Pushkar Lake, History, Significance of Pushkar Lake, Pushkar Fair, The Ghats at Pushkar Lake, Attractions Near Pushkar Lake, Best time to visit Pushkar Lake, How To Reach Pushkar Lake, Pushkar.
About Pushkar Lake
Located in the small town of Pushkar in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan, The Pushkar Lake is one of the most prominent spots of pilgrimage as well as the site of the world famous Pushkar Fair. Encircled by numerous temples and ghats (bathing spots), the lake draws thousands upon thousands devotees every year to its threshold, to gain spiritual distinction and attain salvation by taking a dip in its holy waters.
Perhaps one of the major tourist destinations in India which attract both Indians and foreigners equally, Pushkar lake is perched amidst the Aravalli ranges in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 500 temples, it is regarded as the sacred lake for the Hindus in India where pilgrims throng in large numbers to take a holy bath. According to Hindu theology, there are five sacred lakes collectively called Panch-Sarovar namely- Mansarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar. Amongst these, Pushkar Sarovar or Lake is the most significant. The pure and pious aura of the place is amusing and is a must visit place if you want to know the gist of Hindu religion.
Located in the oldest city of Pushkar which is often called as ‘Tirtha-Raj’ or the king of pilgrimage, the existence of the lake takes us back to the 2nd century BC. The lake witnesses millions of devotees flocking here because of the belief that the famed waters of the Pushkar wash away the sins of the whole life. The scriptures also mention that doing a parikrama of the three lakes- the main Pushkar, Madya Pushkar where there are a Hanuman temple and an old Banyan tree, and Kanistha Pushkar where a Krishna temple exists during the Kartik Poornima day would be highly auspicious. On the holiest day of Kartik Poornima, a dip in the lake is considered equal to the benefits accrued by performing yagnas (fire-sacrifices) for several centuries. The nearby temples like the Brahma Temple increase the sanctity and purity of the ambience. The Pushkar Lake holds an utmost religious significance for Hindus and is a perfect example of strong belief in their religion.
The sacred Pushkar lake is visited by thousands of devotees every year. Hindu pilgrims, who wish to take a dip in the holy waters of this lake, can choose from the numerous bathing ghats across the lake. A total of around 50 bathing ghats and 400 temples around the Pushkar lake, makes the place truly divine.
The history of Pushkar Lake dates back to 4th century BC. The creation of Pushkar Lake, as an artificial lake goes back to12th century. In 1615–16, the Mughal emperor Jahangir set up his hunting lodge on the shores of the Pushkar Lake. He came to this lodge for hunting when he was staying in Ajmer, about 20 kilometres from Pushkar. This act breaks the local custom of in which animals are not to be killed in the areas of the holy lake. Later, grandson of Jahangir named Aurangzeb (1618–1707) destroyed some of the temples of the pushkar which were built again afterwards. The Rajput rulers of Amber, Bundi, Bikaner and Jaisalmer put their maximum efforts to re-establish the significance of the lake and its nearby temples. Ghats of the Pushkar Lake are also renovated and also temples are built around it by various rulers like Maharaja Man Singh I of Amber, Daulat Rao Scindia, Maha Rana Pratap etc.
The archeological dating of the lake measures that lake existed even in the 4th century BC. In later periods it was referred to in many sources- from the inscriptions at Sanchi to records of Chinese Traveler Fa Xian. Over the period of time many Rajput rulers and local chiefs of Ajmer tried to restore the glory of Pushkar. The lake lost significance only during the brief period of Mughal rule except during the reign of Akbar.
Significance of Pushkar Lake
Pushkar Lake is one of the most holy sites for Hindus and the place is accessed mostly for religious purposes only. The lake is surrounded by around 500 temples and 52 Ghats with different religious significance. People from all across the country and from all walks of life come here to take a dip in its sacred waters. However, taking bath in Pushkar during Kartik Poornima (Full Moon Day), in the month of Kartik (October-November) assumes special importance as it is considered highly auspicious. Also circumambulating the lake along with Hanuman and Krishna Temple in the vicinity is also considered religiously favorable.
