PUSHKAR (THE TOWN OF FAIRS AND FESTIVITIES)

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, the tranquil city of Pushkar is a favoured destination for thousands of tourists and devotees flocking to Rajasthan. Situated at a height of 510 metres, Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’, literally meaning Snake Mountain forms a natural border between Ajmer and Pushkar. Known as ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’, the essence of the famous Pushkar rose is exported all over the world. Along with an interesting mythological history, a legacy of timeless architectural heritage makes Pushkar a fascinating city.

According to legends, Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the Universe dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then decided to name the place after the flower, and thus the name, Pushkar. The city of Pushkar is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the whole world. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be the ultimate pilgrimage that must be undertaken to attain salvation.

PUSHKAR LAKE

According to Hindu scriptures, the sacred Pushkar Lake is described as ‘Tirtha Raj’, the king of all pilgrimage sites. No pilgrimage is considered to be complete without a dip in in the holy Pushkar Lake. Semi-circular in shape and about 8-10 metres deep, Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 400 temples and is truly a magnificent sight to behold.

BRAHMA TEMPLE

Nestled in the picturesque Pushkar valley beyond the Nangaparvat and Anasagar Lake, the Brahma temple holds a special place in the hearts of Indians. It is the only temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma. Built with marble and decorated with silver coins, this temple can be identified by its red spire and the image of a swan (considered sacred to Lord Brahma). The chaturmukhi (four faced) idol of Lord Brahma is housed in the inner sanctum. A marble statue of the sun god stands sentinel at the temple. Interestingly, while all the gods are shown bare footed, Surya is shown wearing ancient warrior’s boots.

RANGJI TEMPLE

The gracious and conspicuous Rangji Temple is another popular shrine that witnesses thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rangji, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The influence of South Indian style, Rajput style and Mughal style in the temple’s architecture is highly noticeable. The high-rising ‘Gopuram’, prevalent mainly in the temples present in South India is another feature of the temple that attracts visitors.

SAVITRI TEMPLE

Dedicated to Lord Brahma’s first wife, Goddess Savitri, this temple is situated on a hillock right behind the Brahma temple. While climbing the long series of steps leading to the temple, one can catch a panoramic view of the lake, surrounding temples and sand dunes. The presence of the only Brahma Temple in Pushkar is the outcome of Savitri’s curse to Brahma for marrying another Goddess, Gayatri, while starting his yagna in Pushkar.

DESERT AND CAMEL SAFARI

Life in the villages around Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur (Osian), Pushkar and Nagaur pulses to the sound of music and sways in a profusion of colours, where men with proud moustaches in elegant turbans, cheerful women in vivid ethnic attire and children, live life to the hilt. Summers here end in dancing, singing and festivities. However, that’s not all this enigmatic land has to offer. Thar Desert and its Camel Safari –a treat to tourists since 1998 – offers visitors a fun, vibrant and memorable experience. The Camel Safari gives you a glimpse into the rustic lifestyle of the desert villages and its people. Traverse through sand dunes, past ancient havelis, temples and even historic landmarks. What’s more? Treat your palate to delicious, authentic cuisine and traditional music at various stops on the safari tour

CAMPING

Camping under the sparkling skies of Rajasthan allows you to feast your eyes on the unique view of celestial wonders at night. Camping is some sort of an art form here, with established campsites being set in several locations that would befit royalty. Camping expeditions in Rajasthan beautifully blend adventure with comfort and offer a truly one-of-a-kind outdoor experience. Personalised tents equipped with a bedroom, cosy hallway or leisure area and an attached bath are also available for rent. Some tents even come with hand-block printed fabrics on their interiors. For the adventurous folk, the ideal time to head out for camping would be between October and March.