About 130 kms from the state capital of Jaipur and 14 kms north-west of the city of Ajmer is the Hindu holy town of Pushkar. The town is famed for its temples, especially the one dedicated to the God of Creation of the Hindu pantheon, Lord Brahma, the beautiful sacred lake Pushkar and the annual camel fair. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Rajasthan and is frequented by local as well foreign tourists all the year round.
Though small in size, 'Tirtharaj' or the king of pilgrimages, Pushkar offers you ample activities to indulge in, when here, in an assortment of spheres be it religious, adventure, leisure, shopping or off the beaten track.
Listed below is a personal top things to do when in Pushkar, one of the oldest towns in India:
1) A visit to the Brahma Temple- The temple, the only of its kind in the world, is bereft of any exquisite carvings or artwork as found in most other temples in India, but as you climb up the stairs of the temple complex and reach the orangish domed main temple of the creator, the simplicity and spirituality of the place strikes you. Thronged by devotees most of the time, the place overwhelms you and exudes an attraction that is way beyond words. There are quite a few underground chambers within the temple complex that are dedicated to gods and goddesses from the Hindu mythology, especially Mahadeva or Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.
2) Shop in the narrow lanes- There are a number of shops lined along the main road which leads you to the Brahma Temple that sell souvenirs exclusive to Pushkar. You can shop for things ranging from local artifacts, paintings that depict the local culture to paintings of international icons like Bob Marlow. Some of the shops cater specifically to the tastes and needs of foreign tourists and hence don’t be surprised if you find signboards in foreign languages from Chinese to Hebrew, in the shops.
3) Go on an ecotrail or a camel safari- Pushkar is surrounded by the beautiful Aravali ranges on one hand and the Thar Desert tries to embrace it on the other. Thus, Pushkar provides you with a very unique option of going on trails in the wilderness on one hand and ambling on a desert safari saddled on camel back, on the other.
4) Sample a wide variety of cuisines- The holy town of Pushkar is dotted with restaurants that serve you a complete range of cuisine from around the world. It is not uncommon to find street side shops selling hummus, falafel, momos, noodles, pizzas along with traditional Indian food like paranthas, pooris and sabzi. Cafes and restaurants dot the embankments of the sacred Lake of Pushkar.
5) A dip in the holy waters of Lake Pushkar- A visit to Pushkar is incomplete without a dip in the holy waters of the “Sarovar”. The picturesque ancient lake which is surrounded by 52 ghats is among the most sacred of places for the Hindus and a dip in it especially during Kartik Poornima (October/November) is thought to be very auspicious.