Pushkar Tour Package
World famous and popular Pushkar is 15 km northwest of Ajmer in Rajasthan. According to an interesting Hindu legend, Pushkar came into existence when Lord Brahma, the Creator, dropped a lotus flower ('pushpa') to earth from his hand ('kar'). At the three spots where the petals landed, water magically appeared in the midst of the desert to form three small blue lakes. On the banks of the largest of these lakes Lord Brahma convened a gathering of 900,000 celestial beings - this forerunner of the Pushkar Mela (fair) is now celebrated with great fervor every year!
Surrounded by whitewashed temples and bathing ghats (water fronts), the Pushkar Lake is today revered as one of the most sacred sites in India - called Pushkaraj Maharaj, literally "Pushkar King of Kings". During the auspicious full moon phase of October/November its waters are believed to cleanse the soul of all impurities, drawing pilgrims from all over the country for holy dips. Alongside this annual religious festival, Rajasthani villagers also buy and sell
livestock at what has become the largest camel market in the world, when more than 200,000 dealers, tourists and traders fill the dunes to the west of the lake.
The Pushkar Mela
Pushkar Mela is a immensely lively, colorful affair. The beautiful desert scenery and heady religious atmosphere of the temples and ghats have made Pushkar a prime destination for foreign tourists with over a million domestic tourists too, coming here every year. The main bazaar is a kilometer long line of stalls and shops selling traditional puja (prayers and ritual) paraphernalia, hippy trinkets, jewelry and CDs, others offering forex, Internet or international phone facilities, while the street side cafés churn out banana pancakes, pizzas and the often bhang-laced "special lassi".
Pushkar Temples :
There are more than five hundred temples in and around Pushkar. Some, like the splendid Vishnu Temple, are out of bounds to non-Hindus. The most important temple, BrahmaTemple, houses a four headed image of Brahma in its main sanctuary. Raised on a stepped platform in the center of a courtyard, it is surrounded on three sides by smaller shrines topped with flat roofs providing views across the desert to Savitri Temple on the summit of a nearby hill. The image of Savitri is supposed to date back to the seventh century. Gayitri Temple (Pap Mochini Mandir), set on a hill east of the town, also offers great views
Pushkar Ghats :
The lake is ringed by the five hundred whitewashed temples, connected to the water by 52 ghats - one for each of Rajasthan's maharajas, who built separate guesthouses, each with its own private pujari (priest) to perform the rituals here. Each is named after an event or person and three in particular bear special significance. Primary among them is Gau Ghat, sometimes called Main Ghat, where visiting ministers and politicians come to worship and from which ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri were sprinkled into the lake. Brahma Ghat marks the spot where Brahma himself is said to have worshipped, while at the large Varaha Ghat, Vishnu is believed to have appeared in the form of Varaha (a boar), the third of his nine earthly incarnations.
Indian and Western tourists alike are urged by local Brahmin priests to
worship at the lake - that is, to make Pushkar Puja. This involves the repetition
of prayers while scattering rose petals into the lake and then being asked for a
donation, which usually goes to temple funds or to the priest. On completion of the puja, a red thread taken from a temple is tied around your wrist.
Pushkar Fair :
Hindus visit Pushkar year round but there is one particular day when bathing here is believed to relieve devotees of all their sins and ultimately free them from the endless cycle of death and reincarnation. That is the full moon (Purnima) of the Kartika month (usually Nov). The five days leading up to and including the full moon, Pushkar hosts thousands of celebrating devotees, following prescribed rituals on the lakeside and in the Brahma Temple.
The huge week long camel fair is held at around the same time with hordes of herders from all over Rajasthan gathering to parade, race and trade over 125,000 animals. The streets are packed with swarms of pilgrims, hawkers and thousands of tourists. Once trading is under way, camels and cattle are meticulously groomed and auctioned, while women dressed in mirrored skirts and vivid shawls lay out embroidered cloth, jewelry, pots and ornaments beside the herds. Cattle, poultry, sheep and goats are entered for competitions and prizes given for the best displays of fruit and vegetables.
Away from the main activity, the dusty ground is stirred up by vigorous camel races, urged on by gamblers. With the harvest safely in the bag and the surplus livestock sold, the villagers enjoy themselves in a lighthearted atmosphere that's generally absent from most other Rajasthani livestock fairs.
The overwhelming size and popularity of the Pushkar fair with
its festive environment and coming together of cultures has
resulted in the number of foreign tourists to cross the ten
thousand mark at times. It's best to come at least a week before
the final weekend when most of the buying and selling is done.
By the full moon, the bulk of the herders have packed up and
gone home. Hotels hike their rates sometimes a fortnight before
the full moon and fill up quickly. It's best to book a room
as far ahead as possible.