Things to do in the Sacred Town of Pushkar | India

Pushkar is a small town near Ajmer in the desert state of Rajasthan. Daily life and other activities here—including religious ceremonies and rituals—centers on Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu Site. Surrounding the lake are more than 50 Ghats where Pilgrims bathe and the nightly aarti are held. Narrow alleyways lined up with bazaars housed in centuries old havelis (traditional Indian mansions) and hundreds of temples surround this small town. Brimming with a rich history, colorful culture, savory cuisine and revered religious events—more than a charming town—Pushkar still hid many gems every traveler would delight in discovering.

Sacred Town of Pushkar

To learn more about Pushkar, here are some information you can use to help you plan your trip to this fascinating town someday.

Take a short hike to Savitri Temple

Things to do in Pushkar India
Enjoying the view on the way up Savitri Temple
Perched on top of the 750-feet high Ratnagari Hill, Savitri Temple was originally built in 1687 in honor of Goddess Savitri or Saraswati, Lord Brahma's first wife (Brahma is the God of Creation and the Creator of the four Vedas in Hinduism). Inside the temple, one can find the 7th-century idol of Savitri. The current temple was rebuilt in early 1900s and one needs to climb a flight of 750-steps or take a cable ride (90 Rupees one-way) to the top.

Visit Sacred Ghats for a holy dip at Pushkar Lake

Things to do in Pushkar India

There are 52 Ghats (bathing places) surrounding the sacred Pushkar Lake. Hindus believed the lake possesses great healing and purifying powers. A pilgrimage tour to Pushkar is incomplete without a holy dip from any of the various Bathing Ghats in Pushkar. Hindus believe that washing your hands, feet or taking a dip in the sacred Lake Pushkar can purify one from all the sins, troubles and ailments. Sacred to the Hindus as well as the Sikhs, this lake has been mentioned in history as early as the 14th century.

Witness a "Baraat" Procession

Things to do in Pushkar India

In Western and Northern India during Hindu and Sikh weddings, the Groom is led to the wedding venue in a procession called the Baraat. The Groom rides a Ghodi, or a white horse—embellished by family members—accompanied by what is called as the "baaratis' composed of family members, friends, a marching band and groomsmen who some even rides on decorated horses.

Things to do in Pushkar India

Marvel at the Architecture of Havelis

Things to do in Pushkar India
One of the many haveli found all over Pushkar
Aside from the 52 Ghats and more than 400 temples surrounding Pushkar Lake, you will also find dozens of haveli (traditional Indian mansions) with striking heavy wooden doors and richly-designed windows. Some of these havelis are now transformed into small hotels and bazaar shops.

Watch the Evening Aarti

The evening aarti is held at this ghat after sunset
The Aarti is a traditional Hindu religious ritual performed in most sacred cities like Haridwar, Varanasi and Rishikesh. Here in Pushkar, you can witness an evening aarti at one of the Ghats, particularly at Varah Ghat. This is a spiritual gathering meant to express Hindu devotion to their religion and includes ritual rites like chanting, praying and offering of flowers to the holy Pushkar Lake.

Hike to Pap Mochani Temple

Perched atop a hill opposite where Savitri Temple stands, the Pap Mochani Temple is less popular but offers a magnificent view of the town and the lake. This is located a mere 20-minute walk from town and another 30-minute hike. This is a great place to wait for the sunset.

Pray at the Brahma Temple

Local women exits a temple in Pushkar. *Not the Brahma Temple as pictures are not allowed
Travelers from different religions flock to Brahma Temple to pay homage to one of the few temples in India dedicated to Brahma--the Hindu creator God. Brahma Temple is said to be more than 2,000 years old and you can enter it by leaving your shoes outside and joining the other Hindu worshipers. Inside, awaits a beautiful architecture and a solemn vibe that will surely summon your spiritual side for a moment of reflection.

Shop in Pushkar

The best place to shop in Pushkar is anywhere in Pushkar. You don’t need to pinpoint a specific market to go since almost all of the streets in the town of Pushkar are dotted with bazaars selling a rich assortment of items from traditional clothing, bangles, jewelries, journals and other fascinating mementos. You can haggle politely as all the vendors are nice and friendly people.

Savor the Gastronomic Scene of Pushkar

I was a vegan my entire stay in Pushkar. Thanks to flavorful vegan options. 
Since Pushkar is considered a sacred town, it is a totally meat-free place and only vegetarian meals are served. Some hotels and restaurants serve eggs and cow products for milk but over-all, it is a vegetarian haven. Hip restaurants and charming cafes fills the streets of Pushkar along with rows of food stalls selling appetizing street food. Just by walking around the town will have you sampling an array of Indian cuisine and even some multi-cultural dishes like Israeli, Chinese, Western and Mediterranean food.