The Story of Pushkar Lake•
Posted on May 04 2023
Pushkar Lake, or Pushkar Sarovar, is located in Pushkar town in the state of Rajasthan. The lake is an important pilgrimage site among Hindus that makes it very sacred for them. Ancient scriptures make reference to the lake as Tirtha-Guru and mythology attributes it to Lord Brahma, the Creator among the Trinity. This scenic oval-shaped lake is encircled by a desert and hills on all sides.
Interestingly, the lake is surrounded by the most important shrine dedicated to the deity along with 500 other temples and 52 bathing ghats or stone steps leading to its waters among which two ghats are extremely important. There are also temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Hanuman.
The lake is referenced as Adi-Tirtha in holy books like Ramayana and Mahabharata that also talk about the beauty of this lake. The Padma Purana talks about the origins of this lake while the famous Sanskrit poet also mentions about the lake in his poem Abhijnanasakuntalam. Studies of several inscriptions indicate that the lake is very old and existed even as early as the 4th century BC.
Legend Associated with Pushkar Lake
There is an interesting legend in Hindu mythology associating Lord Brahma and the Pushkar Lake. As per the story, Lord Brahma was once engaged in a war with the demon Vajranbha who had killed the children of the god. After a long fight, the lord managed to finally kill the demon. However, three petals from the lord’s divine lotus fell apart and landed on earth in Pushkar.
Three springs emerged from the place where the petals touched the ground and were known as the Jyeshta Pushkar Lake (greatest Pushkar Lake), Madhya Pushkar Lake (main Pushkar Lake) and the Kanishta Pushkar Lake (lowest Pushkar Lake).
It is also believed that Lord Brahma later did a yagna in Pushkar. The mountains surrounding the lake ensured His protection while He was engaged in the sacrifice. However, the lord’s wife Saraswati had to be present with Him to complete the yagna. However, Saraswati was kept waiting by Her fellow goddesses Indrani, Lakshmi and Parvati and was not able to reach the venue.
Lord Brahma did not know what to do and sought the advice of Lord Indra in this regard. Indra sent a milkman’s daughter named Gayatri to help Brahma. With no other option left, Brahma was forced to marry Gayatri to continue with the yagna. When Saraswati managed to finally reach the venue, she saw Gayatri seated in Her place next to Brahma with the pot of elixir on top of Her head and making the offerings to the fire for the sacrifice.
Needless to say, the sight that met Her eyes angered Goddess Saraswati to no end. She cursed the lord saying that no one would ever worship or praise Him from then on. However, the love for Her partner made her calm down and she declared that Lord Brahma would be worshipped only in Pushkar.
The Pushkar Lake is also believed to be the meditating place of the renowned sage Vishwamitra for thousands of years.
There are several other stories about the Pushkar Lake that talk about the powers of its waters. According to records by historians, Nahar Rao, a Rajput leader was suffering from the skin disease leukoderma. He happened to once put his hand into the waters of the lake. When he took his hand out, he was surprised to find his disease completely cured. Delighted at his recovery, he got an artificial lake created for the betterment of humankind.
Significance of the Pushkar Lake
The Pushkar Lake is listed among the must visit five pilgrimage sites in India and among the ten Hindu religious sites in the world. The lake is thronged by Hindus on the occasion of Kartik Poornima between April and May. It is said that a holy dip in the lake waters on this day helps them to get rid of their skin ailments. Moreover, this religious bath eliminates the sins in their lives and purifies their souls, thereby helping them to attain salvation. Thousands of devotees take bath in the holy waters on this day.
The Pushkar Fair is one of the main celebrations that take place around the Pushkar Lake. Along with several thousands of visitors, the fair also witnesses the presence of over 50,000 camels. As a result, the Pushkar Fair is also often referred to as the Pushkar Camel Fair. The festival gets kick-started by a camel race.
This fair is a week-long affair and ends on the Kartik Poornima day. With several colourful themes to add to the gaiety, various competitions and cultural events like hot air balloon rides, a big market and scary rides are organised as a part of the celebration. There are also several stalls with traditional artefacts, merchandise and handicrafts. The Brahma temple here also hosts several ceremonies during the Pushkar Fair.
The Pushkar Brahma temple opens its doors to devotees from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM in summer and up to 8:30 PM in winter with a closing time between 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM. Three artis are conducted in the temple premises, namely, Mangala Arti that takes place in the morning, a couple of hours before sunrise; Sandhya Arti that is performed around an hour after sunset and the Ratri Shayan Arti that is done around five hours after sunset.
While the best and most auspicious time to visit the Pushkar Lake is during Kartik Poornima, you can visit the premises at any time of the year. Most people plan their trip to the lake between November and March when the climate and weather conditions are relatively pleasant.
Pushkar can easily be accessed by rail, road and air allowing you to reach Pushkar Lake with no effort at all. Pushkar is well connected to all national highways and major roads of the state. If you are planning a rail trip, you will have to get yourself dropped at Ajmer that is at a distance of 11 kilometres from Pushkar. You can reach Pushkar from Ajmer by road very easily. For air travel, you will have to book your tickets to the Sanganer Airport.