Pushkar: what to see and how to organize your visit

All the information you need to visit Pushkar and organize your visit to the city of the god Brahma. Come in and prepare your trip!

Between a hippie paradise and a sacred city, Pushkar is a small town between Jaipur and Jodhpur famous for the largest Camel Fair in the world.

Pushkar is dedicated to the god Brahma and has a movement of pilgrims throughout the year. I’ll tell you all the secrets of a passing destination for many, to which you can even dedicate two full days if you want to get to know its surroundings.

Pushkar (पुष्कर) is a small city in the center of the Aravali Mountains in the state of Rajasthan . It is a few kilometers from Ajmer and on the route between Udaipur and Jaipur .

Pushkar is a major pilgrimage center in Rajasthan and holds the world’s largest camel fair between October and November. It is a regular stop for travelers who have been in India for a long time and want a cheap, quiet, yet atmospheric place to recharge their batteries.

The city of Pushkar is the typical destination in India where one spends the day having a coffee, wandering the ghats and watching life go by. There are also quite a few cheap shopping options . Some places of interest in Pushkar will allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture while you stroll.

If you are planning to visit Pushkar from Jodhpur, the best way to travel in comfort is to hire a taxi service in Jodhpur and drive to Pushkar in complete comfort.

The story of Brahma and Pushkar

The myth goes that Brahma was upset that he was the only god in the Hindu pantheon who did not have a dedicated city on Earth. The other gods decided that a swan would fly with a flower in its beak and wherever it dropped, their sacred city would be established. This is how the flower fell in Pushkar and it became one of the few places in India with a temple dedicated to Brahma.

The Brahma Temple

⏰ From dawn to dusk | ? Free | ⚠️ No bags, cameras or phones

The Brahma temple is a 14th century building without much charm. However, the hustle and bustle of pilgrims and believers is reason enough to arouse your interest. People from all regions of Rajasthan come as a family to pay their respects to Brahma, the creator god.

The temple is located at the end of the bazaar. It is accessed by a steep marble staircase that enters the courtyard. Before you must leave all your belongings in the lockers of a perfume store or with the shoe guards.

The small colorful temple keeps a silver image of the god. Brahma is depicted with four faces looking at the four cardinal points , the symbol that he is the creator god . Many believers stand before the altar and make obeisances or donations to the priests who care for it. In the patio there are other altars. The Shiva altar in the crypt is a must for pilgrims, as well as the room dedicated to the goddess Durga in the back.

Note that there are offerings in the trees and a good part of the marble are tombstones donated to promote good karma in some deceased. There are even Hindus from the Canary Islands .

The other temples in the city are modern since during the Muslim domination much of the city’s Hindu heritage was destroyed.

Pushkar lake

Pushkar Lake is the other sacred space in the city. Along the shore there are 52 ghats , stairs that go down to the water and allow the purification rituals and the offerings of the Hindu religion .

Each of these ghats is managed by a group of priests who offer to make offerings or puja. You have to give them a donation because it is part of the prayer offering for the priests. However, they charge according to the customer’s face. 50 rupees should be more than enough. They are a bit insistent and the truth is that they put the business ahead of the religiosity of the place.

If instead of going down directly, you take some time and do the parikrama or path that surrounds the lake, you will see that not all the ghats have so much activity or so much marketing. I recommend doing this tour first thing in the morning when many pilgrims start the day with their ritual baths. Start at sunset point and follow the bridge that crosses the lake in a clockwise direction. The entire southern part of the lake is the calmest.

Don’t miss the parikrama or ritual lap around the lake first thing in the morning.

Yoga in Pushkar

Pushkar is one of those cities that can perfectly combine materialism and spirituality. Ayurvedic massage centers and small yoga communities mix with one of the liveliest markets in Rajasthan.

Many travelers who are going to spend several months in India take advantage of the exceptional environment of Pushkar to make a stopover for days or weeks and, for this reason, yoga , pranayama and other traditional Indian knowledge courses have proliferated.


Shopping in Pushkar

In the morning you are practicing pranayama or meditation with a guru and then you go shopping. The middle of the lake is a congested street with an unstoppable movement of motorcycles and cows and the best cheap handicraft shops in Rajasthan.

In Pushkar there is little haggling since the prices are so good to begin with that it is not worth arguing. The traditional profile of the visitor has been the backpacker, something that has marked the style of the shops, a bit hippy , alternative, with low-quality products, but unbeatable prices. If you like blouses to go to the beach, Aladdin pants or psychedelic designs, you’re in luck.

