Where the Brahma temple and lake lie: Pushkar, Rajasthan
Situated 14 kilometres from Ajmer in the northern state of Rajasthan is Pushkar. One of the oldest existing cities in India, the actual time of origin of Pushkar is unknon. The town is well known for its temples and ghats. The Pushkar Lake which is believed to be sacred for the Hindus is surrounded by innumerable temples and 52 ghats with the most famous temple in the area being the Brahma Temple. There are very few Brahma Temples in the world, the one in in Pushkar was built in the 14th century CE.
It is believed that the Lake was created by Lord Brahma for his yagna (prayers). The word Pushkar means a blue lotus in Sanskrit. The Brahma temple and the lake are the main attractions in the town along with many other temples along the ghats.
The Pushkar Mela that happens once every year and attracts a number of tourists from all around the world considering it is the biggest cattle festival. Here there are different contests and shows conducted such as the moustache completion, turban tying competitions, and cattle races, dance shows, etc. During this time of the year the local market is filled with vendors and tourists, one can find everything including food, handicrafts, clothes, etc.
Pushkar is very rich in culture and hence one will find locals in their traditional attire with men in turbans and long moustaches and women colourfully dressed with different types of ornaments.
The locals mostly belong to the Marwari sect and the local language is known as Marwari. Being an important religious centre for Hindus, pilgrims flock to this holy town all year round.
The easiest way to reach Pushkar is from Ajmer. The nearest railway station is the Ajmer Railway Junction which is about 15 kilometres away. The nearest airport is Jaipur at a distance of 136 kilometres. There are plenty of buses available from Ajmer to Pushkar and are frequent, on an hourly basis. The best way to commute around the town is on foot.
Accommodation in Pushkar is rather simple with basic needs being met. There are only a handful of fancy accommodations available, although one can find pretty decent guest houses and lodges all around the town.
Since Pushkar is a holy city, the sale of alcohol is strictly prohibited but many cafes and restaurants sell beer in an earthen pot off the menu. This is a big hit with western travellers who are more fascinated than anything else with the service provided to them.
The town of Pushkar is paradise for shoppers. Every street of this small town will offer something to consider buying from hand made leather diary’s to Rajasthan camel T-shirts’s and even shops selling glow in the dark hand painted T-shirts. Nearly all the shops sell chillums, bongs and cigarette paper. Since herbs are not very hard to find in this holy town.
The best time to visit Pushkar is during the winter months from September to February. The tourist population is at its peak during the month of November and at the time of the mela.
Pushkar is a must visit place not only for the religious kind but also one for a backpacker who wants to experience the culture of India first hand and also spend some time chilling with the Sadus and locals.
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