the four days preceding it.The mystical water is also believed to cure skin diseases, making Pushkar the Lourdes of the East.
View across Pushkar pond
Pushkar is one of the five dhams of Hindu beliefs and boasts of 5 (Five) principle temples namely Bramha Temple, Savitri Temple, Varah Temple, Mahadeva Temple and Ramavaikunth Temple along with many small temples sprinkled all around and there are also 52 small & bigghats (place of taking bath) dotting the holy pond all around.Photography is strictly prohibited inside most of the temple precincts and photographing bathing public is also not advisable. TheBramhaTemple stands on a high plinth with the Marble steps leading up to it. A silver turtle is set on the floor facing the Sanctum-Sanctorum. Around the turtle the Marble floor is inset with hundreds of silver coins much of which is worn out and year etc. not legible. Coins engraved with donors names are also embedded in the walls. Peacocks adorn the temple walls as they are supposed to be the vehicle of lord Brahma's consort Saraswati. A small image of the milkmaid Gayatri, flanks the four-faced image of lord Brahma and is called Chaumurti The sanctuary has silver doors inside a carved marble gateway.Savitri temple is situated on a hill top and can be accessed by foot which is about an hours walk from the main Pushkar township.According to another legend, sage Parasara is said to have been born here. His descendants, called Parasara Bramhins are the historical custodians of the famedJeenmataTemple and have been looking after upkeep of this temple over the last 1000 years.These traditional Parasara and Pushkarna Bramhins perform the traditional Puja at the temples & ghats around here and some of them carry fancy names like Baba1008 etc.
Savitri Temple atop the hill - view from across the Pushkar pond