The holy city of Pushkar is also called the city of temples.
There are more than 400 hundred temples in Pushkar but the main
attraction being the temple of Lord Brahma, the only temple in
India dedicated to Brahma. This otherwise sleepy town echoes
with hectic activity during the Pushkar Camel Fair and festival.
The only standing Hindu temple in India dedicated to
Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, the
structure around the temple was built in the 14th
century and stands on a high platform near Pushkar
lake. Brahma is one of the Holy Trinity in Hinduism,
sharing the honour with Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva
the Destroyer. Although a very large number of temples
can be found all over India dedicated to Shiva and
Vishnu, there are very few temples for Brahma, this
being one of the holiest one.Marble steps lead up to
the temple where a silver turtle lies embossed in the
floor facing the sanctorum.
marble floor around the turtle is littered with
hundreds of silver coins embedded in the floor, and so
are the walls of the temple. Images of the peacock,
the vehicle of Brahma’s consort Saraswati, adorn the
temple walls. Brahma here is shown in a life-size form
with four hands and four faces, facing four different
directons. A hans (goose, the official carrier of
Brahma) spans the gateway to the temple which is
crowned with a red spire. A small statue of the milk
goddess Gayatri (whom Brahma married) near Brahma’s
idol is called Chaumurti. Steps within the silver-doored
sanctuary lead down into a small cave which is a Hindu
temple of Lord Shiva.
The Varah temple of Hindu was built in the 12th century and, and
the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb is said to have destroyed it.
Aurangzeb was understandably rather upset with the huge statue
of Varah, the god with the body of a man and the head of a boar.
However, Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur thought differently,
and in 1727 reconstructed the temple which now has a highly
decorated inner sanctum where an idol of Varah is placed.
The 19th century Mahadeva temple with its five-faced statue of
Mahadeva is made entirely of white marble. This Hindua temple is
remarkable for its elegance of structure, and is perhaps the
finest of all temples in and around Ajmer and Pushkar.
The Ramavaikunth temple is an intricately carved Hindu
temple dating to the 1920 and has images of 361
deities. Its high stone spires atop pagodas and the
rest of the temple were built by masons especially
brought for this purpose from south India. The Savitri
temple is located on top of a hill overlooking the
lake. The hike up the hill is long and arduous via a
stairway built in the 4th century, and if panoramic
views are a necessity for you, the trek will be worth
it. This temple is dedicated to Brahma’s wife Savitri
and its origin dates back to over 2,000 years.
The Gayatri temple on the other side of Pushkar is in honour of
the wife who sat by Brahma’s side in Savitri’s absence during
Brahma’s ceremonial sacrifice. Legend says that Gayatri was an
untouchable and to purify her she was put into the mouth of a
cow and taken out from the other end. To reach the Gayatri Hindu
temple the best route to take is from behind the bus stand and
walk up a hill. Both the Savitri and Gayatri temples are closed
– so to say – during lunch hours and the best time to go is
either before noon or in the evening.
Two Raghunath temples exist in Pushkar; one is the old one and
the other is relatively new. The Old Raghunath temple was built
in 1823 and houses images of Venugopal, Narasimha (Vishnu’s
fourth incarnation) and Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. But
there’s a bit of a problem for foreign tourists visiting these
two temples because of one little sign which says "Foreigners
not allowed." These are probably the only binary temples in
India where such segregation exists.
Pap Mochini Temple
Towards the northen section of Pushkar is the Pap Mochini
temple, not really popular for its architecture or deity but for
the simple belief that anyone who kills a Brahmin will be
purified of this deed by visiting the Hindu temple, of course,
all that was applicable in olden times, for today a murder is a
murder and the law would hear nothing else.
Where there is a mass of holy water there will be bathing ghats,
and in Pushkar it is the same as all over India. Pushkar lake is
surrounded by hundreds of ghats where Hindu pilgrims assemble to
bathe, pray or just loiter around. Removing ones shoes would be
a good idea unless you want to be glared or shouted at!
Photography is a strict no-no, especially of bathing women.
Pushkar is quite used to tourists, but unlike Varanasi, is home
for orthodox Hindus, and a little care to observe Hindu
traditions can help.