Pushkar is best known for its colourful annual camel fair, but I decided to go a week later to explore the place when it was calm, quiet and not inundated with travellers. I’m glad I discovered the charm of this holy town, home to more than 500 temples, at my own pace.
Dotted with 52 ghats, there’s an interesting legend behind one of the most sacred lakes in India. It is believed that lotus petals fell down from the hands of Lord Brahma and that’s the spot where this semi circular lake was formed. There are five holy lakes in the country – Man Sarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar and no pilgrimage is complete without visiting this one – after all it was made by the Lord of creation – Brahma. Visit this at sunset to capture stunning photos.
Lying close to the lake, you walk through a vibrant market to reach this temple that dates back to the 14th century. Easily identified with its red spire and a marble statue of the sun god at its gate, what makes this temple unique is that it is the most important one dedicated to Lord Brahma. According to legend, Brahma chose this spot for a yajna (fire worship) and hence the temple was built. Photography is prohibited.
Sunset from Savitri Temple
If you have the stamina, climb the steps to the top of the hill where this temple is located. I gave up just by looking at the number of stairs and what came to my rescue was the cable car. Thank god for that. A five minute ride whisked me up just in time to get got a lovely panaromic view of the lake, temples and sand dunes when the sun was going home. The temple is dedicated to Brahma’s first wife, Savitri.
Camel ride at sunset
The camel cart will arrive at your doorstep and take you through the outskirts of the town to the dunes of the Thar desert in time for a glorious view of the sunset. Like me, if you are intimidated at the thought of climbing a camel, don’t worry, because all you have to do is hop into the cart tied to the camel’s back. There isn’t a better setting to the sunset than this – I gazed at it go down against the backdrop of performances by traditional Rajasthani Kalbelia dancers.
Street food and shopping at Pushkar Market
This vibrant market is lined with shops selling leather goods, garments, puppets, jewellery and surprisingly, rose products. Interestingly Pushkar happens to be the heart of rose farming in the country and the market sells all kinds of products related to this – from rose drinks, perfume, oil, water to gulkand. When it comes to street food – go for the kachoris, lassi and gol gappas that are served with four kinds of water.
I was surprised to learn that Pushkar happens to be a vegetarian town where no alcohol is served since it’s a place of worship – but I was more than happy with all the delicious traditional food – especially the Rajasthani thali at Orchard Resort.