Legend has it that Lord Brahma dropped a lotus flower on the ground, and where it lay a lake appeared. Around the lake, the holy city of Pushkar was built – one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus, and a favourite with foreign visitors. Drought in recent years has reduced the lake itself to little more than a pond, but the ghats (steps down to the lake) and their respective temples still maintain their attraction, none more so than the unique Brahma Temple. In accordance with strict Hindu beliefs, meat, alcohol and cigarettes are prohibited in Pushkar – although you shouldn't be surprised to see all three on offer, albeit surreptitiously!
At the peak of every year, Pushkar is inundated with visitors for the annual Camel Fair. Traditionally a market for camels and livestock, the event has evolved and activities such as racing and sports are now an integral part of the happening and draws an international crowd.
Although small, Pushkar has a more relaxed feel about it and is probably one of the more 'manageable' places in Rajasthan...meaning you can meander through the streets on foot without straying too far, or getting lost.
More from Pushkar
The Pushkar vibeThe town has become a standard stop on the backpackers route since it is small and easy to navigate by foot and marijuana, whilst officially only used in religious ceremonies is apparently relatively easy to come by. It can be quite difficult to reconcile the revered holiness of Pushkar with the the tourist focused atmosphere in the town. However despite the lack of water in the lake and the backpackers vibe, the town is still worthwhile visiting during the Camel Fair in October or November, depending on when the full moon falls in the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. Hundreds of thousands of Indians, tourists, camels, horses and cattle descend on the town for 5 days dressed in their best outfits (especially the camels adorned with pom poms, silver metalwork and shaved decoratively) to buy livestock, jewellery, watch camel races and participate in one of India's oldest melas.
Holy PushkarPushkar is one of the five holiest places for Hindus and has the only Brahma temple in India, situated around a lake that is believed to have formed when Brahma slew a demon with a lotus flower and where the flower fell the lake was created. Hindus believe that bathing in the lake waters can cleanse sin and cure skin diseases. At present, due to deforestation in the area, the lake is very nearly dry, with only a few pools of water left that only the very bravest would bathe in. Be aware at the ghats that anyone offering you “lucky marigolds” will demand money so don't accept any flowers you are offered.