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Pushkar Pilgrimage Site in India

Pushkar

Pushkar Pilgrimage Site

Pushkar is a town in the Ajmer district in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is situated at 14 km North West from Ajmer at an average elevation of 510 metres (1673 feet), and is one of the five sacred dhams ( pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus ). It is often called "Tirth Raj" - the king of pilgrimage sites - and has in recent years become a popular destination for foreign tourists.

Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower. Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.

 

 

Pushkar is a town in the Ajmer district in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is situated at 14 km North West from Ajmer at an average elevation of 510 metres (1673 feet), and is one of the five sacred dhams (pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus). It is often called "Tirth Raj" - the king of pilgrimage sites - and has in recent years become a popular destination for foreign tourists.


Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. It lies on the shore of Pushkar Lake. The date of its actual origin is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation. It is mentioned that Brahma performed penance here for 60,000 years to have a glimpse of Vishnu.


Pushkar has many temples. Most of the temples are not very old, since many were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the area. Subsequently, the destroyed temples were re-built. The most famous among all is the Brahma Temple built during the 14th century AD. Very few temples to Lord Brahma exist anywhere in the world. Other temples of Brahma include Bithoor in Uttar Pradesh, India; village Asotra near Balotra city of Barmer district in Rajasthan; Mother Temple of Besakih in Bali, Indonesia; and Prambanan in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Pushkar lake has 52 ghats where pilgrims descend to the lake to bathe in the sacred waters. Pushkar is also famous for its annual Pushkar Camel Fair.


The natural environment of Pushkar and the sacred lake has become increasingly degraded in the last few decades. The problems stem mainly from over-development of tourist facilities and the deforestation of the surrounding area.

 

Places to see

  • The Sri Sawai Bhoj Temple
  • Jagat Pita Shri Brahma temple
  • Varaha temple
  • Apteshwar Mahadev temple
  • Savitri temple
  • Temple of Rangji (New and Old) or Shri Vaikunthnathji
  • Man Mahal
  • Gurudwara Singh Sabha (Patrons: Jaswinder Singh & Harmeet Bhatti)
  • Varah Temple. This temple is to God Vishnu. It is one of the most visited temples in Pushkar city. It is said that Lord Vishnu gave a visit to this area to kill an atrocious demon Hirnayaksha.

Fairs

  • Nagaur Fair
  • Pushkar Fair
  • Tejaji fair

Other attractions

A visit to Bhandarej, Bhangarh and Fort Madhopur from Jaipur via Dausa Town by an Indica or Ambassador taxi would cost about Rs 2,000. Expect rates to go up considerably in the high season.

Ajmer is the nearest tourist attraction that lies outside the city boundaries of Pushkar.

Located 27 kilometres away from Ajmer, there is Kishangarh, famous for its miniature paintings, more popularly known as Bani Thani.

Pushkar Lake  - The prime attraction of Pushkar is the Pushkar Lake which is considered sacred like the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. Pushkar has become a place of Hindu pilgrimage because of this holy lake. Legend has it that this lake was consecrated to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe when alotus dropped from his hand into the vale and a lake emerged in that place.

Brahma Temple  - The most important temple in Pushkar is the Temple of Lord Brahma, one of the holy trinity of Hinduism. In fact it is the only Hindu shrine in the world where Lord Brahma is worshipped. The temple enshrines a life-size idol of Lord Brahma.

Savitri Temple-  This temple that is located at the top of the Ratnagiri Hill is dedicated to Savitri, the wife of Lord Brahma. The temple houses a statue of Goddess Savitri.

Old Pushkar-  Old Pushkar lake is rebuilt and is located around 5 km from Pushkar lake. According to the ancient texts, Old Pushkar has equal cultural and religious significance for the pilgrims.

History Pushkar

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation. It is mentioned that Brahma performed penance here for 60,000 years to have glimpse of Radha Krishna.

According to legend, Brahma was in search of a place for  Mahayagna  and he found this place suitable.After a long time, Brahma came to known that a demon, Vajranash, was killing people here so the Lord intoned a mantra on a lotus flower and killed the demon.During this process the parts of flower fell on three places which were later known as Jyaistha, Madhya and Kanistha Pushkar. After this Brahma performed a yagna to protect this place from demons.The consort of Brahma, Savitri, were needed to offer  Ahuti  for the yagna but she was not there that time soGayatri, a Gurjar girl, was married to brahma and performned yagna.This act made first wife of Brahma, Savitri, angry and she cursed Brahma saying that he would be worshiped in Pushkar only. From that day the priests in Brahma temple are from Gurjar community.

The Ramayan mentions Pushkar and says that Vishvamitra performed tapa here. It further says that the Apsara Menaka came to Pushkara to bathe in its sacred waters.

The Mahabharata says that while laying down a programme for Maharaja Yudhishthara's travel, "Maharaja after entering the Jungles of Sind and crossing the small rivers on the way should bathe in Pushkara". And, as per Vaman Purana, Prahlada on his pilgrimage to holy places visited Pushkarayana.

A Gurjara Pratihara (Gurjar) ruler of Mandore, Nahadarava, restored this tirtha in the seventh century. He got the place cleared and the lake restored by making an embankment on the side of the river Luni. He rebuilt old palaces and built twelve dharmashalas (resting places) andghats on three sides of the lake.

According to Rajputana Gazetteer Pushkar was held by Chechi Gurjars (Gujjars) till about 700 years ago.Later Some shrines were occupied by Kanphati Jogis.

There are still priests from Gujar community in Pushkar temple, known as Bhopas

The sage Parasara is said to have been born here. His descendants, called Parasara Brahamanas, are found in Pushkar and the surrounding area. The famous temple of Jeenmata has been cared for by Parasara Brahmans for the last 1,000 years. Pushkarana Brahamanas may also have originated here.

It is also the venue of the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. In 1901, the town was part of the Rajputana Agency had a population of 3,831.



 
 


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