About Pushkar Lake
Pushkar Lake is located in the sacred town of Pushkar in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. As per the Hindu scriptures, it is the “Tirtha Raj”- the king of pilgrimage sites related to a water-body. Pushkar also houses the most prominent temple of Brahma. The shimmering water of the lake, reflecting the clear sky and majestic hills, is a beautiful sight.
The beautiful lake is surrounded by hills on three sides and overlooking vast desert on the fourth. The surrounding hills are home to many interesting sites like the “Agasthya” caves in snake mountain. According to the legends, the water of the lake holds special powers and a dip in the lake can wash away sins accumulated over 100 years.
What makes this beautiful lake even more magnificent is the presence of over 500 Hindu temples around the lake. Fifty-two bathing ghats surround the lake where devotees take sacred dips that are said to cleanse the soul of worldly sins.
The name “Pushkar” is especially famous because of the grand Pushkar Fair that is held in Pushkar around Kartik Poornima( In the months of October-November). The auspicious event draws thousands and thousands of devotees every year who come to the lake to seek salvation. The lake drains a catchment of the Aravalli hills and is rich in fish and other aquatic life.
How to Reach Pushkar Lake
Credits: Francisco Anzola
There are two bus stations in Pushkar. One is the Ajmer bus station which is about 11 km east of Pushkar town and connects Pushkar to significant tourist locations around like Ajmer, Indore and Jaipur. The other is Marwar bus stand which is in the north of Pushkar and links to places like Jodhpur, Bikaner and Delhi.
You can travel in local conveyance like Rickshaws and taxis to reach the Pushkar lake from the bus station. You can also hop on shared autos from the station for a cheaper ride. City buses are also available to the lake.
Best Time to Visit Pushkar Lake
The best time to bask in the splendor of the beautiful Pushkar lake is from November to March. The town of Pushkar has a dry and hot climate with extreme summers and winters. During the months of November-March, the weather is halcyon, and you can fully enjoy your trip. Days are cool and chilly winds blow over the town during the night.
At night and early in the morning, the water of the lake can be freezing. The vibrant culture and festivities of Pushkar stay throughout the year. During the Kartik Poornima which falls in October-November, you can also witness the grandeur and spiritual augustness of the Pushkar Fair near the lake. You can also enjoy the day-long safaris in the desert.
What Not to Miss at Pushkar Lake
Credits: Gwen Fran
1. Holy dips: Pushkar has 52 beautiful ghats(steps leading into the lake) where pilgrims can take sacred baths and attain salvation. These ghats hold extreme religious importance in the Hindu texts and mythology. Thousands of devotees who visit Pushkar consider the water of the lake to be pure and soul-cleansing.
Especially during the time of the Pushkar Fair, it becomes the most sought-after activity to do in Pushkar. There is no entry fee for either Indians or Foreigners.
2. Camel Safari: You can witness the beautiful vistas of Aravalli hills on a thrilling camel ride. Pushkar hosts one of the best camel safaris in the world. Experience the literal highs and lows when you sail on the ‘ship of the desert’. The safari takes you around the majestic sand dunes of Rajasthan.
It provides an ethereal experience of seeing the desert unfold before your eyes. Visitors can enjoy the enchanting panorama of the sunset and sunrise while being seated on top of a camel. The camels are beautifully decorated like a bride with designer saddles and shimmering pieces of clothing. The safari costs about Rs. 1000 per person. The duration of the camel safari varies from 2 to 3 hours, depending on your package.
3. Sightseeing: Pushkar is dotted with places of immense religious and historical importance. You can travel around and visit several temples, palaces and bazaars in Pushkar. Some of the most iconic sites to visit in Pushkar includes Brahma Temple, Pushkar Palace and the Savitri Temple.
The Brahma temple is an example of extravagant Rajasthani architecture. A trek uphill to reach the Savitri temple will be a thrilling experience. The Pushkar palace will provide you with a glimpse of the Regality of Rajput rulers.
4. Shopping: If you're a fan of traditional Indian artefacts that are a testament of brilliant artistry, Pushkar is a heaven for you. Here you will explore the authentic culture of Rajasthan in local bazaars as well as in showrooms. Some of the must-buy things in Pushkar bazaars include brass utensils, beautifully clad puppets, traditional Rajasthani jewellery, embroidered clothes, wooden artefacts and glass paintings.
