Approximately 150km East of Jaipur is Pushkar – the most Holy Lake in Rajasthan. Pushkar makes for a great escape of the hustle and bustle of the larger cities such as Delhi and Jaipur. It offers the chilled out vibe of Hampi and temples and religious ceremonies similar to that of Varanasi. It’s a great add on to the Golden Triangle of North India (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and there are plenty of amazing places to visit in Pushkar.
Pushkar is a great city for vegetarians – it’s a very religious place and so vegetarian options are abundant – meat is rarely eaten in Pushkar. You will see beautifully decorated ‘sacred cows’ who have the right of way in Pushkar – they are representative of ‘Mother India’ and very Holy.
When is the best time to go to Pushkar?
The best time to visit the holy city of Pushkar is between November and March, when the weather is mild and tolerable, and the desert is good for safaris. If you want to attend the Pushkar Camel Festival, the dates change every year, but it often takes place in November. October and November are the particularly important months with a festival dedicated to Lord Brahma.
Travel Tip – When you arrive in Pushkar, whether by train or taxi, hold on to your bags immediately without putting them on the floor – you are likely to be accosted by children or touts looking for a quick few dollars from tourists. Of course, they are often not legitimate tour guides, and so there’s no guarantee that all of them can be trusted.
Pushkar Camel Fair
The famous Pushkar camel fair takes places at the banks of the Pushkar Lake every year. It’s one of the last great traditional melas in India – the Pushkar Camel Fair brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan together. This fair is an amazing way to experience the shades of rural India in its most organic form and one can interact with villagers and buy Rajasthani handicrafts. The fair also organises a plethora of animal races, camel processions and cultural performances. Further, it has recently become a popular attraction among hipsters and foreign tourists.
When: In October- November; the celebrations and festivities conclude on the full moon of Kartika month
Major attractions: Horse and camel races, animal trading, cultural performances, processions, hot air ballooning and camel safaris.
However, there is a lot more to see and do in Pushkar than the camel temple that it is so famous for. Here are some of the most amazing places to visit in Pushkar.
Places to Visit in Pushkar
The city has over 400 temples, 52 palaces and 52 ghats (steps down to the lake – each of which has a special power!). Pushkar offers tranquility and spirituality, and is home to the only Brahma temple in the whole of India. The best places to visit in Pushkar include the Mahadeva Temple, Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple.
Don’t be surprised if you see Western Holy men who kind of got sucked in and stuck there in the 60’s! They will be friendly and appreciative of your visit.
Pushkar is one of the noticeable cities in India and it is known for its remarkable temples. The city possesses several temples worth visiting. These temples not only offer a spiritual getaway, but they also take a walk through the history lanes of this ageless city. The main temple is the Mahadeva Temple. Built in the 19th century, the Mahadeva Temple in Pushkar is one of the highest visited places in the town. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva as its main deity and has a white marble statue of him in the inside. Polished flooring and wonderful wall paintings are a highlight of this temple. Another huge highlight of its architecture is the imprinted pink pillars.
Location: Main Market Rd, Pushkar, India
Things to do: Visit the temples during the darshana timing and participate in the magical celebrations during aarti.
Opening hours: 5:00 am to 1:30 pm, all days
Pushkar lake is the closest Lake to the temple of Lord Brahma. Summed up in the mythology, this place is where Savitri and Brahma offered their prayers. It is believed that a dip in this holy river is the harbinger of Moksha — freedom from rebirth. The lake has many ghats, designed for offering prayers and taking baths. Brahma Ghat is the most famous among many others – Varaha, Dadhich, Saptarishi, Gwalior, Kota, Karni and Gangaur Ghat.
Things to do: Offer prayers at the ghats and get a pooja done for the ancestors; participate in aarti, photography
Opening hours: Open all day
One of the most popular places to visit in Pushkar is the Brahma temple. Situated near the Pushkar Lake, this is one of few temples of Brahma that now exist in India. Also known as the Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, the temple was built in the 14th century. The temple has been constructed with stone and marble and has a red pinnacle.
The walls are decorated with bird motifs. Images of Brahma has been placed in the sanctum sanctorum. An exclusive tradition which is followed here is that this place is reserved only for sanyasis or ascetics and married men are not permitted to enter the sanctorum.
The architectural attraction of this temple is truly amazing, especially the numerous marble steps leading to the temple and the pillared outdoor hall. The temple may be visited all throughout the year, but October and November are the particularly important months with a festival dedicated to Lord Brahma.
Location: Brahma Temple Rd, Ganahera, Pushkar, Rajasthan 305022
Opening hours: 5:00 am to 1:30 pm, all days
Scam Alert – Avoid taking flowers from strangers in the temples – there will be an expectation of a large donation as you are escorted to a Brahmin on the ghats! They will separate you from family members and be quite intimidating. If you cannot avoid the scam or wish to get a ‘pushkar passport’ (small red string bracelet) then don’t pay more than about 50 Rupees which is reasonable – rather than the 4500 that you are often asked for!
Remarkably, Pushkar is also recognised for its rose farming. It is referred as the Rose Garden of Rajasthan. The farmers, here, grow rose extensively and the diversities of this flower grown here, are exported all over the world. There are acres of farmlands with beautiful red roses in different hues spreading the fragrance — enchanting enough to make one crave to sit and spend some rosy time.
