“The camel fair is over. What’s the point of visiting Pushkar at this time?”, I thought, after looking at the itinerary of our Rajasthan Tour. A small town with a few temples and a lake is not a place to attract me – a person who likes to stay away from temples. After a daylong sightseeing in Jaipur we headed for Pushkar the next day. I had no idea what surprise was waiting for me there. We started early in the morning and reached our hotel (Hotel Teerth Palace) in Pushkar at around 3:30 pm. Our 7-hour long drive included only one stop at Ajmer Sharif for a quick visit at the shrine of the sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti. We also had our lunch break there.
After dumping our luggage at the hotel we quickly got fresh and set out to explore the religious town, which is also one of the five sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Even if the famous Camel Fair was way over when we visited in December we found there are more things to do in Pushkar.
Walking tour of the town
In a small place like Pushkar a walking tour is the best way to get the vibe of the place. It takes 15-20 minutes’ walk from the hotel to the Holy Lake through a lively market area. There were textiles and garment shops, handicraft stalls, eateries and miscellaneous stores on both sides of the road that led to the Holy Lake. Looking at the garments and accessories stores all around I figured out that Pushkar would be a good place for shopping. And I was right! We’ll talk about shopping later.
It was already 5:15 and a tea break was necessary. I tried mint tea. It was refreshing. After gulping our tea in a few quick sips we resumed our walk. By the time we reached the entrance of the Holy Lake I felt that I started liking the place. 🙂
View sunset at the Holy Lake
The holy lake is the lifeblood of Pushkar. It is the pulsating heart of this small Rajsthani town. As you step down the stairs of the Ghats you will instantly feel the sanctity of the place, a sense of calm and spirituality. Don’t forget to put your shoes off before you step down to the water.
When we finally reached our destination it was 5:30. The sun was approaching the horizon. The temples around the lake were gleaming in the golden streaks of setting sun. Our shadows grew taller. The pigeons flew back to their nests. The sunset at Pushkar lake is perhaps the most beautiful one I have experienced in Rajasthan.
Watch evening aarti at Bramha Temple
After enjoying a beautiful sunset at the lake we made our way to Bramha Temple or Jagatpita Brahma Mandir to witness the evening aarti (Hindu way of prayer). The temple, situated by the holy lake, is one of the oldest temples (2000 years approx.) dedicated to Lord Bramha who is believed to be the creator of this Hindu pilgrimage town.
Visit Vishnu Temple
The Vishnu Temple or Rangji Mandir is a unique gem among the cluster of temples in Pushkar. The majestic white temple in ancient South Indian style architecture is sure to impress a traveler at first sight.
Visit Shiva Temple
Sri Panchkund Shiva Temple is located withn a few kilometers from the lake in Pushkar. The legend says the temple was built by the five pandavas from Mahabharata.
Trek to Savitri Temple
Savitri Temple, dedicated to Savitri, the wife of Lord Bramha, is located on top of a hill overlooking the holy lake. The trek up the hill is toilsome, as you have to climb hundreds of steps. But the end result is quite rewarding. The breathtaking panorama of the town is enough to forget the pain of getting there.
Enjoy Camel Safari
Camel safari is a popular tourist activity in Pushkar. The safari takes you to the nearby villages and desert to give you a closer look to rural life, art and culture in Rajasthan. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to indulge in camel safari. I kept it in my wishlist for a second tour in Rajasthan. 🙂
Shopping in the town market
Pushkar is an ideal place for shopping Rajasthani items. You can buy colorful handmade tote bags; silk scarves; mirror-worked Rajasthani lehenga (pair of indigenous skirt and blouse), bags and purses; local-made oxidized metal jewellery and trinkets at competitive price. I bought a few bags and purses as souvenirs and a cute little set of lehenga for my little niece.
After a walking tour of Pushkar when we came back to the hotel I was a different person. I started my journey to Pushkar as a skeptic with an empty mind and came back a contented soul with a bundle of memories to cherish forever. Pushkar travel taught me to open my heart, to accept things as they come. I realized that we travel to find many of our preconceived notions about a place are actually wrong.
The next day we were on the road again on the way to Udaipur.