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''Pushkar means a lotus flower. And just like the flower, it too carries magic and charm''

Apart from being home to hundreds of temple and a Hindu pilgrimage town, the place is also an abode of hippies and a haven for Israeli tourists. Beware, the Bohemian culture here can be contagious. You may come across these recklessly relaxed white faces in large numbers in restaurants, cafes and even on the streets and they tempt you to be one of them. Free-flowing and Carefree! There’s something about the place that stops your from leaving it. Now don’t ponder and read on for what else you can expect and do in Pushkar.

LOCATION : Pushkar is a town in the district of Ajmer Rajasthan, India.

BEST TIME : Knowing that Rajasthan is a desert place and damn hot in summer, one can plan Pushkar between October and March for an assured comfortable trip. Peak season for Pushkar is in December and January when the winds touch your face. These are also the months when the place sees influx of even foreign tourists in large numbers.

THINGS TO DO : • If planning your trip in November, make sure you attend the annual Pushkar Camel fair where elegantly dressed camels in thousands gather to participate in beauty contests and races. This is also an excellent opportunity to see how trading of camel and other cattle takes place. During the fest, fairground and bazaars are set up with stalls selling traditional Rajasthani items and other artefacts. An array of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats and snake charmers gather at the stadium to entertain the crowd. The amazing moustache competition is the show stealer.

• Pushkar is home to hundreds of temple, the most important being the Brahma temple that is believed to be 2,000 years old. It is one of the few existing temples of Hindu-creator god Brahma in the world. Brahma wanted to perform a yagna at the lake and when his wife Savitri didn’t go along, he married another woman on a whim. As a result, Savitri cast a curse that he shouldn’t be worshipped elsewhere. The temple is built in marble and stone slabs and sanctum sanctorum holds the central images of Brahma and his second consort Gayatri. The temple is open for worship from 6 am to 9 pm. It is, however, closes in afternoons between 1:30 pm to 3 pm.

• Pilgrims pay homage to Brahma only after taking a sacred bath in Pushkar Lake. Brahma is said to have hit the demon Vajranabha with his weapon Lotus when he tried to kill his children. In the process lotus petals fell on the ground, which gave birth to the sacred Pushkar lake.

• Pushkar lake is surrounded by ghats where many religious ceremonies are conducted. Be a part of the daily evening prayers on the ghats and also feed the pigeons with grains amidst the serene environment.

• Just at the entrance of the Pushkar market is the Rangnath temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is a confluence of South Indian style (Dravid) Rajput and Mughal style of architecture. It has a high growing 'Gopuram' (gate) and Garuda pillars studded with a legendary bird styled was built by a team of masons specially brought here from south India. foreigners are not allowed inside the temple. Photography for all is prohibited inside the temple.

• Go around the market road leading down to the Pushkar Lake. You can get hands on numerous Rajasthani items here from camel bags and earthenwares to tie and dye print garments and souvenirs. Bargaining may get you a decent deal here. You can also take back home vibrant t-shirts, designer kurtis, stylish wrap-arounds, harem pants and large hats. You also come across Israeli travellers when strolling on the streets, who come here seeking spiritual upliftment. They, however, get snared to the shoddy drugs that are smuggled over the borders of Rajasthan.

EATS : There are a lot of rooftop cafés and restaurants in Pushkar offering a relaxed ambience. Many of them serve sizzling continental and Italian cuisines from pizzas, noodles, pastas and dumplings to salads, juices and pancakes. You can try these restaurants: Sixth Sense, Sun-n-Moon, Raju Terrace Garden Restaurant and Little Italy.

TAKE NOTE : • If you want to bypass the market and head straight to the Brahma temple, take the left adjacent to Gurudwara on the main road, which stands at the starting of the market. Car can be parked easily close to one of the ghats when the place is not very crowded. Post darshan, you can also go for camel safari around the lake.
• During peak seasons, parking may be a problem. So we suggest you to park the vehicle just where the market starts and walk down from there.
• Be wary of the shops around the temple selling unsealed tetra juice packs. Check the product before you pay for it.
• Be careful of monkeys around the lake if carrying eatables.
• Climb up the Savitri Temple in the afternoon when the sun is beginning to set as it’s quite a walk.
• Non-vegetarian food is not served in any of the restaurants.

Source / Review By : Pramugdha Mamgain Nautiyal


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