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Pushkar – Temples, Fairs and More

6 November, 2019

, Festivals

The state of Rajasthan is famous for its vibrant culture, lovely palaces and fort and architecture from the erstwhile princely days, desert safaris, and of course, for its world-famous fairs or melas. These melas are a relic from the past from when the villagers used to organize these fairs for various reasons, and today, they give us a glimpse into their lives and traditions. These are now used as tourist attractions, and people from the world over arrive in Rajasthan for the various fairs. The most famous among them happens to be the Pushkar Mela, which happens around October-November in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik.

What you see here at this time is a mix of the Rajasthani traditions and culture, animal fairs, religious fervor, display and sale of the local arts and crafts, and a taste of their fantastic cuisine. The Pushkar fair will be on in Pushkar from the 4th to the 12th of Nov, and you can visit any time in between these dates, for a memorable experience.

About Pushkar

The Jagatpita Brahma Mandir here is one of the very few and most significant among the Brahma temples present in India. This temple made of marbles and stones, dates back to the 14th century, even though it was partially rebuilt later. It is situated close to the Pushkar lake, another very famous and sacred lake for the Hindus and is bound by fifty-two ghats. The Pushkar Mela takes place from the Kartik Shukla Ekadashi and continues for five days till Kartik Purnima. Thousands of devotees congregate here during the time to take a dip in this sacred lake as it considered extremely auspicious.

The lake is set in a valley, in a very picturesque location, surrounded by hills and sand dunes, bringing in the desert charm from all around. The traditionally dressed Rajasthani men in colourful turbans and women in lovely flowing dresses and eye-catchy accessories are a sight to watch. Many Himalayan Sadhus also come here during this time to take the dip and fill the air with their sacred rents of Holy Scriptures.

The fair

An animal fair takes place on the sidelines, where the local animals are displayed and sold. Cattle, camels, and horses are part of this animal fair, and some animal races also take place, which provides great entertainment. It is believed that more than 25000 camels are sold during this fair, making it the world’s largest camel fair! What makes it more interesting is that the animals are well-groomed, and adorned and dressed up regally for the fair. It makes for an interesting sight to watch the animals being lined up and paraded for sale.

The roads around are lined up with shops selling all kinds of trinkets to local arts and crafts, and food. This being a religious fair, no non-vegetarian food or alcohol will be sold or served around this place for the duration of the fair.  The place has around 500 temples, big and small, which can be explored, apart from the main Brahma temple and the lake.

The origins

Legend has it that this place was formed when Lord Brahma dropped his weapon, the Lotus flower on a demon, Vajranabha, who was harassing innocent humans on earth. The petals fell in three places, and Brahma came down to earth and named the main place as Pushkar, and held a yajna, for which he was expecting his wife Saraswati to join in. However, as she was waiting for her companions Lakshmi, Parvati, and Indrani, she could not and an irate Lord Brahma requested Indra to find him a bride to help him complete the yajna.

A Gujar’s daughter, who was certified as pure by Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and other priests who were present as she passed through the body of a cow, was named as Gayathri, and Brahma married her and proceeded to perform the yajna. However, by now, Saraswati happened to reach the place and finding someone else in her place, cursed Brahma that he would never be worshipped on earth. She then relented enough to allow the worship to happen only in Pushkar.

How to reach?

By Air, Jaipur is the closest airport to Pushkar, about 140 KM away, and you can hire cabs to reach Pushkar, and it takes about 3 hours to reach. There are buses plying from Delhi, though it would be a long-distance trip, and not advisable unless you are used to such. The closest railway station happens to be Ajmer, which is well connected to many main Indian cities. From Ajmer, Pushkar is a 30 min drive, and you could even choose to explore Ajmer as well.

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