Pushkar, a mellow town located 14 kilometres northwest of Ajmer in the state of Rajasthan, is famous for its temples and annual mela (fair). On a recent trip to Jaipur and Ajmer, I spent a day at Pushkar and realised that apart from being a place of worship, owing to the fact that it is one of the five sacred dhams (pilgrimage sites) for Hindus, it has a lot more to offer.
Hindu mythology has three prime Gods, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The former two have several temples across the country in their honour, but Pushkar houses one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma saw a demon terrorizing people and killed him with a lotus flower. The name Pushkar comes from the lotus petals that fell on the ground during that battle. After this, Lord Brahma decided to perform a yajna at Pushkar. His wife Goddess Sarasvati (Savitri) couldn’t come to yajna at the designated time, and an enraged Lord Brahma decided to marry another woman in order to complete the yajna on time. Lord Indra found a Gujar’s daughter named Gayatri, and Lord Brahma married her and completed the yajna. When Goddess Saraswati arrived, she was enraged to see Gayatri sitting beside her husband Lord Brahma, and cursed him that he would never be worshipped anywhere in the world except in Pushkar. Goddess Saraswati then moved into the Ratnagiri hill and a temple in her honour still exists there.
The journey started with an early morning visit to the Savitri temple, situated atop the highest hill in Pushkar, the Ratnagiri hill. Â After a trek of two kilometres, completed in close to an hour, I reached the top. Tired, with every muscle in my body aching I reached the top still gasping for air. But, the moment I turned to look back, I was mesmerized by the dark beauty of the valley beneath. As, we sat at the edge of the hill waiting for the sun to rise, a calm induced by the silence started settling on me. As the first rays of the morning sun started illuminating the town of Pushkar, an aura of peace and tranquillity flowed into the place. Slowly, as the sun rose, the entire valley was drenched in cleansing light. Those five minutes, as I watched the sun rise, were the most peaceful minutes of my life. Although the climb to the top, was physically very taxing, the view and the experience made it totally worth the effort. An added bonus was a light shower that lasted for about ten minutes after the sun rose. A beautiful rainbow stretching across the side of the hill was a marvellous sight.
I spent the day at the Brahma temple, and shopping on the streets of Pushkar while savouring Rajasthani delicacies. The next big moment came as I accompanied my cousins on a camel ride into the desert to watch the sun set. The camels took us away from the bustling roads and sounds of the town. Pushkar is surrounded by hills on all four sides, and the sun sets by 6.30PM. I got down from the camel and prepared myself for the grand finale. The sand was soft and had a beautiful brown hue. As we stood watching the sun set, it brought back the same peace, bringing an end to an incredible day.