Pushkar: A holy lake town in Rajasthan, loved by backpackers

A round trip in Rajasthan, India is never complete without a visit to Pushkar.

Pushkar is a lake town 11km away from Ajmer with about 500 Hindu temples. It is one of India ‘s most famous religious sites and since recently it’s also a town loved by backpackers. It’s a mix of religious and tourist features. Yet, despite the popularity, the town remains spiritually uplifting and relaxed.

Here’s a short guide about Pushkar in India and why you should go there.

Pushkar central lake
ABOVE: A man near the central lake in Pushkar.
ABOVE: A camel and cart with 2 Indian men as seen in many parts of Rajasthan.

The central lake in Pushkar

The most famous landmark in the religious site of Pushkar is probably the central lake. The town wraps itself around a holy lake featuring 52 ghats (stairs) to the water with each of these ghats representing one of the Maharajas of Rajasthan. Every Maharaja ordered to build one of these ghats with a house to stay in when visiting.

The most famous ghat in Pushkar is Gau Ghat, also named as the Main Ghat. It is here where the ash of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was scattered into the water of the holy lake.

Around the lake, there are about 500 marble white and blue temples. And one of these temples is one of the world’s few Brahma temples. Not all temples are open for non-Hindu visitors, but you can visit some.

Pushkar holy lake
ABOVE: Central lake view in Pushkar from the west side of the town.
ABOVE: A sight on the holy lake and town center from the Ratnagiri hill.
Pushkar ghats at the lake side

Feast upon the light of a sundown

The best thing about Pushkar is that you can see amazing sunsets around the east side of the lake. The sunset point is perfect for this occasion.

If you do the hike to the Ratnagiri hill, you’ll get another opportunity for an amazing sunset (read below). So that means if stay at least two evenings in Pushkar, you’ll get to see 2 different sunset points. The sight will have a relaxing and calm effect on your mind.

Here’s an extra travel guide about the pros and cons of budget traveling in India.

Sunset Pushkar lake
ABOVE: An amazing sunset view from the sunset point on the east side of the lake.

Take a stroll in the Pushkar street markets

There are a lot of shops in Pushkar. The main street is one long shopping bazaar, selling anything a traveler fancies.

You’ll find a lot of religious decorations and gifts in Pushkar as well. But other than that, there is a wide choice of food shops, clothing stalls, and incense scenting jewelry and souvenir vendors.

Wandering around in these tiny lanes and scouting for a nice souvenir is quite fun and it’s something you should definitely do when you are in Pushkar.

One of the many Indian food shops in Pushkar.
A good falafel shop in Pushkar.

The Satrivi Mata temple on the Ratnagiri hill

On the south end of Pushkar, there is a hill with the Satrivi Mata temple on top which you can climb. You can either hike from the town center and climb up the stairs to the top of the hill. Or you can take a tuk-tuk to the bottom of the hill and take a cable cart up.

The view from to top of the Ratnagiri hill is splendid. On the Northside of the hill, you’ll have a good overview of Pushkar and its lake. While on the Southside of the hill, you’ll have an amazing sunset viewpoint. It’s a recommended thing to do when you are in Pushkar.

ABOVE: same viewpoint from the Ratnagiri hill as in another photo above in this article.
pushkar monkeys with green background
ABOVE: some monkeys on the Ratnagiri hill, south of Pushkar.
Pushkar surrounding hills
ABOVE: The surrounding landscape is filled with green rugged hills.
Sundown Pushkar
ABOVE: A sunset from the Satrivi Mata temple on the Ratnagiri hill.

There is no shortage of monkeys

On the Ratnagiri hill, there are in fact a lot of monkeys and they probably feed themselves on the food that people bring as a gift for the Satrivi Mata temple that’s on top of the hill.

Whilst often monkeys can be annoying and sometimes even dangerous, the monkeys here minded their own business. And, together with some visitors, we watched the sunset together. It was a very tranquil and soothing moment and it gave an exquisite opportunity for some amazing sunset shots (see below).

ABOVE: A mother monkey with her baby enjoying the sunset.
ABOVE: More monkeys gathering at the sunset point on the Ratnagiri hill.

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