Friday, September 10, 2010

Pushkar Lake


    Next morning, we walked down to the Varah ghat which is one of the main ghats at the Pushkar Lake (the other two being Brahma ghat and Gau ghat). The narrow lanes leading upto the ghat from the Brahma Temple are full of shops selling a range of goods like bangles, brassware, and clothes; though I find them a tad overpriced for the budget Indian pocket.

Monkeys on Rooftops - Pushkar lanes
[ Monkeys on Rooftops ]

Along the way, you will come across guides offering a piece of history, Pandas (Brahmin priests) trying hard to vie for your attention and monkeys sitting pretty on rooftops probably gazing down on the scenes below.

    The picturesque Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 ghats, all done in pristine white color and in Rajputana style architecture, built over the years by various Kings and nobles. The lake was formed by Lord Brahma at this place where a lotus had fallen down from His hands (Read the whole story here). During the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov), at the time of the 5 day Pushkar fair, it is said that all the Gods and Goddesses are present here to bestow their blessings. Lacs of pilgrims from far and wide come to attend the fair, take a holy dip, perform various religious activities and pay obeisance to the Brahma Temple.

Top View of the dried Pushkar Lake
[ Top View of the dried Pushkar Lake ]

    The lake was devoid of water (when I had visited in May) as it was being cleaned to prepare it for the Pushkar fair. But small kunds (pools) were made at the ghats so that the devotees could carry out their religious activities. Photography is not allowed at the ghats; but since the lake was dry, the rule was relaxed and hence people were happily clicking away.


Devotees performing rites and rituals at the Ghats of Pushkar
Devotees performing rites and rituals at the Ghats of Pushkar
[ Devotees performing various activities at the Ghats ]

    The ghats resonate with the sights and smells of thousands of pilgrims who gather everyday to perform various religious practices. Some are seen taking the customary holy dip and offering prayers to the sun god, some lighting oil lamps (Deep daan) and incense sticks and some meditating with their eyes closed, some others can also be seen performing profound rites of passage like Pind daan and Tarpan which require the help of a priest; but almost all of them seem to be absorbed in intense thoughts of salvation fully convinced that the sacred waters of the lake will wash all their sins away and cleanse their soul (To know more about these rites and rituals click here).

A lady performing Deep Daan - Pushkar
[ A lady performing Deep Daan ]

Offering water to the Sun God at the Pushkar Lake
[ A woman offering water to the Sun God ]

A group of pilgrims performing a puja assisted by a Panda at the Pushkar Lake
[ A group of pilgrims performing a puja 
assisted by a priest at the Pushkar Lake ]

Be it the locals or the tourists, everyone here forms an individual bond with the water, held together tightly by that intangible thread called ‘Faith’. The water of the lake is also said to have healing properties and skin diseases are believed to be cured by taking a bath here.

    After sprinkling a few drops onto myself, I descended a few steps of the ghat until my feet felt the cool waters. I lit a diya and spent a few quiet moments in prayer…I climbed back up and strolled around for a while. Just besides the lake, the pigeons quietly picked the grains fed to them by the pilgrims. Some cows had made their way in too!

Pigeons having their grains at the Pushkar Lake
[ Besides the lake, beneath the skies, 
fluttering and dancing in the breeze… the pigeons ]

Cow at the Varah Ghat, Pushkar
[ A cow surrounded by the pigeons… Together making for a pretty picture ]

    No rowing boats, no monumental princely mansions around, no ritualistic evening Aarti and no Holy river Ganga… still I could not help but flash on the similar set of stairs I had descended a few months back in the City of Light – Varanasi… What differs is the name, the place and the legacy… the activities, the atmosphere, the aura remains the same!!


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27 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. These are my favorite photos EVER. Really!

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  2. Lovely Pictures and nice description!!

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  3. Mine too - this is your most beautiful post so far, as far as the pix are concerned. You're getting good Arti! Have a great time out there ;)

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  4. Dear Arti
    Very nice write up and photos. I cant believe Pushkar looks like this, the lake is really gone !!!
    But few days back I saw a news item and photo too,, the lake is full now, the way it used to be.
    I must go and have look before the tourist season starts
    have a nice weekend

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  5. Hey Arti,

    Great photos! I especially loved the last click. Its so interesting and beautiful :-)

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  6. GORGEOUS photos. They make me really miss the motherland ...

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  7. Now what exactly is a ghat? I'm not sure, I have not heard that word before. The second picture is georgous, thw water so smooth and peaceful with the mountain overlooking everything. And wonderful pictures of the birds in flight. I'm loving the woman with the bright, colorful robe on as she sends her oil lamp out, that picture could be framed and be very representational of faith.

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  8. Thanks dear, for taking us there through your post and pics!!

    US Masala

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  9. Another fascinating and beautiful post. Thanks for this.

    Have a great day, Boonie

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  10. @Ginny
    The area surrounding any sacred water body such as lake or river, where stairs are built leading upto the water, is known as a 'Ghat'.
    And the colourful robe you are talking about is known as 'Sari'.

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  11. it looks so peaceful over there...nice pics..

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  12. hi Arti,

    Loved ur pictures, first time here.happy to follow ur blog.
    do visit my blog if time permits,
    www.premascook.com

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  13. beautiful pictures... the lake is lovely and the pigeons are amazing...

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  14. so interesting....thanks for the journey...

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  15. Dear Art, what an incredible tour; I remember coming by a while back and I was amazed at the world here that I have never seen. THOSE MONKEYS ON THE ROOF! WOWOWOWWWW!!! Thank you for coming my way today to see my pearl post! So very kind....Anita

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  16. nice travel photos. keep going and i will be visiting your photo blog in times.

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  17. Thanks for telling me that you replied to me here. I don't ususally return to the same post once I've commented, so I'm glad you let me know! Well, there's a word that I will never forget now! I did know what a sari is, but could not tell if that was what she is wearing, since she's bending over. I don't think we have any ghats in this country, but I can surely see India's need for them.

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  18. hi aarti, you are capturing such superb locations .... n i love the first picture of the ghat with the birds flying...perfect moment ... i am enjoying every post of urs ... keep posting dear

    Satya
    http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

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  19. Fabulous traveloque, but what really got me were the cow among the pigeons and the MONKEYS ON THE ROOF!!!

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  20. Sad the lake is drying up...loved the cow and the gopikas!

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  21. Arti -- all the pictures are fabulous and make me want to learn more. I almost couldn't stop staring at the first one and those monkeys on the roof.

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  22. Good description, loved pigeons.

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  23. nice pics... the lake looks good too,,, it was probably cleaned before the fair.. when i visited it, it was dirty and green and we coudnt even step in!!!

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  24. What an amazing post - I love these photos, they must be my favourite so far. Those pigeons though, my idea of a nightmare and so unlike the women making the offerings. Simply wonderful, many thanks for sharing.

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  25. those pictures make me want to go to the Pushkar Lake. amazing! :)

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  26. Great and informative post, as usual!!

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