It is believed that taking bath in the Lake during Kartika washes all the sins and absolve the devotees of bodily ailments especially skin diseases. Ramayana and Mahabharata refer Pushkar Lake as Adi-Tirtha while the lake is also counted one amongst the supremely sacred Panch-Sarovar. The Lake has been marked as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one amongst the five top sacred places for Hindus in India. The site is also home to the world’s only Brahma Temple.
The Pushkar fair is one of the central attractions at the lake and during this time there is huge inflow of pilgrims and tourists from all the four directions. Each year the fair starts at Prabhodini Ekadashi and ends at Kartik Poornima. This time is not only favorable for the devotees to gain spiritual merit by taking the holy dip in to the sacred waters of the lake, but also a great business opportunity for the locals when tourists arrive from far and wide to participate in the colorful events. The Pushkar fair is also Asia’s largest camel fair.
The Ghats at Pushkar Lake
The Ghats or lakeside embankments incorporating the descending stone steps are one of the most important parts of pilgrimage at Pushkar. Originally there were twelve Ghats at the Pushkar, but now their number has been increased to 52. Each of the Ghat at Pushkar hold their own individual significance since it is believed that waters of each Ghat have different curative properties.
The ambience and spiritual atmosphere at the ghats is amazing and offers a close understanding of Hindu beliefs and practices. Out of these 52 ghats, two of them have special significance. The Gau Ghat-where ashes of towering personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shashtri were immersed while at Brahma Ghat, it is believed that Lord Brahma himself worshipped and performed a yagna inviting all celestial beings across the Hindu pantheon.
Attractions Near Pushkar Lake
- Pushkar Lake is one of the most revered sites in Rajasthan and home to the only Brahma Temple of the World. Also the lake gets crowded during various festivals and the famous Pushkar Camel Fair.
- Temples Near Pushkar Lake : There are about 500 temples located at the shore of the lake of which many were destroyed during the Mughal rule in India. The most important of these is the Brahma Temple which is believed to be about 2000 years old though the architecture is of 114th century.
- Ghats at Pushkar Lake : There are about 52 ghats at the lake which is used by pilgrims to take bath. But 10 of these are most famous and are important historical architecture too. These are the Varaha Ghat, the Dadhich Ghat, Saptarishi Ghats, Gwalior Ghat, Kota Ghat, Gau ghat, Yag Ghat, Jaipur Ghat, Karni Ghat and Gangaur Ghat.
- Pushkar Fair : Pushkar Camel Fair is Asia’s largest camel fair which commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi, the 11th lunar day in the bright fortnight and ends on Kartik Poornima – the full Moon day in the month of Kartik (October– November) . The lake becomes too crowded during this time as it is said that taking bath on Kartik Poornima is very blissful and wash away all you sins.
Rules in Pushkar
- Be careful because the entire town is considered to be sacred. So these rules you should apply to the whole town.
- Smoking in public is strictly prohibited by law.
- Consumption of liquor, meat and eggs is not allowed in the city. Visitors are advised to not carry any liquor and meat while traveling to Pushkar. Be prepare you will find no alcohol, no meat, fish or eggs available in the city
- No public displays of affection
- Men should wear full-length pants and a T-shirt and women wear full-length clothes.
- Take off your shoes at the stairs before going near the lake and walk barefoot on the ghats.
Best time to visit Pushkar Lake
The ideal time to visit the Pushkar Lake is between October to March when the winter season arrives. The temperature looms around 22 degrees Celsius which is not too cold. The weather remains pleasant. The summers are sweltering with the mercury rising to 45 degrees Celsius. In winters, you will also get to witness the exuberant Pushkar Fair which is held in November on Kartik Poornima.
How To Reach
By Road: Pushkar Lake is located at the centre of Pushkar city. One can easily reach here by hiring taxi or bus from Ajmer.
By Rail: Pushkar Lake is well connected through nearest Ajmer Railway station ( 15 km) to major cities railway stations like Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai, Ajmer, Pali, Jaipur, Ahmedabad.
By Air: Pushkar Lake can be reach through nearest Jaipur Airport (148 Km) which is well connected with regular domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai.