Of the multitude of tourist getaways located within the desert state of Rajasthan, Pushkar stands out with its reputation of a quaint, spiritual locale that is frequented by Hindu devotees as a prominent pilgrimage spot. And it doesn't disappoint.
This year, Shree Cement The Sacred festival, a three-day music and spirituality gala organised by Teamwork Arts, made an attempt to boost the festivities of Pushkar to epic proportions with a personalised experience of the town's rich culture via a heritage walk. Widely regarded as one of the oldest cities in India, Pushkar ranks as a quintessential spot for pilgrims who flock to the town in large numbers, especially during the auspicious time of Karthik Poornima, the full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Karthik.
The history of Pushkar is replete with myths, but the most prominent and widely accepted lore is that it was created by Lord Brahma - the creator god in Hinduism - when he descended to earth. According to the myth, a flower ("pushpa") fell off Brahma's hand ("kar"), thus forming the sacred town of Pushkar. Due to its intricate mythological associations, the exact date of Pushkar's origin is unknown, but that only adds to the town's mystique. With 52 sacred bathing ghats and hundreds of temples, the town indeed lives up to its reputation as a "tirtha raj" (the king of pilgrimage sites).
Among the essential places to visit, the Brahma temple should be put on top of the list. It is one of the few Brahma temples in the world, and its prominence grows manifold during Karthik Poornima, as thousands of devotees pay a visit to Pushkar to experience the religious fervour.
However, the moon temple in Chandra Ghat is one of the most interesting religious locations in Pushkar. According to Ravi Kant Sharma, who runs Roots of Pushkar Records and leads tourists on the unique heritage walk of the city, this is the only temple of its kind in the entire country.
"Back in the early 19th century, the family of the artisans of the Jaipur durbar - brothers Sundar Lal Kayasth and Shyam Lal Kayasth, faced problems due to some ancestral issues and unusual activities had increased. Thus, the astrologers recommended them to build two ghats, one for Chandrama (moon) and the other for Indra," Sharma told IANS.
He added that both the ghats were made in 1830, with approximately Rs.14,000 back then.
(With inputs from Agencies)