I have a tendency to sleep during my car journeys… and this is what I did moving ahead of Salasar. My daydream slumber was broken by some murmurs which grew louder as my eyes opened wider. Our car had halted at the toll tax booth just a km ahead of my next destination. The murmurs were those of one of the numerous guides who roam around here coaxing tourists to hire them. But my dad wasn’t interested. Neither was I. Fully awake now, I rolled down my car window to savor the smells of a land so sacred to the Hindus that no pilgrimage is said to be complete without a visit to this holy place.
Welcome to ‘The Land of Lord Brahma – Pushkar’. Lord Brahma - The Hindu deity of creation, resides here, just like Lord Shiva resides in Varanasi. No wonder then, it has the distinction of having the main and perhaps the only Brahma Temple in the world. Even the picturesque Pushkar Lake is said to have been created by Lord Brahma himself and has the same sanctity for Hindu’s as the Mansarover in Tibet.
Various Hindu Holy Scriptures like the Padma Purana, Mahabharata, Skanda Purana, etc have illustrated the significance of this sacred city. They have called it ‘Pushkar Raj’ – The king of all pilgrimages. Hence for most believers, it is essential to visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime. The ambience of peace and spirituality that this tiny tranquil town exhibits, casts a magical spell and lures not only the Indians but also the foreigners. Hence, in recent years, it has become a popular destination for foreign tourists too.
During the month of Kartik (Oct/Nov), this sleepy little town comes to life with the colorful and world famous ‘Pushkar Cattle Fair’. Very few, if at all any, fairs in the world can match the liveliness of this fair. Lacs of visitors from all over the world come to witness this magical event. The 12 day fair is characterized by camel races, dazzling displays of bangles, brassware and other religious activities in addition to the camel and cattle trading which is also the major attraction of the mela (fest).
Where to stay in Pushkar
When in Pushkar, there are hotels and hotels of every budget, shape and size. The room tariffs vary according to the time – discounted during the off season and very high through the fair.
On my earlier trips to Pushkar, I have stayed at the RTDC tourist village huts (located opposite the Pushkar mela ground). Each hut can accommodate 2 persons and gives a very nice rustic, village feel. The ambience and the atmosphere are very comfortable here. But this time the costs had spiraled up to 5 times to Rs. 2500/hut (it does during the fair but not otherwise and we had not gone even close to the fair).
Thus, we set out in search of another staying place. My eyes fell on this board ‘Hotel Red Rose – A convenient place of stay’. But to my surprise it was written Gujarati. Since we had been to Gujarat a couple of months back, I just felt like checking it out. It was very reasonable and the rooms were large, clean and eminently comfortable. To top it all, it is situated very close to the Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple. The family, who own the place, were very hospitable and ensured that we felt at home. The only drawback, there is no in-house restaurant and one has to scout for it outside. Still, I will say its good value for money!
Hotel Red Rose
145-2772344, 9414300289, 9414314143
Hotel RTDC Tourist village
Where to eat in Pushkar
Pushkar is full of eateries with lots of rooftop and garden restaurants to choose from. Located opposite the Red Rose hotel, Maheshwari Bhawan Dharmshala is one of the best places to eat if you are looking for authentic Rajasthani food. We took coupons (available around 1 hr before) and had our dinner at 8 pm. Simple thali fare, the food was reasonable (Rs. 40/ thali), unlimited and above all very tasty. The kitchen was just opposite the seating area and it was fascinating to watch them cook rotis on a coal stove. Wow, it was a good old way of cooking and the whole experience was equally good.
How to reach Pushkar
Pushkar is on the edge of the Rajasthan desert and is well linked to important nearby cities by roads. It is - 10 km from Ajmer (nearest railway station), 175 km from Salasar and Khatu, 260 km from Jhunjhunu and 140 km from Jaipur (nearest airport).