On the edge of the desert lies the tiny tranquil town of Pushkar, along the bank of the picturesque Pushkar Lake, in a narrow dry valley, overshadowed by impressive rocky hills, which offer spectacular views of the desert at sunset. The lake is almost magically beautiful in the early morning or late evening light, is one of the most sacred lakes of India and an important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus.
The celebrated Pushkar fair transforms the quiet village to a colorful week of heightened activity. The Nag Pahar or the snake mountain forms a natural boundary between Ajmer and Pushkar.
The Lake has a mythological significance associated with it. According to myth, Lord Brahma was on his way to search for a suitable place to perform a Yagna (a fire sacrifice). While contemplating, a lotus fell from his hand on the earth and water sprouted from three places. One of them was Pushkar, where Lord Brahma performed his yagna.
The holy lake has 52 ghats and pilgrims taking a ritual dip in the lake are a common sight. Every year thousands of devotees throng the lake around the full moon day of Kartik Purnima in October-November, to take a holy dip in the lake. A huge and colorful cattle fair - the Pushkar fair, is also held during this time.
Dance, music and colorful shops spring up during this fair. Also on sale are mouth-watering traditional delicacies. Colorfully attired village folk, enhance the fun of the occasion. A host of cultural event, against the backdrop of this pretty setting is also organized, including attractive puppet shows. Cattle auction and camel races are also a part of the festivities.
There are a variety of eateries in Pushkar catering to all tastes and pockets. You can choose from Thai, Italian, Mexican and Mughlai cuisine. A lot of places have buffets that are popular and reasonable. Be sure to sample Malpuas, pancakes soaked in sugar syrup, which is the typical sweet of Pushkar.
Rose jam is another favourite and you could also pick up some high quality gulkand.
Pushkar is fast acquiring a reputation of being a novel shopper's paradise. A wide range of handicraft items displayed on the roadside stalls make the shopping irresistible. There is a bewildering array of souvenirs, curios and trinkets up for sale. The bazaars are lined with stalls and shops selling fabric, handicrafts, swords and daggers, leather goods, ivory, silver, semi precious stones, wood and sandalwood items, incense, oil, music, books and lots more. The bright stalls near the temple sell religious accessories like prayer beads and statuettes. The items are mainly low end and accordingly the prices are some of the best in the country. But you need to bargain hard to get the right prices. The main shopping areas are Hope Circus, Bajaj Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Malakhera Bazaar and Kedalganj Bazaar.
The well-known and marked with largest participation of all the festivals of Rajasthan, Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a mammoth cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlight of this event. Recommended.
Almost in the centre of Rajasthan, Pushkar is 135 km from Jaipur and 10 km from Ajmer, with the Aravalli Range on one side and the Thar Desert on the other.
Jaipur, the closest airport, is a three-hour drive (135 km) away. Regular IA and Jet flights connect Jaipur to Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta. During the fair, New Avenues, Jaipur, organises chartered flights to the airstrip at Kishangarh.
Ajmer is the nearest railhead. The super fast Shatabdi Express shuttles between Delhi and Ajmer every day except Sunday. Other trains reaching Ajmer are the Gujarat Mail, Jodhpur Mail and the Delhi Express.
Regular buses connect Pushkar to Ajmer. It takes about half an hour to cover the 14-km distance over the Nag Shikhar hills. Hire a car in Jaipur and drive down the 145 km to Pushkar in 3 hours. Both Hertz and Avis have branches in Jaipur.
Summer temperatures range between 38°C and 24°C, while in winters the range is between 15°C and 4°C. As it is close to the desert, mornings are pleasant but the evenings can turn chilly.
It is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Brahma. The temple is marked by a red spire and over the entrance gateway, is a beautiful statue of a Hans or goose - the celestial of Lord Brahma.
On the banks of Pushkar, is the magnificent palace, built by Raja Man Singh I of Amer. Now converted, into the RTDC Hotel Sarovar, it offers comfortable accommodation to the visitors.
A temple dedicated to the first wife of Lord Brahma - the Savitri temple is located on the hill, behind the Brahma Temple, which can be reached by a flight of steps. The temple offers a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding desertscape.