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Pushkar Mela, Pushkar

Photo credit: Mantra_man
Pushkar Mela, Pushkar
  • (worth a trip)
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  • Easy
  • Average
  • full day
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Pushkar is one of the most visited and most famous towns of Rajasthan

Pushkar Rajasthan
Rajasthani local food is the show stopper no matter where you go in Rajasthan. Some of the must try dishes while in the city include 'daal baati churma', 'pyaj kachori', 'bajre ki roti', and 'garlic chutney'. If you prefer non-vegetarian delicacies, then you cannot miss relishing 'lal maans' (meat cooked in red chillies’ curry), 'khad khargosh' (wild hare cooked and roasted underground), and 'safed maans' (meat cooked in curd). If you have a sweet tooth, then enjoy a piece of 'dil kushal', 'ghewar', and 'Churma Ladoo'.
Be careful of your belongings as the fair is overcrowded with tourists and locals. Also, bargain a lot before making a purchase. If you are travelling with kids, do not leave them unattended.

Known to be one of the world’s biggest camel fair, Pushkar Mela or Pushkar Fair is an annual celebration held in Pushkar, Rajasthan. The fair is 5 days long and is held on the banks of Pushkar Lake. Businessmen- rural and urban, attend this fair to sell and buy livestocks such as camels, goats, cows, and sheep. It is not only just a business exchange fair but also one of the major tourist attraction of the state of Rajasthan which attracts national as well as international crowd. It is believed that during the last day of the fair i.e. Kartik Purnima (full moon), all the 330 million Hindu deities visit the lake to bless the devotees. This is why, during the fair hundreds and thousands of devotees  gather to take a dip in the holy waters of Pushkar lake and pay homage at the Lord Brahma temple in Pushkar. Pushkar is also famous as the only place in the world to house the shrine of Lord Brahma, one of the three major deities of Hindu mythology.

 

Pushkar mela is not only limited to the livestock trading and religious gatherings. With the increase in number of tourists, the mela now holds several attractions for the attendees. Some of these attractions include competitions like “the best bride competition”, “longest moustache competition”, and “matka phod competition”. The latter is a competition where participants are normally blindfolded and have to break as many earthen pots as possible within the stipulated time. Off lately, the visitors at Pushkar mela also get to witness a friendly cricket match between the local club of Pushkar and a team of random foreign tourists.

 

Festival Highlights:

  1. Sacred bathing at the Pushkar Lake: It is believed that Pushkar is the oldest religious hub of India, and is one of the five top sacred places for Hindus, also known as Dham.It wont be incorrect to call it a land of 400 shrines, of which Lord Brahma shrine is the only one of its kind in the entire world. There are 52 ghats surrounding the lake. As per Hindu beliefs, a dip in the holy waters in Pushkar Lake, especially during the Kartik Purnima or full moon, rids you of all sins and helps you attain salvation.
  2. Lord Brahma Shrine: The current temple structure dates back to the 14th century, however, it is believed that the temple is no less than 2000 years old. Legends have it that Lord Brahma, while slewing the demon Vajranash who was trying to kill his children, dropped his lotus flower (pushpa) from his hand (kar) at three places in Pushkar. This created the three lakes known as the Jyeshta (eldest) Pushkar, the Madhya (middle) Pushkar, and the Kanistha (youngest) Pushkar. Brahma then decided to perform a fire-sacrifice for which he needed his wife to be seated next to him. However, due to a delay his wife Savitri couldn’t make it on time, and Brahma married Gayatri to perform the rituals. Upon her arrival at the fire-sacrifice, Savitri saw Gayatri at her place and infuriated cursed Brahma that he would never be worshipped, but later reduced the curse by allowing Pushkar to be the only place of worship for Brahma. Gayatri, endowed by all the powers from the ritual, diluted the curse and blessed Pushkar to not only be the only place where Lord Brahma would be worshipped for ages but also made it the supreme of all pilgrimages in the world. Since then, every devotee who takes a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake on the Kartik full moon or otherwise, completes his peace offering by paying homage at the Lord Brahma shrine.

