If Rajasthan is synonymous with forts and palaces, it is also synonymous with fairs and festivals. Few things can match the effervescence, vigor and brightness of traditional fair like the world famous Pushkar. The picturesque lake of Pushkar is surrounded by hills on three sides and sand dunes on the fourth-a perfect site for the annual religious and cattle fair, held in the month of October-November.
Pushkar is a sacred place for Hindus and has a staggering 400 temples, of which the most important is dedicated to Lord Brahma. According to legend, for five days in a year, all the gods visit Pushkar and bless the devout-hence the unbelievable number of devotees who flock to the lake to wash away their sins. These five crucial days also coincide with the biggest cattle fair of the country. Virtual armies of camels, cleaned, washed, and adorned, descend on Pushkar and villagers do brisk business. A visit to the Pushkar fair is truly the experience of a lifetime.
The most important reason of Pushkar being on the international travel map is Pushkar Fair. The fair is held every year in the month of November during the Kartik Purnima (day of full moon) when hundreds of thousands of people take a holy dip in the sacred Pushkar Lake. This is also an occasion to organize the largest camel fair in the world.
Brahma Temple in Pushkar
This is the only temple in the world where Lord Brahma is worshiped and the main attraction of Pushkar. The temple has a special position in Hindu pantheons. There is life-size four-armed idol of Lord Brahma - the creator in the vestibule. The temple has marble floors and stairs and coins have been put by the devotees to mark the birth or deaths of the loved ones.
Pushkar Lake is another important attraction of Pushkar and it has immense significance for the followers of Hinduism. According to the legends, the lake was dedicated to Lord Brahma after a lotus fell from his hands and dropped into this picturesque valley. A lake sprang up on the same spot latter on which is considered holy. The entire lake is supposed to be surrounded by 500 temples, 52 palaces, and 52 ghats. On the occasion of Kartik Purnima in November every year, devotees take holy bath in the lake and a fair is organized, known world over as the Pushkar Fair.
Savitri Temple, Pushkar
The temple is dedicated to Savitri, the wife of Lord Brahma and located on the top of the Ratnagiri Hill. According to the legends when Lord Brahma performed a Yagna (holy fire devoted to gods) along with Gayatri, a local milkmaid, furious Savitri cursed her husband that he would never be worshipped anywhere except in Pushkar and that too only once a year. Savitri left for the Ratnagiri Hill after cursing her husband and immolated herself there. There is beautiful statue of Goddess Savitri inside the temple.
Other Important Temples of Pushkar
Other important temples in Pushkar are 19th century Mahadeva Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva - The Destroyer, with five faces. It is known for the elegance of its structure and ornamentation. Rangaji Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu - the preserver and built in the South Indian architectural style. There are two massive dwarpals (gatekeepers) structure in front of the main gate and an image of Garuda inside. Another important temple is of Varaha - an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and built in 12th century.
A bustling bazaar, the Pushkar local market offers tourist as well pilgrimage related products. A range of souvenirs could be purchased including the Rajasthani costumes, jewellery, embroidered fabrics, decorative pieces and groovy accessories. The bazaar becomes a hub of activity during the annual Pushkar Fair.