Things to do: Sit, unwind and relax amongst the beautiful fragrance of roses
Built by Amber’s Raja Man Singh, this beautiful palace is located close to the Pushkar sarovar. The palace is constructed in traditional Rajasthani architecture and has a temple inside it. It is preserved by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and is also used as a tourist bungalow. The key attractions for tourists are breath-taking sunset views of the lakes and temples around. Camping arrangements and camel riding can be made on request for the guests.
Things to do: Go on a camel/camel cart ride or admire the scenic views of Pushkar and the evening aarti.
Opening hours: All day
Savitri Mata Temple
Constructed in 1687, the Savitri Mata Temple is situated on the Ratnagiri Hill. It is thought to be the spot where Goddess Savitri found some rest after arguing with her husband on marrying another woman. The temple is said to be built by her and it served as a lookout from where she could watch her husband’s moves. The temple homes the idols of Goddesses Savitri and Gayatri. The way to the temple passes through the hills so you can trek to the temple through the Ratnagiri Hill. This journey also has a religious significant as it is considered to be a penance of our sins.
Location: Kharekhari Rd, Pushkar, Rajasthan 305022
Opening hours: 5:00 am to 1:30 pm, all days
Rangji Temple is one of the newest temples in the town and was constructed in 1823 under the guidance of Seth Puran Mal Ganeriwal. A major highlight of this temple is its South Indian architecture, especially the high gopuram. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rangii who is related to Lord Vishnu. The temple also possesses other architectural styles including the Mughal and Rajput. The temple is situated near many tourist attractions of Pushkar which you may explore on a bicycle.
Location: Pushkar, Rajasthan 305022
Opening hours: 5:00 am to 1:30 pm, all days
Restaurants in Pushkar
Hard Rock is lovely place to relax and enjoy some of the top food in Rajasthan, with fantastic views and a great variety of food to suit the taste of everyone. Please note – it’s not affiliated or linked to the ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ US chain that you might be thinking of! They serve Italian, Indian, Spanish, Israeli and other kinds of international food, which are all made with love. The friendly owner will help you with all your inquiries and needs for Pushkar.
Laura’s Cafe is in a great location overlooking the lake. There is an onsite movie room and bakery (free of charge). They have a Canadian chef designed menu with live local music playing every day. It’s upstairs, next door to Honey & Spice and close to Laffa shop.
The Sixth Sense
Based inside The Seventh Heaven (a popular hotel in Pushkar), The Sixth Sense has a fantastic atmosphere and ambiance. The sixth sense is on the roof top on two levels with open spaces all around, as well as sofas and dining and a computer for guest use. Ambient music, attentive staff and catering to non-staying guests too. The sixth sense serves quality fresh vegetarian food and accommodate to your needs and wishes. Complimentary WI-FI also available.
Hotels in Pushkar
Ananta Spa and Resorts
If you’re looking for a conveniently located hotel in Pushkar, look no further than Ananta Spa and Resorts. Set against the breath-taking backdrop of the Aravalli Hills, Ananta Spa & Resorts creates a fairy-tale like experience by offering the best of five-star luxuries.
With a total 52 contemporary cottages and 20 sprawling rooms coupled with excellent service, the picturesque views aesthetically capture the beauty of the city. Every guest accommodation has amenities to make sure you get a supreme sense of comfort. Spread over 9-acres of amazing greenery, this resort features, state-of-the-art banquet facilities, 2 extensive dining outlet, a lavish recreational room, kids’ activity area, outdoor pool and superlative spa and fitness centre.
The Countryside Resort
The Countryside Resort provide a perfect blend of comfort and serenity. The hotel is overwhelmed by rejuvenating cool and fresh air with the panoramic view of Pushkar beauty. The contemporary amenities and splendid hospitality of this resort definitely leave guests with fond memories of the place. 10 Minute walking distance to Pushkar Market and a 15 Minute walking distance from Lord Brahma Temple, lush Green Garden. The resort also has a crystal-clear water swimming pool.
Gulaab Niwas Palace
Built in 2006, Gulaab Niwas By PI Resorts is a distinct addition to Pushkar and a smart choice for travellers. Guests can have an easy access to all that the city has to offer. Also, within easy reach are Pushkar Lake and Brahma Temple. Take advantage of a wealth of unrivalled services and amenities at this Pushkar hotel. 24-hour room service, 24-hour front desk, express check-in/check-out, luggage storage, Wi-Fi in public areas are just a few of the facilities that set Gulaab Niwas By PI Resorts apart from other hotels in the city. The hotel provides wonderful recreational facilities such as a garden and an outdoor pool to make your stay unforgettable. Gulaab Niwas By PI Resorts is your one-stop destination for quality hotel accommodations in Pushkar.
Places to Visit in Pushkar – What to Pack
Consider packing conservative clothing and a shawl or headscarf for women if you would like to visit religious places. Some comfortable sandals work well in India as it can be hot so they will let your feet breathe. It can get extremely hot in some parts of India and so sun cream is essential.
It’s a good idea to pack conservative clothing for India. Avoid short skirts and low cut tops or spaghetti straps. Comfortable trousers and linen tops are great. Long skirts and Maxi dresses also work really well and are comfortable with the heat. Comfortable loose cotton or linen trousers are perfect. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and pack your prescription sunnies if you have those!
Places to Visit in Pushkar – Don’t Forget your Travel Insurance
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
Further Reading on India
If you’d like to read more about travelling in India you might also like…