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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pushkar ~ city of lakes and temple of Lord Brahma

During  a trip to the pink city of Jaipur, purposefully travelled approx 140 kms to this holy place ~ a place known for even-toed ungulates bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" ~ the not so good looking Camel.

It is Pushkar, a town in the Ajmer district in Rajasthan. We worship Lord in many forms and this is the place where God is in the form of water.  Here it is the lakes, which are worshipped as God Himself.  Pushkar hosts the annual camel fair visited by thousands of people; more significant and important is the temple dedicated to Lord Brahma.

Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower; pushkar is perhaps derived from ‘pushkarini’ – the holy lake. Legend has it that centuries ago, there was a demon by name Vajranabhan.  Brahma killed him with a lotus flower.. there are big lakes, stated to be 52 of them – small and big inside Pushkar.  Of them the most important being Jyeshta Pushkarini dedicated to Brahma, Kanishta Pushkarini of Lord Siva and Madhya Pushkarini dedicated to Sriman Maha Vishnu.  Pushkar is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma himself as the fit place for conducting yagna. For performance of yagna, Brahma married Gayatri Devi, which in some ways led to the curse that there will not be temples for Brahma and that he will not be worshipped elsewhere.

Legend has it that Yudhistra bathed at Pushkar as also Prahlada.  Historically, this is one of the places invaded by Ghaznavids and it was here that the British ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe met with Jehangir in the year 1616. Adhi Sankarar also visited this place and renovated the temple.

The modern day Pushkar is not a big city, but has many temples and lakes – all considered holy by the Hindus. This otherwise sleepy town echoes with hectic activity during the Pushkar Camel Fair and festival.

The famous  Brahma temple known locally as ‘Jagatpita Brahma Mandir’  is not a big one, one has to climb a few steps to go inside the temple.  The floors are of white marble, and one sees lot of silver coins inserted. There is a silver turtle on the floor of the temple.  The temple is constructed of stone slabs and blocks  joined together with smolten lead. Inside the  sanctum sanctorum is the idol of  Brahma along with his consort Gayatri. Outside there is sannathi for Indira and Kubera.

Miles away, there is another place where Brahma is worshipped ~ it is at the temple nearer the most holy Srirangam – a place known as Uthamar Kovil, one of 108 divyadesams for Sri Vaishnavaites.  Thirumangai Azhwar has  sung this place as ‘Karambanoor’ and Perumal as ‘Karambanoor Uthamar’.  The presiding deity here is Purushothamar.  It is also known as Pitchandar Kovil and has sannathi for Lord Siva and another one for Lord Brahma as well.

Here are photos of the holy lake which is the lifeline and centre of the town. A dip in the lake is believed to rid one of sins and do many good things.  A couple of photos of Brahma temple taken from outside and photo of Lord Brahma are also posted here.  The last two photos are taken from wikipedia as photography is not allowed inside the temple. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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