Pushkar – Oldest Cities In India
Pushkar is a small city located in the State of Rajasthan and is considered to be one of the oldest cities in India. The place has almost four hundred temples and fifty two Ghats (Holy Lakes) that make this city a place of great religious importance. There are many things about Pushkar that make it one of the must-see places in India; especially if you are inclined towards religion and religious architecture. This is one of the few places in world where Brahma temples can be found, making it an important religious tourist attraction.
The nearest airport is in the city of Jaipur which is well connected to all the major cities in India. Pushkar is around six miles from the Ajmer Bus stand and is accessible by road from all the major cities in Rajasthan as well as from other parts of India. It takes about three hours from Jaipur to reach Pushkar and the roads are really good. Journey by road is the simplest and the cheapest way to reach Pushkar from Jaipur. The town is also connected to all the major cities in India and there are daily trains from Delhi every morning. However you may need to book the tickets well in advance if you are planning to travel in an air-conditioned coach.
Places To Visit
There are numerous temples and holy lakes that can be visited and moreover the place is also famous for the annual Pushkar fair that is held here. Some of the famous places to visit are the Pushkar Lake, Brahma Temple, and the Savitri Temple. Other activities that can be of interest is hot air ballooning and the camel rides through the rugged sandy terrain of the nearby Thar Desert.
The Pushkar Lake carries immense religious importance for Hindus and is believed to be a place of meditation for Brahma. The lake is one of the oldest in the country and myth has it that it came into existence with creation itself. Pilgrims from all over the country visit the lake during the months of October and November to take a dip into its holy waters. However it is comparatively a quiet place for the rest of the year; frequented by tourists but not very crowded.
The unique temple of Brahma is one of the major attractions for religious tourists from all across India. The temple is unique since there are only four Brahma temples in the world; the other three are located in Bali, Uttar Pradesh (India), and in Indonesia. The temple has a life sized idol of Lord Brahma who is the god of creation. Since the temple carries so much religious importance it is usually very crowded and it is hard even to get a glimpse of the idol in the hullabaloo.
This temple is dedicated to the wife of Brahma, Savitri, and has a magnificent statue of the Goddess. The temple itself is perched on a hill-top and is almost a forty-five minute climb; there are some shops in front of the temple that sell incense sticks and other items that are required in the rituals. The marble architecture of both, the Savitri and the Brahma temple, is one of its kind and both the temples are visited by pilgrims simultaneously.
Hot Air Ballooning
This is one of the favorite activities of tourists during the Pushkar fair and is sure to thrill and mesmerize you. The breathtaking view from the top of this city of lakes is unmatched and the best time for the half an hour ride among clouds is at dawn. Winters are better compared to summers for this activity since the weather is favorable in winters and longer rides can be enjoyed with safety.
The Pushkar Fair is one of the largest camel fairs in the world and more than a hundred thousand people throng this town to sell and purchase camels. The fair takes place in the months on November and December and the town comes alive with pilgrims, camels, tourists, and locals wearing colorful turbans. A camel race is held at the beginning of the fair and is followed by music and other recreational activities. However the place becomes very overcrowded and prices of hotels and other essentials may increase when it is held.
The town is suitable for a sojourn if you do not plan to attend the fair and many of the temples and the Pushkar Lake can be visited in one day. However if you want to spend more time in the place then there are numerous options available ranging from budget lodgings to luxurious hotels. Some of the best hotels in Pushkar are the Jagat Palace Hotel, Pushkar Fort Hotel, and Hotel Oasis. These are some of the better hotels and are expensive compared to the frugal lodgings available in the city for ascetics and pilgrims.
Pushkar is teeming with shops and bazaars that sell many items ranging from Puja paraphernalia to jewelry. The main bazaar is a labyrinth of alleyways that offer embroidered fabrics, handbags, and other gift items. The bazaar also has many music shops that sell traditional and religious music. Furthermore, the town has a book bazaar where you can find religious books and a wide variety of novels in many languages.
Pushkar offers a variety of culinary delights to pamper your taste buds, ranging from the simple local food to continental delights. However the local food is not recommended for someone with a weak stomach since it is usually spicy. Some of the famous restaurants that are frequented by tourists are the Sunset Café, Hotel Pushkar Palace, Moon dance, and the Venus Restaurant. The sunset café is the most popular among these and truly provides a breathtaking view of the setting sun from top of the Pushkar Lake at dusk. As day turns to night in this holy town, many tourists gather in this restaurant for evening tea accompanied by a picturesque sunset, the background of ringing sacred bells from the nearby temples clearly audible in the mountain air.