Pushkar is a small town in Rajasthan, it is as picturesque as any desert town can be but it has other claims to fame that make it a prominent address on the Indian map. Pushkar, literally meaning ‘a lotus that has bloomed in mud’, and it also home to one of the only two temples dedicated to Lord Brahma. The seat upon which Lord Brahma resides is a blue Lotus also known as ‘Pushkara’ in Sanskrit. Lord Brahma is a part of the Hindu Holy Trinity and he serves as the ‘Creator’ of mankind, the way Lord Shiva is considered the destroyer. Lord Brahma is said to be the son of the Supreme Being. He created the universe and he had several symbols associated with his persona.
Mythology states that Lord Brahma annoyed Lord Shiva during a tryst and the curse bestowed upon him was that no man on earth would worship Lord Brahma the way other deities are worshipped. Another school of thought attributed this curse to a demi God who was ignored by Lord Brahma. But it is the practicalities of modern society that have asked for a more plausible explanation. Like the one stated by Mr. Surin Usgaonkar “The true philosophical reason why Brahma is not worshiped like the other deities is as under: Worship involves faith and faith to certain degree means accepting supremacy of someone without questioning. Brahma, on the other hand, represents true knowledge. The knowledge and faith are philosophically antithetical concepts. Knowledge blooms in self-doubt, constant questioning, criticism and discussions and it lapses in faith.”
Leaving such heavy thinking aside, let’s go back to Pushkar, where this whole dialogue began. Pushkar has one of the two temples dedicated to Lord Brahma and it is here that one of the largest cultural, trading and religious fair takes place every year. ‘Pushkar Mela’ (‘mela’ literally means fair or carnival) is India’s largest cattle fair. It is a spectacular event with Rajasthani men and women in their traditional attire, ash smeared holy men and more than one lakh people, from all over Rajasthan as well as tourists from different parts of India and abroad in attendance. Apart from the people there is bevy of bulls, cows, sheep, goats, horses and camels for sale and barter. It is not just business here, this week long fair also has fabulous events and brilliant shopping stalls. There are hysterical camel races, where photographers are known to get trampled (objects in the lens appear farther than they really are!!!). Rajasthani gypsies in their vibrant colorful skirts perform dance and music recitals through the days and nights. The shopping stalls glitter all the way with handcrafted leather goods to dainty glass bangles and beautiful textiles. Craftsman from all over Rajasthan and neighboring states bring their wares out for the world to see and appreciate. At Pushkar there is something for everyone. The shopper will find his delights, the trader will get a great bargain and the tourist will see the colorful and charismatic India they were hoping to see.
‘Pushkar Fair’ is always held in the month of Kartik. It starts two days before the full moon of the month and ends a day after it. This year the fair is from 18th-24th November 2007, a tad later than usual. It is the Pushkar lake in this city that all devotional activities center around. It has 52 ghats (like cement bleachers/steps) and is the main reason for the confluence of so many people from all parts of the country and abroad. It is considered imperative to take a dip in the Pushkar Lake on the night of a full moon. According to the Puranas (meaning ‘ancient Indian tales’), a pilgrimage to Pushkar destroys all evil and washes away all sins. A person that has had a dip in the lake at Pushkar and worshipped Brahma achieves salvation. For this reason, thousands of people gather here for this great annual pilgrimage and fair. Could there be an easier way??