Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Brahma with its creation. According to legend, Brahma was in search of a place for Mahayagna and he found this place suitable. After a long time, Brahma came to known that a demon, Vajranash, was killing people here so the Lord intoned a mantra on a lotus flower and killed the demon. During this process the parts of flower fell on three places which were later known as Jyaistha, Madhya and Kanistha Pushkar. After this Brahma performed a yagna to protect this place from demons. The consort of Brahma, Saraswati, were needed to offer Ahuti for the yagna but she was not there that time so Gayatri, a Gurjar girl, was married to brahma and performned yagna. This act made first wife of Brahma, Saraswati, angry and she cursed Brahma saying that he would be worshiped in Pushkar only.
The Mahabharata says that while laying down a programme for Maharaja Yudhishthara’s travel, “Maharaja after entering the Jungles of Sind and crossing the small rivers on the way should bathe in Pushkara”. And, as per Vaman Purana, Prahlada on his pilgrimage to holy places visited Pushkarayana.
A Gurjara Pratihara ruler of Mandore, Nahadarava, restored this tirtha in the seventh century. He got the place cleared and the lake restored by making an embankment on the side of the river Luni. He rebuilt old palaces and built twelve dharmashalas (resting places) and ghats on three sides of the lake. According to Rajputana Gazetteer Pushkar was held by Chechi Gurjars until about 700 years ago.Later Some shrines were occupied by Kanphati Jogis. There are still priests from the Gurjar community in Pushkar temple, known as Bhopas.
The sage Parasara is said to have been born here. His descendants, called Parasara Brahamanas, are found in Pushkar and the surrounding area. The famous temple of Jeenmata has been cared for by Parasara Brahmans for the last 1,000 years.
Pushkar fair continues for five days and these five days are a period of relaxation and merry-making for the villagers. This fair time is the most busy time for them, as this is one of the largest cattle fairs in the country. Animals, including over 50,000 camels, are brought from miles around to be traded and sold. Trading is brisk as several thousand heads of cattle exchange hands. All the camels are cleaned, washed, adorned, some are interestingly shorn to form patterns, and special stalls are set up selling finery and jewellery for the camels. Camels at the Pushkar fair are decorated with great care. They wear jewellery of silver and beads. There are silver bells and bangles around their ankles that jangle when they walk. An interesting ritual is the piercing of a camel’s nose. It has more than 400 temples including the only one temple in India dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Brahma, the Creator of the Universe.
According to Hindu religion, after visiting all the Hindu pilgrim towns and temples (Four Dhams), if Pushkar is not visited for worship, then salvation is not achieved. According to the Hindu calendar Pushkar Fair commences in Nawami (ninth day of fortnightly phases of moon) and ends in Purnima (Full Moon) in the month of Kartika (October or November according to the lunar calendar). In Pushkar, one of the biggest Cattle Fair is also held for trading purposes and the best cattle in all categories are awarded. Countless people in their colourful attire gather to take a dip in the Holy Lake and pray to the deities. The whole town comes alive with vibrant folk music and dances, magic shows, horse and camel races and various other traditional entertainment competitions.Pushkar, with more than 12 local fairs and festivals of 10–15 days duration is a year round destination. It is a mellow town by the great lake of Pushkar amidst the perfume of jasmine and rose flowers. About 4,000 to 6,000 visitors from all over the world come to Pushkar everyday.
Camel Safari in Pushkar
Tourists can explore the rugged terrain of the Great Indian Desert of Thar using camels. The Aravalli Range here is one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, and has sandy fields, small dunes, beautiful hills and mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets.
The camel safaris in Pushkar will take tourists to destinations where they will witnesses small villages along the way and during crop harvesting, the views are exceptionally enticing.
Ajmer is the nearest tourist attraction that lies outside the city boundaries of Pushkar. Located 27 kilometres away from Ajmer, there is Kishangarh, famous for its miniature paintings, more popularly known as Bani Thani.
Pushkar Lake – The prime attraction of Pushkar is the Pushkar Lake which is considered sacred like the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. Pushkar has become a place of Hindu pilgrimage because of this holy lake. Legend has it that this lake was consecrated to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe when a lotus dropped from his hand into the vale and a lake emerged in that place.
Brahma Temple – The most important temple in Pushkar is the Temple of Lord Brahma, one of the holy trinity of Hinduism. The temple enshrines a life-size idol of Lord Brahma.
Savitri Temple – This temple that is located at the top of the Ratnagiri Hill is dedicated to Savitri, the wife of Lord Brahma. The temple houses a statue of Goddess Savitri.
Old Pushkar – Old Pushkar lake is rebuilt and is located around 5 km from Pushkar lake. According to the ancient texts, Old Pushkar has equal cultural and religious significance for the pilgrims.