Pushkar is a sacred town for
the Hindus, situated 11 kms. to the north-west of Ajmer. About 400
temples and shrines are located at Pushkar around its holy lake, which
finds a mention in the Padma Purana. Legend has it that Lord Brahma in
search for a spot to hold his 'yagna' (religious ritual), dropped the
lotus from his hand, the three spots touched by this flower were
turned into lakes. These are today known as the 'Jyeshtha Pushkar'
(main Pushkar), the 'Madhyam Pushkar' (medium Pushkar) and the 'Kanishtha
Pushkar' (little Pushkar). A temple dedicated to Lord Brahma is
located at Pushkar; the other important temples are those of Gayatri,
Savitri, Shiv and Badri Narayan.
The Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 flights of steps, called 'ghats',
many having special legendary importance. Lord Vishnu is said to have
appeared at the Varah Ghat in the form of a boar. Brahma took a bath
here and performed Yajna at the Brahma Ghat, accompanied by Vishnu and
Mahadev. Guru Govind Singh chose this site for reciting the sacred
Guru Granth Sahib. The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed at the
Gandhi Ghat, which was previously called Gau Ghat.
There is a steady flow of pilgrims throughout the year to Pushkar,
which is among the five principal places of Hindu pilgrimage. It is,
however transformed into a bustling fair-ground in the month of Kartik
(October-November) when the annual Pushkar Fair and a cattle fair are
held simultaneously. The fair starts from Kartik Shukla Ekadashi and
goes on for 12 days, till Kartik Purnima. Both the religious fair and
the cattle fair are now internationally renowned tourist attractions.
A small fair is held in the month of Baisakh, which is primarily a
THE HOLY DIPS ( SNAN )
People consider the water of the Pushkar Lake to be very sacred and
the ritual of taking dips in the holy water is believed to bestow
salvation. The holy dip is most auspicious on Kartik Poornima. Even
before sunrise, people descend the ghats, aided by the 'pandas'
(Brahmin priests) to take the sacred bath. Offerings of coconut,
flowers, and cash are made to the lake and the priests.
VISITING THE TEMPLE
After bathing at the lake, people proceed to pay homage to the creator
of the Universe, Lord Brahma, at the Brahma Temple.
Most pilgrims perform the oblations at the Jyeshtha Pushkar while some
opt to visit all the three Pushkar and this is called the
Panch-Kosi-Parikrama. Many pilgrims visit all the shrines at Pushkar
in seven days and this is called the Chaubis-Kosi-Parikrama.
FLOATING LAMPS ( DEEP DAN )
It is customary to float lighted earthen lamps after placing them on 'pattals'
(plates made of leaves) on the waters of the lake. This creates a
spectacular view in the evening when the sacred lake takes on a
mystical tint sprinkled with twinkling spots of light. 'Aarti' is
offered at the lake in the morning and evening.
world-famous Fair is held in the sacred and peaceful town of Pushkar,
11 kms. north-west of Ajmer. It transforms into a spectacular fair
ground for twelve days during the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov).
Pushkar Fair, a major tourist attraction draws people from all over
the globe to the ancient and secluded environment of Pushkar town.
Pushkar Fair is perhaps the largest cattle fair in the world.
Rajasthan which is enriched by cattle wealth is the home to many
recognized breeds of cattle.
In conjunction with the
religious fair, a cattle fair is also organised in the month of Kartik
at Pushkar Cattle-breeders bring a large number of cattle of various
popular breeds such as Nagauri, Haryanvi, Mewati, Kankrej etc. to the
fair to be sold to the rural folk who appreciate well-bred animals.
The cattle are decorated by their owners during Pushkar fair and also
participate in the races and are paraded on the sand dunes.
The ancient town of Pushkar is transformed into a spectacular fair
ground in the month of Kartik. The fair attracts a great number of
tourists from far and wide. The fair-grounds reverberate with
festivity, as rows of make shift stalls display a bewildering array of
items that compete with each other for the visitors' attention. But
the highlight of Pushkar fair is the trading in camels. Camels are
bought, sold, decked up and paraded on the sand dunes, presenting a
picturesque sight. The camel, horse and donkey races are events that
draw huge attendance. Body tattooing is yet Horse race. Pushkar
another favorite activity that attracts a large number of enthusiasts.