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Pushkar , India
Pushkar , India

Pushkar is not as much visited as Varanasi, but it is often called "Tirth Raj" - the most important shrine or the king of all sorts. The reason for this lies in the fact that Brahma, the Hindu God Lord, Creator of the Universe, used to live there.

              Pushkar is hidden in the hills of Rajasthan, India's most visited state. The nearest major city is Ajmer, which can be reached by the road or train, from all major cities of the country. The best choice is to go first to Jodhpur and then to stop by Pushkar on the way back from Jodhpur, one of the farthest points of the tour around Rajasthan. And if you’re intending to go to Delhi from there, it will be much easier.

The lake is the focal point of the city and it is not huge - can be toured in a half hour of easy walk. Hindus believe that the lake is very old, from the time when the world was created. According to legend, it became from the lotus petals, which fell from Brahma’s hand. The lake has 52 Ghats where the pilgrims ritually bathe. The closest Brahma temple has a fenced swimming pool, filled with flower petals. The lake is beautiful to look at, but think carefully before you enter it. It does not seem clear at all. But it does not bother Indians to continue practicing their rituals, especially when it is known that bathing in this lake is as valuable as performing Yagne (rite which contained sacrificing), for several hundred years.

Hindus burn their dead. The customs instruct to bring the ashes and bones that remained after cremation in Pushkar and to organize prayers for the deceased.

There are specific rules of conduct in public places that are highlighted in this holy city. Women are recommended not to show too much skin. This is applied in many places in India, but in Pushkar you really need to pay attention what to wear. Women are also advised never to go alone with a guide, and that it is better to pay more expensive and safer accommodation rather than to risk getting in trouble, because, Pushkar many perceive as a holy place.

Many local guests come for spiritual and physical purification, which should be respected with adjusted behavior. Foreigners are not allowed in one of the temples, the larger one at the town entrance - Raghunath Temple. This is perhaps the only temple in India, where foreigners are not allowed access. Taking off the shoes is required ten meters away from the lake, wherever you came from. Due to the large number of people passing there through, Ghats has been often dirty. It is not allowed to film people during the ritual bath.

The lake water is believed to have extraordinary powers. The ghat Naga Kund water cure sterility, one from Rep Tirth gives beauty and charm, swimming in Kapil Vyapi Kund treats leprosy (this is the enough of a reason not to enter the lake) and if you dip in the Mrikand Muni Kund, legend says that you may come out wiser. People will approach you on the piers, offering flowers, but if you take the flower, they ask you to throw it into the lake and they will sing along with the ritual prayer, and demand a high sum of money in the end.

The holy city of Pushkar is often called the city of temples. There are over 400 different shrines in Pushkar. The most important temple in Puskar is certainly one dedicated to Brahma, one of only three temples dedicated to this god. It is built in marble and decorated with silver coins, with a silver turtle inside the temple. According to importance, after the Brahma temple comes temple of Varaha dedicated Vishnu, who is shown as a reincarnated wild boar (Vishnu appeared in the form of this avatar to kill demon Hiranyaksha who stole the earth), and then Pateshwar temple, built in the 12th century, dedicated to Shiva.

 Puskar is not peaceful only during the camel fair. Every October or November during the period which the Hindus call Kartika Poornima, sellers, buyers and the curious people from all over India and abroad crowd here, with over fifty thousand heads of camels and other cattle.

 

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