As told by Vinta Wagh
I am not a religious person, so when I decide to visit this hotbed of religious activity every four years, everyone who knows me, is surprised. Pushkar, Rajasthan literally means a blue lotus flower, legends about this settlement are abundant but the one that makes sense to me is that a blue lotus that fell from the hands of Lord Brahma created Pushkar and its lake.
What is not to love about this place?
The famed waters of the Pushkar Lake wash away the sins of a lifetime, this amongst other reasons attract many like me.
Brahma is the residing deity in Pushkar and has, amongst a sea of temples, one dedicated to him. The Brahma Temple in Pushkar is unique because there isn’t another temple in the world dedicated to him. These points make Pushkar an immensely holy place for pilgrims.
However I choose to return to this place for a very simple reason: I am happy in Pushkar. The contentment on my face is visible to those who travel with me as they are people I see everyday back home. Everyone questions my travel plans as the Pushkar Fair follows just a few days later, something I aim to miss every time.
The Pushkar fair is one of the world’s largest livestock and camel fairs every year, but be warned that this is also the time where Pushkar is at its crowded best. There is a legal amount of “nasha” you are permitted to take in; another thing I always want to avoid.
Pushkar moulds itself to the needs of the user. She is home to uncountable religious structures thus attracting throngs of people; the foreign traveller who experiences India in a nut shell; the craft obsessed shopaholic; passionate art lovers; shrewd businessmen; the foodie and like me, the fascinated architect.
When the blue sky romances the white structures in the natural light, the trained eye can do nothing except admire the foresight of those who built this cultural hub. The atmosphere is complete with the sound of “aartis” and chants of “sadhus”; smells of “attar” and flowers and the hustle of devotees trying to complete their “parikramas”.
Pushkar is essentially a religious settlement where the holiness is accentuated by non religious features such as the vistas of the “ghats” framed by typical arches; colourful clothing displayed in the serpentine marketplace; the rooftop restaurants serving world cuisine and tiny lanes selling the best tourist souvenirs.
So visit Pushkar if you are religious, but definitely visit Pushkar if you aren’t…
Vinita Wagh is an architecture student majoring in digital architecture. She loves whirlwind trips that allow her to experience the essence of a place. She is drawn towards the allure of historical monuments but also enchanted by contemporary structures.