Shopping hotspots in Pushkar include the Sarafa Bazaar and Sadar Bazaar. The Saraf bazaar features bead bangles, leather products, garments and also some beautifully designed camel covers. On the other side, the Sadar bazaar houses an excellent collection of books, Rajasthani costumes, footwears and showpieces for your living room.
Attractions Near Pushkar Lake
1. Brahma Temple: The temple dedicated to the creator of the universe, Brahma, is an architectural delight and a religious hotspot. It has many myths connected to it. Some believe that Brahma killed a demon here who used to torment innocent mortal creatures. It is located near the lake, and most pilgrims prefer to worship at the temple after taking a holy dip at the lake.
The temple also features the worship of the wife of Brahma, Gayatri. The worship can be carried out only by ascetic saints. The temple has a beautiful red pinnacle and symbols related to mythology and womanhood.
2. Pushkar Palace: The royal palace is one of the most prominent Rajput palaces in Rajasthan. It draws visitors in thousands who come here to have a peek into the detailed architecture of Rajasthan. It is now a heritage hotel that provides a comfortable stay to the tourists who visit Pushkar.
You will enjoy the taste of regal lifestyle and hospitality here. The palace features beautifully decorated rooms, manicured lawns and vast lobby that transpose you into the bygone era. The palace offers several facilities to its guests like camel cart ride, steam bath, Jacuzzi and sauna bath, camping site and inhouse bar.
3. Gurudwara Sahib: The beautiful gurudwara commemorates the visit of Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in the early 18th century. It is a marvelous place which provides peace and serenity to its visitors. The pristine white building gives off a pure and enchanting aura. Gurudwaras are known for their warm hospitality. Do not miss the mouth-watering Langar at the gurdwara.
4. Savitri Temple: The temple dedicated to Goddess Savitri is located on the Ratnagiri hill. It is a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus. It provides a thrilling trekking experience to the devotees. Devotees feel spiritual accomplishment after climbing 200 stairs to visit the temple. You will find idols of Goddess Savitri and Goddess Gayatri in the temple who are the wives of Brahma.
According to religious beliefs, worship of Goddess Savitri always occurs first; that is why the temple is named after her. Cable car rides to the temple are also available which provide a splendid view of the whole town.
5. Pushkar camel Fair: The annual livestock fair held during Kartik Poornima is celebrated just like a festival in Pushkar. The fair has now become a tourist attraction with several traditional activities and events organized by the tourism department in addition to camel trading. The beautifully clad camel can be seen walking the ramp, dancing, racing and taking part in beauty contests.
There are musicians trained in classic Rajasthani ragas, acrobats and snake charmers entertaining the masses. You can also enjoy folk and fusion music concerts, heritage walks and arts and crafts exhibitions at the fair.
Other Essential Information About Pushkar Lake
Credits: Rod Waddington
- Location: Pushkar lake is situated in Pushkar, in Ajmer City of the state of Rajasthan, 305001
- Timings: The lake is open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. One can visit the lake for a total duration of 3 hours.
- Distance from Pushkar bus stand: The distance between Pushkar lake and Pushkar bus stand is about 800 m. It takes around eleven minutes to reach the lake walking from the Pushkar bus stand.
Credits: patrick colgan
History of Pushkar Lake
The lake boasts of a rich cultural and religious history. It finds mention in years old sacred Hindu texts. The lake is primarily associated with Brahma. The legend has it that when Lord Brahma killed Asura Vajranabha, three petals fell off his divine lotus flower and fell at three parts.
In every part, a spring was created in their place, which is known as Pushkar. According to the legend, later Brahma is also performed Yagna at the site. However, at the end of Yagna, Brahma’s wife inflicted a curse on him that people will only worship him at this place.
The archaeological dating of the lake suggests it existed even in the 4th century. It also finds mention in other historical sources- like inscriptions on Sanchi pillars and records of foreign travellers. The lake saw a down period during Mughal reign but later regained its glory and prestige as an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
Significance of Pushkar Lake
The Pushkar lake is known for a unique tradition. On the evening of the full moon night known as ‘Kartik Poornima’ during the October to November transition duration (month of Kartik according to Hindu calendar), taking a bath in the lake is considered to be especially significant.
