Pushkar Travel Guide
Pushkar is an oasis in a vast desert and few who visit this magical place fail to fall for its charms. Situated around a small lake, the sleepy town is sacred to Hindu pilgrims and its origins can be traced back to the 4th Century B.C.
The spectacular desert backdrop, tiny streets and shops, the quaint restaurants and the shimmering lake make Pushkar a top backpacking destination in India and to many, a perfect honeymoon retreat. Life is slow paced and locals are some of the most friendly in all of India.
The legend of the lake's creation begins when the Demon Vajra Nabha kills Brahma's (the creator God) children. In retaliation Brahma struck out with his own weapon, a lotus flower. The demon was killed on impact and the petals of the lotus flower fell in three places, one of them being Pushkar where a lake sprung into existence. As a result, a dip in the waters here wash away all sins and ensure salvation. The water here also has healing properties, in particular skin ailments.
The lake attracts pilgrims from all over India who come to bath in the holy waters. Many ghats (steps) run down to the water's edge and are usually full of people washing and bathing etc. You too can go and have a bath but just pay a little respect to the pilgrims, they have travelled an awfully long way to come and get wet so try not to make too much noise or splash around too much. Remove your shoes before reaching the ghats and do not smoke on them.
There are loads of temples here including one dedicated to Brahma himself and the only one of its kind. Although the temples are not the main reason to visit Pushkar, they are worth a visit, some more than others. Here are some of the most popular.
Worth it simply for the breathtaking view, the Savitri Temple is about a 45 minute walk up an awful lot of steps. Go either for sunrise or sunset for a truly breathtaking view.
A really beautiful temple built at the beginning of the 19th Century and described by one English man of the time as "by far the most remarkable, for the elegance of its structure and the nature of its ornaments, of all the temples Pushkar boasts of."
The heavily detailed exterior of the town's largest and most intricate Temple is awe-inspiring. It was built by a team of skilled masons who were bought up all the way from South India. Definitely have a good look around if you get the chance.
Pushkar Fair/Camel Fair
Most people have ever been to India will likely have heard of Pushkar Camel Fair - you would not be alone in thinking that is what it is all about. But, the Camel Fair is only part of a much bigger event that turns this quiet and sleepy town into a frenzy of excitement, activity colour and noise.
The first five days of the fair are all about the trading. Anything from camels, horses, cows, goats, and sheep are traded, Hard bargains are struck and often heated auctions take place.... Fascinating viewing!
For the rest of the festival you will witness some extraordinary events including some fairly hilarious camel racing.....
For the visitor the fair leaves an indelible mark on one's soul. It is an unparalleled and unforgettable experience that is sure to captivate and mesmerize.
Take what you will from what I have written and the photos I have put up but the only way to appreciate this spectacle, is actually to be there...
Follow this link to some more photos and Videos of the Pushkar Camel Fair
Getting There and Away
The closest airport is in Jaipur, about 140 km away. Jaipur is quite a large airport so you can reach it from pretty much anywhere in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin etc.
Unfortunately the town has no rail station but there is one at Ajmer situated about 11 Km away. From here you can get to the town by a bus, taxi or if you're feeling stupid (like me), by rickshaw. This should cost about 150 - 250 Rupees (about two pounds)
Ajmer is well connected to most places in Rajasthan including Jaipur (about 3 - 4 hours), Delhi, Agra, Ahemedabad, Mt Abu, Jodhpur and Udaipur. The fastest train connecting Pushkar to Delhi and Jaipur is the Pink City Express.
A good selection of buses run from Ajmer to the rest of the state. You can take private or public buses, both are much the same. The roads in Rajasthan are relatively good compared to the rest of India so expect a reasonably comfy journey.
Some of the key destinations are Jaipur: 138 kms, Delhi: 392 kms, 526 km, Jaisalmer 490 km and Bikaner: 233 kms. From Ajmer take a local bus or a taxi/rickshaw.
When to go
The town is extremely hot throughout the summer so you will probably want to avoid going there between early May through to late September.
Between the months of October and April the weather is amazing although it can get a bit chilly in the evenings during December and January.
Follow this link for more information on The Indian Climate and when to go.
This is a great video about Pushkar, just turn your volume up