Puskar, the Lake of Salvation
According to Hindu mythology, Puskar is the place where Bramha the Creator, one of the three trinities of Hinduism, performed a Yagna or sacrificial ritual at the bank of a lake amidst hills & deserts of Rajasthan, India.
A picturesque place , surrounded by hills of the Aravalli range, Puskar, situated at an altitude of 1539 feet, boasts of a beautiful lake called the Puskar lake around which this small hamlet is built. Situated about 14 km from Ajmer, a city famous for the Dargah of the Muslim saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, Puskar is well connected to Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan & Delhi, the capital of India.
Puskar is a very important pilgrimage site for Hindus. As per Hindu mythology, Puskar is the abode of Bramha the Creator, the first of the trinity (the other two being Vishnu the Sustainer & Shiva the Destroyer). Brahma ‘s divine consort Savitri is also residing here , albeit in a lonely temple on the top of a small hill about 3 km away. Other important gods & goddesses of Hindu pantheon like Vedamata Gayatri also reside here.
Pushkar’s history dates back to the 4th century BC. Greek and Kushan coins date Puskar back to this time. The inscriptions found at Sanchi attest to the Puskar Lake's existence to the 2nd Century BC. This suggests that Pushkar was an ancient pilgrimage centre. From time immemorial, thousands of saints & holymen came here to meditate & perform sacrifices. The great Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata refer to Pushkar Lake as Adi Tirtha, or the "original sacred water-body".
The main attraction of Puskar is the central lake. A huge one with crystal clear greenish-blue water, this rain-fed lake is extremely sacred to Hindus. The lake has a water surface area of 22 hectares (54 acres).The depth of water in the lake varies from season to season from 8–10 metres (26–33 ft).
It is believed that Brahma had performed Yagna here at the bank of this beautiful lake. It is considered a highly prized ritual to perform PUJA here. Daily thousands of devout Hindus come here to take a holy dip in the lake & perform Puja. There are 52 Ghats or bathing areas in the huge lake, each with a distinct name & appropriate mythological history. It is customary to walk barefooted around the lake performing Pujas at the ghats. It is said that a dip in the lake is credited with holiness, assuring salvation from all sins. It is now one of the five holiest centres of pilgrimage for Hindus.
Puskar is dotted with thousands of temples, the most famous of which is the temple dedicated to Bramha, & it is arguably the only Bramha temple in India. The Bramha temple is situated at BrmahaGhat by the side of the Lake. It is a huge temple with tall red-colored pinnacle.
Other famous temples include the Old Ranganatha temple, a magnificent temple with mixed Nagara & Dravidian style & the Ram Vaikunth temple (popularly known as the Sethani temple) with distinctive white Gopuram of Dravidian style.
In November every year, a cultural fare is organized at Puskar by the Tourist Department called the Camel Fare. One can see thousands of local people with their colorful costumes performing several cultural acts like folk dances & songs. Artisans with traditional craftworks throng the fare. Several colorful festivities including camel race are conducted in the fare. It is an exotic treat to the eyes.
Puskar is a must see for the general tourists as well as the devout pilgrims.