Pushkar is a sacred town for the Hindus, situated 11 kms. to the North-West of Ajmer. The charm of this sleepy, lakeside settlement so captivated the great Indian poet, Kalidas,that it found a place in his classic, Abhigyan Sakuntalam. The Great Hindu epics of Mahabharat and Ramayana make references to this religious place regarded to be Adi Tiratha. Evidence points to its having existed during the fourth century B.C. lake in the inhospitable surroundings of a desert is no less than a miracle.
The legend about the Creator God, Bramha describes the creation of this lake. When the demon Vajra Nabha killed Brahma's children, he in turn struck him with his weapon, a lotus flower. Vajra Nabha died with the 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. Sacred to Brahma, Pushkar boasts of its temple dedicated to him, which is the only one of its kind in the world. A dip in the waters of Pushkar and worship at his temple ensure salvation. So thousands flock to Pushkar to observe the ritual on kartik Purnima, or on any of the four days preceding it.
Pushkar boasts temples, though few are as ancient as you might expect at such an important pilgrimage site, since many were destroyed by Aurangzeb, a Mogul ruler and subsequently rebuilt. The most famous is the Brahma Temple, said to be the only temple in the world dedicated to this deity. It 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 or Girbha-griha. Around the turtle the Marble floor is inset with hundreds of silver coins. 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.
The one-hour trek up to the hilltop Savitri Temple overlooking the lake is best made early in the morning; the view is magical.
Originally built in the 12th century, Varah Temple was, like many others, destroyed by the bigoted Emperor Aurangzeb (who, it is said , was particularly upset by the huge idol here of Varah, the god with the body of a man and the head of the boar.) Reconstructed BY Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1727, the temple has an interesting and richly ornamented image house.
A Beautiful temple built in the 19th century, it was described by a British traveler of the time as "by far the most remarkable, for the elegance of its structure and the nature of its ornaments, of all the temples Pushkar boasts of." It is also noteworthy for its white marble Mahadeva image, with its five faces (and its traditional tufts of hair).
One of Pushkar's largest and most intricate temples, the Ramavaikunth Temple was built in the 1920's and has beautifully sculpted images of no less than 361 different deities. The ornate outer gopuram over the entrance is said to have been built by a team of masons specially brought here from south India.
Lake and its many Ghats:
Many Ghats run down to the Holy Lake where pilgrims are
constantly bathing in the holy waters. Joining people at the ghats has to be with some respect for their culture and privacy. And for this reason, removing shoes before
approaching the ghats, no smoking and restraining from photographing bathing people is
well avoided. The Pilgrims here are sensitive about comments by non-Hindus. The famed waters of the Pushkar lake wash away the sins of a lifetime.
The mystical water is also believed to cure skin diseases, making Pushkar the Lourdes of the East.