 

Events inside the festival:

  1. Cattle Fair: Pushkar Mela is used synonymously with Cattle Fair. As mentioned before, the Cattle Fair held during Pushkar Mela is one of the biggest camel fairs in the world. Hoards of businessmen feed and breed best-in-class livestock including camels, cows, sheep, and goats for weeks and months, and before displaying their livestock at the fair, they spend quite some time decorating their livestock. Some also believe that this is not just one of the biggest but the biggest camel fair in the world.
  2. Amusements and attractions: Pushkar Mela is a 5 day lengthy celebration of business exchange, religious importance, and a plenty of other amusements to keep the tourists entertained at every moment. The Cattle Fair not only sees buying and selling of livestock but it also hosts competitions for the Camels. Amusing enough, there are fashion shows where the camel owners get to beautifully decorate their camels and take them on a pretentious runway in the middle of the desert where the fair is held. The camels are then judged based upon their health, breed, behaviour, and looks. However, the most interesting and hilarious competition involves maximum number of people trying to sit on a camel’s back. This obviously leads to a lot of pushing and pulling and falling which makes everybody laugh and enjoy the competition. At the end, the camel that accommodates the maximum number of people wins.
  3. Shopping and entertainment: Although the bathing and praying ceremonies of Pushkar Mela is of very high importance to HIndus and other Indians, however, for the people who love the vibrancy and brightness of ethnic Rajasthani culture there is a line of makeshift stalls showcasing beautiful textiles and jewellery from Rajasthan. The products on display are not only limited to human. There are particular stalls which sell decorative items for the cattles, such as saddles, beads, strings, and saddle-straps. Not only this, if you like the creativity of these people, do indulge in henna/mehndi and body tattoos.The environment is colorful and lively with all the music, dance, and folklores everywhere around you.

 

History and trivia:

  • History of Pushkar Mela: Hindu Mythology stated that in a fight between Lord Brahma and demon Vajranash who was trying to kill Brahma’s children, the parts of Brahma’s lotus flower fell from his hand at three places. These three places miraculously became three lakes known as Jyestha (eldest) Pushkar, Madhya (middle) Pushkar, and Kanishta (youngest) Pushkar. Later, Brahma came down to earth and names the city as Pushkar. Pushkar is derived from two hindi words – Pushpa (flower), and kar (hand). Thus, the name Pushkar denoted the flower which fell on earth from Brahma’s Hand. The last day of the 5 day fair is necessarily the Kartik purnima (full moon). It is believed that on this day all 330 million Hindu deities come to earth and gather around the lake, and whoever takes a bath in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake on the day is freed from all his sins and attains salvation.
  • Lord Brahma Temple: After winning the fight with the demon who was slaying Brahma’s children as well as many others, Brahma decided to come down to earth and host a yagna (fire-sacrifice). As per rituals, Brahma had to be present with his wife, Savitri, for the successful completion of the yagna. However, Savitri could not be present during the yagna as she was waiting for her companions. Thus, Brahma married Gayatri, a gurjar girl, and completed the yagna ritual. When Savitri arrived at the yagna,she saw Gayatri sitting besides Brahma at her designated place. She was so infuriated out of rage and jealousy that she cursed Brahma to be never worshipped anywhere in the world. After her anger settled, she reduced her curse and allowed Pushkar to be the only place on earth where he would be worshipped. Furthermore, Gayatri, who was endowed with all the powers from the yagna ritual, blessed Pushkar to be the highest place of pilgrimage importance. Thus, Pushkar happens to be the only place on earth to house Lord Brahma temple, which is an important part of the bathing ceremony. Devotees are to pay their homages at the Brahma temple after taking a dip in the holy waters for their wish to be fulfilled.
  • History of Pushkar: Pushkar is one of the oldest cities still existing in India. It is also one of the five dhams (religious places) and often known as the “Tirth Raj” – king of all pilgrimage sites. The city of Pushkar lies on the banks of Pushkar Lake. Although there is no account of when the city was built, however, Hindu mythology believes that the emergence of Pushkar has its roots in the Lord Brahma story. In hinduism, Lord Brahma is known as the creator, Lord Vishnu is known as the protector, and Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer. Thus, it is at times said that Pushkar was the first city ever created by Lord Brahma. Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 ghats where the devotees gather for the ceremonial bathing during Pushkar Mela. Pushkar is also known to have over 400 temples of which 80 are major and rest are small temples.


Opening hours

2015 - 18th November to 25th November
2016 - 8th November to 15th November

How to get there

The nearest airport is Jaipur which is connected to all the major airports in the country.
The nearest railhead is Ajmer junction railway station, at a distance of just 11 km from Pushkar. Ajmer is connected with the major cities of Rajasthan and the country. Pushkar is easily connected to the major roadways and national highways of Rajasthan and India. The Marwar bus stand is linked to places like Delhi, Jodhpur and Bikaner. The other stand is Ajmer bus stand, at a distance of 11 km in the east of Pushkar. Regular buses ply from Pushkar to Ajmer, Jaipur, Indore and Nagda every 15 minutes.

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