There are also other quality products that are much better priced than in Jaipur or Jaisalmer. Hindu -themed notebooks , camel-skin products, or silver jewelry are interesting. It is easy to find Ayurvedic products in various pharmacies and stores in Himalaya.

At Roots of Puhskar you will find a true expert on Indian classical music and DVD’s of Bollywood movies. Do not miss the opportunity, because in other places it will be very difficult to find them.

Exchange currency in Pushkar
The city of Brahma is one of the destinations in Rajasthan with the best exchange rate. Don’t miss out on the good rates in Pushkar.

Excursions from Pushkar

The city of Pushkar is in the middle of the Aravali, a mountain range that crosses Rajasthan and divides it climatically. You can visit the surroundings by renting a scooter or a legendary Royal Enfield and explore the country roads.

Getaway to the Aravali Mountains

The pilgrimage to Pushkar is not considered complete without the ascent to Savitri Mandir . This simple temple dominates the city of Pushkar. It is dedicated to a wife of Brahma . At night, its illuminated steps are a path of lights in the middle of the dark Rajasthani night.

A little further down the temple dedicated to Gayatri also crowns one of the peaks that surrounds Pushkar. The ascent is less popular but has beautiful views at sunset.

If you decide to take the path to the temples, you should know that the ascent is easy , but due to the heat you have to carry enough water. The monkeys on the route are langurs , they are not dangerous, but you must avoid looking them directly in the eye.

One more incentive for the excursion is the sunset at the Savitri temple, which is usually pleasant. Take advantage of the good weather in the last hours of the day.

Visit the villages around Pushkar

Pushkar is just a big town. However, as soon as you step out you are in authentic rural Rajasthan. You will be amazed by the villages with traditional lifestyle and friendly Rajasthani hospitality.

In the visit to these little towns there are no buildings of interest. The attraction is being able to observe local life without intermediaries. Don’t miss a game of kabaddi , a very popular sport, or the return of the herds after a day on the pasture. And above all, don’t stop smiling back at all those who greet you. It is incredible how easy it is to establish complicity with the local population in India , those who are so close, but at the same time so far from the place we are visiting.

Sometimes, we travelers end up seeing only what is written in the guides, when around us there is a world yet to be discovered.

Ajmer and Indian Sufism

The city of Ajmer was one of the few regions in Rajasthan directly controlled by the UK during colonization. From here comes the fame of being a military enclave.

Ajmer is not well known among travellers, but it has two impressive places that you cannot miss if you visit the city: the Dargah Sharif and the Dhai din ka Jhonpra Mosque .

You can find all the sights of Ajmer in the article dedicated to the Muslim capital of Rajasthan .

Pushkar Festivals

The Pushkar festival calendar includes all the major Hindu celebrations. It is a great place to celebrate Holi or Diwali as the local people are used to mixing with foreigners and showing hospitality to them. It will be a safe place for solo female travelers in India .

However, if the city is known for anything it is for its Pushkar Fair . This cattle fair where camels and horses are sold, is the largest gathering of people in all of Rajasthan in one. Visitors wear the full regalia and jewelry of each tribe in Rajasthan. Therefore, it is a unique opportunity.

The Camel Fair takes place between the months of October and November, coinciding with the full moon. The program includes religious rituals, folkloric and current musical performances and a great fun fair.

Don’t miss the special aarti at the Jaipur Ghat, coinciding with sunset. You will find it next to the Pushkar Palace hotel.

What to eat in Pushkar

Pushkar is a holy city . Therefore, the consumption of meat and alcohol is prohibited. Strict vegetarianism is a common practice in some Hindu holy cities like Haridwar or Rishikesh, or even around the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

You may not be tempted by the idea, but Pushkar is a great place to try Israeli food. The street falafel is very famous, because it has historically been a stopping place for Israeli travelers who made a long journey through India after military service.

Some recommended restaurants

There are two restaurants in Pushkar that I always repeat. On one side is Om Shiva , near Sunset Point. It is a very simple café-restaurant in a garden where monkeys sometimes cross. They have a wood oven to cook bread and pizza. I especially like their eggplant salad with Israeli-style pita.

Another place that I have a special bond with is the Out of the Blue . It turns out that I was the first client to take a group of travelers, more than ten years ago. The owner knows me and reminds me every time. My signature is somewhere on the second floor wall. They are very slow with the service, but they have the best pizza in Pushkar and one of the best pastas in the city. At night the fantastic air blows and you can hear the prayers of the lake and the most distant temples. They have a very well made cappucino and espresso.

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