Ghats at Pushkar LakeCredits: Nagarjun
Fifty-two bathing ghats brimming with sacred water surround the Pushkar lake. Various temples and places of worship adorn most ghats at Pushkar lake. Ten of these ghats that have other ghats linked to them have been deemed ‘Monuments of National Importance.`` The names of these ghats are Saptarishi Ghats, Gwalior Ghat, Varaha Ghat, Dadhich Ghat, Kota Ghat, Gau ghat, Yag Ghat, Karni Ghat, and Gangaur Ghat.
Because of the rare belief of local people that the water around each ghat has a curative property, the ghats attract numerous people from all over the world. These beliefs come from the stories and folklore surrounding the ghats. These stories are also often the source of the names of these ghats. For instance, the Varaha Ghat is named so because Lord Vishnu emerged out of its waters as a boar, the Brahma Ghat is named so because it is believed that Lord Brahma bathed in it.
The Ghats are visited by many people; hence, there is a specific set of rules that need to be followed while exploring them. These rules include being respectful to all rituals, beliefs and sages in the vicinity, and remaining barefoot while on the ghats. One is expected to follow these rules to maintain the religious sanctity of the ghats.
Pushkar Fair at Pushkar Lake
The Pushkar fair, also known as ‘Kartik fair’ is an annual livestock festival that takes place on the banks of the Pushkar lake every year. Thousands of folks rush to the lakeside on this occasion to witness the numerous cultural events that take place during this day.
These events include tug of war competition, longest moustache contests, pot-shattering ('matki phod') contest, a bridal contest among many others. The lake bustles with happiness, laughter and energy during this day as it gets flooded by religious and cultural enthusiasts.
Places to Stay Near Pushkar Lake
1. Pushkar Lake Palace
Located near Brahma Ghat, Badi Basti in Pushkar, this beautiful, pet-friendly restaurant offers a mesmerising view of the Pushkar Lake. Having extremely homely and cosy rooms and impressive interiors, this 2-star hotel provides guests with free wifi, free parking and free breakfast.
2. Hotel Kanhaia Haveli
This exquisite 2-star hotel with comfortable rooms decorated with perched balconies is situated at Choti Basti, near Mali Mandir. The hotel is adorned with a roof-top restaurant that serves the most delicious local cuisines. The perks of staying in this hotel include free wifi and free vehicle parking.
3. Moustache Pushkar
Located at the Brahma temple road, near Narsingh Mandir, this quaint little hotel is jewelled by bewitching interiors inspired by the culture of Rajasthan. With modern air-conditioned rooms and open lawns, this hotel provides guests with free parking and wifi.
4. Elephant Pushkar
Located at the Main Market, in Badi Basti, this amazing 3-star restaurant is decked with plush interiors, a great restaurant, and a fitness centre. The service provided at this hotel is beyond excellence, and the staff here is extremely polite. The hotel has a unique modern vibe to it that cannot otherwise be matched by other hotels in the vicinity.
Places to Eat Near Pushkar Lake
1. Cafe Lake View Pushkar
Situated at Sadaf Bazar 187, in Badri Ghat, this little restaurant offers a beautiful view of the Pushkar Lake. Boasting of both international and local cuisines, the restaurant becomes all the better because of its quick service and courteous staff.
2. Pawan Restaurant
Located at Narsingh Ghat in Choti Basti, this vegetarian restaurant offers a varied range of dishes for the more religiously inclined population of the visitors. Along with its soothing interiors, the restaurant is famous for its low prices and extremely delicious meals.
3. Raju Terrace Garden Restaurant
This roof-top restaurant located at Main Bazar in Badi Basti offers one the chance to enjoy great views of the Pushkar Lake while eating the most delicious food. This multicuisine restaurant is always vibrant, with live music and bright lights.
4. Honey Dew Cafe and Restaurant
This cozy cafe located at Kapra Bazar in Badi Basti offers the best food one can taste here. With the glowing ambience and comfortable furniture, this vegetarian-friendly restaurant is the perfect place to spend your evening in with loved ones.
Tips Before Visiting Pushkar Lake
- Carry drinking water with you and also put on some sunglasses and a hat for protection against the scorching sun.
- If you’re travelling during day time, wear something light with bright colours. During the night, when the atmosphere gets a little chilly, warm clothes will keep you cosy.
- If you’re planning a camel safari, carry dry food with you since you may have to travel through remotely located villages where won’t find places to eat.
- If you’re carrying your phone with you, remember to take a power bank as well.
- Be prepared for a hike in charges of various packages in the peak season of October-November.