Spiritual Affair with Pushkar
We drove to Pushkar after visiting the Ajmer Dargah. The distance from Ajmer to Pushkar is roughly 40 minutes by cab. Pushkar is well known for the Brahma Temple. God Brahma, creator of the universe as per hindu mythology was cursed by his wife that he would not be worshiped in the human world as other gods. Before visiting this temple, we had lunch at a special restaurant called “Out of the Blue” as per our guide’s recommendation. The restaurant had two special things to offer, one -Israeli cuisine and the other a rooftop view of the entire city. Pushkar has a lot of Israeli tourists who are visiting or staying there for an extended time. They even have a Chabad house with activities hall and a synagogue. Many restaurants cater to Israeli food. Food served in Pushkar is strictly vegetarian. Out of the Blue is true to its name not because of its food, but due to the fact that the entire restaurant was painted in blue including blue chairs and tables.
After a whole hearted meal, our guide decided to narrate the story on the banks of the Pushkar river. I already felt part of the ancient Gurukul system where the sages sit and recite Vedas. For Hindus, Char Dham Yatra (Four Circuit Pilgrimage- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath) is very important for washing away their sins and attaining moksha (freedom from reincarnation). As per Padam Puran, one of the holy texts for Hindus, this pilgrimage is considered to be complete only when one visits Pushkar at the end of Char Dham Yatra. The main soul of Pushkar is the lake which is worshiped and considered holy by the pilgrims. Mythology has it that God Brahma had this immense desire to be worshiped like the other gods. So he requested god Vishnu for a place of worship. Vishnu gave him a lotus flower and asked him to place it at the desired location for his temple. Brahma carried it across the world and finally dropped it in a place known today as Pushkar lake. There is a small orange temple in middle of this lake which is believed to be the exact location where he dropped the flower. So as Brahma created the lake by dropping the flower, it is named as Pushp-Kar (dropped flower) – now shortened to Pushkar. Brahma got excited on the creation and decided to perform a ritual (inauguration) ceremony on earth. In those days the rituals had to be performed by both husband and wife. But due to some misunderstanding, Brahma’s wife Savitri did not turn up. To perform the ritual, Brahma asked his bodyguard Indra to randomly pick a girl from earth. He decided to marry the girl whom people today famously recognize as Gayatri. Both of them sat at the rituals and performed the grand ceremony. When Savitri came to know about this, she got furious and cursed Brahma that he will not be worshiped by anyone. Poor guy, his entire dream of getting worshiped was thwarted by one curse at the end ! Still he got to keep the second wife…This shows that though man has his will, the woman always has her way !
Even the famous epic Ramayana has references of Pushkar. Ram came to Pushkar to perform rites of his deceased father so that he could attain Moksha (salvation).
The lake has nearly 52 ghats. Queen Mary has one of the ghats named after her. During her visit in 1931, she saw women had no enclosures while changing clothes before bathing in the lake. So she built a Janana (women) ghat for women.
We stayed till sunset to watch the evening Arti going in parallel on each of the ghats. The whole atmosphere turned spiritual with people gathering behind the Pandit singing hymns in chorus. The ceremony was performed facing the lake.
Pushkar is also famous for cultivation of roses which are exported to Arab countries. Bazaars of Pushkar were filled with different variety of products made of roses like rose incense sticks, perfumes, rose water, rose syrups, gulkand and rose oil.
We then headed towards the Brahma temple. Cameras were not allowed inside the temple. The central image inside the sanctum sanctorum is called Chaumurti (four faced idol).Gayatri sits to his left whereas Savitri to the right. There is a cave next to Brahma temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Pushkar has the vibe of a temple town. People are friendly, laid back and all activities are centered around places of worship. Most of the shops are repetitive with so similar rose products and handicrafts. Visit to Pushkar is a one day affair and we headed towards our hotel Orchard Tents & Tranquility.
Copyright ©2017, Lakshmi Nair . This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.