Pushkar is not your usual traveller’s bucket-list lakeside town.
It is one of India’s oldest and most mythologically-significant pilgrimage spot!
In fact, Pushkar is also called the ‘Tirtha Raj’, meaning that it is the ultimate pilgrimage spot among the Hindus. It is also one of the five ‘Panch Sarovar’ i.e. the five most sacred lakes in the Hindu mythology. People believe that a dip in Pushkar lake’s water can rid you of sins and diseases.
It’s no wonder that this small town boasts of nearly 400 temples!
Pushkar finds mention in not only ancient Indian scriptures and epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana but also in 5th-century Chinese travel records and the western Muslim empire’s documents.
A Lake Created By Lord Brahma
Pushkar’s mythology is deeply rooted in Lord Brahma’s folklore.
According to the legend, a demon called Vajra Nabha killed off Lord Brahma’s children. In an act of rage and revenge, Brahma slew Vajra Nabha with a lotus flower. These petals from the lotus fell on to the earth to give rise to the Pushkar lake. Fascinating, isn’t it?
The Unusual Temple Of Brahma
Lord Brahma is usually not worshipped amongst Hindus. It’s believed that Lord Shiva cursed Brahma after becoming enraged about his materialistic tendencies. This curse entailed that no mortal would ever pray to Lord Brahma. Cruel that is.
However, Pushkar is home to one of the few, if not the only temple in the world where Lord Brahma is worshipped. The story goes that Lord Brahma’s wife, Saraswati, insisted that she would only accept a shrine dedicated to her if Lord Brahma got a shrine as well. And so the Brahma temple of Pushkar was built back in the 14th century (though the original temple is believed to be built much earlier).
Apart from the Brahma temple, there are hundreds of other temples in Pushkar dedicated to various Hindu deities. Many of them were damaged and destroyed during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century.
However, with the help of many subsequent kingdoms and governments, these temples have been rebuilt and repaired. It has been the collective efforts of Indian civilization that has kept alive the mythology and folklore of Pushkar, making it one of the world’s most important pilgrimage and tourist spot. And you should definitely not shy away from a visit here, especially when hostels in Pushkar are this dirt cheap!