Temples at Pushkar Fast facts
The Pushkar Brahma Temple is situated in the town of Pushkar and within close proximity to the Pushkar link.
The main Brahma Temple and the Atpateshwar Temple, a cave temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva
Known as one of the few existing temple dedicated to the Lord Brahma, the creator.
There are a number of distinctive facts surrounding this Temple at Pushkar. Though the present structure of the temple dates back to the 14 century A.D. the temple is believed to be over 2000 years old. This place of worship was mainly constructed of marble and stone slabs. Another distinctive feature is the typical red pinnacle (shikkara) and the (hamsa) bird motifs. The temple is governed and at the same time the services are conducted and administered by (sanyasis) ascetic sect of royal priesthood. Karthika Purnima is celebrated with great fervor and devotion as a large gathering of devotees congregate at the temple after taking a dip in the revered Pushkar Lake.
Jagat Shri Brahma Temple
The only standing Hindu temple in India dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, the structure around the temple was built in the 14th century and stands on a high platform near Pushkar lake. Brahma the creator is one part of the Holy Trinity in Hinduism, sharing the honour with Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Although a very large number of temples can be found all over India dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, there are very few temples for Brahma, this being one of the holiest one.
Marble steps lead up to the temple where a silver turtle lies embossed in the floor facing the sanctorum. The marble floor around the turtle is littered with hundreds of silver coins which now embed the floor, and so are the walls of the temple. Images of the peacock, the vehicle of Brahma’s consort Saraswati, adorn the temple walls. Brahma here is shown in a life-size form with four hands and four faces, facing four different directons. A hans (goose, the official carrier of Brahma) spans the gateway to the temple which is crowned with a red spire. A small statue of the milk goddess Gayatri (whom Brahma married) near Brahma’s idol is called Chaumurti. Steps within the silver-doored sanctuary lead down into a small cave which is a Hindu temple of Lord Shiva.
The Atpateshwar Temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and is within a stone’s throw of the Jagat Shri Brahma Temple. Legend has it that the temple was built by the Lord Brahma after he had attended a yagna performed by him dressed as a tantric mendicant holding a skull. Angered by the same the Lord Shiva filled the entire area with skulls. The agitated by his act the Lord Brahma meditated to know the reason for this folly. Understanding his wrong doing he asked Shiva to attend the yagna, after which he dedicated this temple to the Lord Shiva. The large Shivalinga of this temple is encircled with a copper snake. The festival of Shivaratri is one of the main attractions of the temple.
Other Temples & Ghats
The Varah temple was built in the 12th century and the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is said to have destroyed it. Aurangzeb was understandably upset with the huge statue of Varah, the God with the body of a man and the head of a Boar. However, Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur thought differently, and in 1727 reconstructed the temple which now has a highly decorated inner sanctum where an idol of Varah is placed.
The 19th century Mahadeva temple with its five-faced statue of Mahadeva is made entirely of white marble. This Hindua temple is remarkable for its elegance of structure, and is perhaps the finest of all temples in and around Ajmer and Pushkar.
The Ramavaikunth temple is an intricately carved Hindu temple dating to the 1920 and has images of 361 deities. The distinctive feature of this place of worship is the high stone spires atop pagodas and the rest of the temple. This place of devotion is said to be built by masons especially brought for this purpose from south India. The Savitri temple is located on top of a hill overlooking the lake. The hike up the hill is long and arduous via a stairway built in the 4th century, and if panoramic views are a necessity for you, then a trek will be worth it. This temple is dedicated to Brahma’s wife Savitri and its origin dates back to over 2,000 years.
The Gayatri temple on the other side of Pushkar is in honour of the wife who sat by Brahma’s side in Savitri absence during Brahma’s ceremonial sacrifice. Legend says that Gayatri was an untouchable and to purify her she was put into the mouth of a cow and taken out from the other end. To reach the Gayatri Hindu temple the best route to take is from behind the bus stand and walk up a hill. Both the Savitri and Gayatri temples are closed – so to say – during lunch hours and the best time to go is either before noon or in the evening.
Two Raghunath temples exist in Pushkar; one is the old one and the other is relatively new. The Old Raghunath temple was built in 1823 and houses images of Venugopal, Narasimha (Vishnu’s fourth incarnation) and Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Foreigners are strictly not allowed in this temple. These are probably the only binary temples in India where such segregation exists by Indians and foreigners.
Pap Mochini Temple
Towards the northern section of Pushkar is the Pap Mochini temple. This place of worship is not really popular for its architecture or deity but for the simple belief that anyone who kills a Brahmin will be purified of this deed by visiting the Hindu temple. Off course, all that was applicable in olden times. Today a murder is a murder and the law takes its course in the case of murder.
Where there is a mass of holy water there will be bathing ghats, and in Pushkar it is the same as all over India. Pushkar Lake is surrounded by hundreds of ghats where Hindu pilgrims assemble to bathe, pray or just loiter around. Removing ones shoes would be a good idea unless you want to be glared or shouted at! Photography is a strict prohibited. Women are also strictly prohibited from bathing in the lake. Pushkar is quite used to tourists, but unlike Varanasi, is home to orthodox Hindus and there is no strictness in the observances of Hindu law.