Pushkar is thought to be one of the oldest settlements in India and is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town that unfolds itself around a holy lake. Featuring 52 bathing ghats and 400 milky-blue temples, including one of the world’s fewest Brahma temples. It came as yet another surprise that this is what India could look like, it’s a town that has remained enchantingly mystic and relaxed despite the injection of tourists and commercialism. A far cry from how India is stereotyped by many people.
The sacred Pushkar Lake is described as ‘Tirtha Raj’ the king of all pilgrimage sites, and according to Hindu mythology a lotus that fell from the hands of Lord Brahma, the god of creation, was how the lake itself was created. It’s believed that bathing in the waters of the lake during the Pushkar Fair will unify sins and cure skin diseases. These myths and beliefs are what adds to the purity and peacefulness that you immediately sense when exploring here.
Watching the sunset over the lake, with not a cloud in the sky and just a faint hum of puja (prayers), bells, drums and devotional songs ringing through the town is a must whilst you stay here. A moment of pure magic. People aren’t rushing around here, they’re moving slowly, more relaxed, and actually stopping to admire the slow change from day to night, a far cry from any other larger cities in India.
In the day, the main street comes alive into one long bazaar, a travellers dream, selling anything from jewellery to didgeridoos, decorative plates to hippy-chic tie dye – its a place to find hidden gems that would tickle any travellers fancy. There are many cafes, mostly vegan, to stop and enjoy a cup of chai as you catch a break from the narrow side streets of the towns busy market. Most are built upwards so you can walk up to the top balcony to view the whole town from above, with monkeys swinging around you in the trees.
If you don’t mind a 5 am start, there’s no better way to start your day than a hike up to the Savitri Temple. Overlooking the entire town of Pushkar and all the surrounding valleys, it really is the ideal way to enjoy the view over the town as it slowly wakes. The Savitri Temple is dedicated to the wife of Lord Brahma and was built atop of Ratnagiri Hill in 1687. This morning hike is considered an important part of many locals daily routine as they offer prayer and worship to pay their respects.
The walk to the top consists of a steep incline of what seems like a never-ending amount of stairs, some being half my height, regular breaks were welcomed but the determination to beat the sunrise was the driving force in getting to the top and this was not misplaced determination, as it really was breathtaking. After taking off shoes, as a sign of respect, we had reached the temple. The atmosphere was peaceful, the only thing that could be heard was the steadying of breath, the air was fresh and there was a stillness about the town below.
As the sun beamed out from an adjacent hill Pushkar started its day, with the call to prayer echoing around the valley, the ropey looking cable car jogged into life and monkeys were appearing from the trees and bushes. A truly memorable sunrise and one not to be missed whilst visiting Pushkar.
Hello, I’m Samantha. A twenty-two-year-old fashion communication and promotion graduate. An avid shopper, lover of interiors and good coffee addict.