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  • Writer's pictureGargi

Weekend Road trip to Pushkar-Ajmer

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Nestled in the foothills of Aravalli Range, Pushkar is a quaint yet very popular town in Rajasthan. This place has a great cultural, mythological and historical significance. It is an abode of Lord Brahma and it is one of the oldest cities in India. It is believed that Pushkar has one of the 5 Brahma  temples on the world and is considered the most important one. the lake is surrounded by many temple and ghats for the pilgrims and tourist to offer prayers.

Pushkar caters to a lot of Israeli tourists, many locals can speak and understand Israeli and there are a lot of places where you will find Hebrew content especially in menu cards of the restaurants, museums and other sign boards in Pushkar. Many restaurants also offer Israeli dishes.

Pushkar is popular for its Brahma temple, Pushkar Lake and the Pushkar Camel Fair. Pushkar Camel Fair that happens between October-November is the world’s largest Camel Fair. I had heard about Pushkar from a lot of people. But we wanted to avoid the rush and hustle during the Camel Fair. So we decided to visit Pushkar on the Dussera long weekend this year. Actually the fair the best place to experience the shades or rural India along with the beautiful Rajasthani culture, through its art and handicrafts.

While checking out some hotel properties online, we came across 'Ananta Spa and Resort' with a good deal and we booked it for 2 nights immediately. We did not do a road trip since long time and so we were really excited about this one. Starting at around 6:00 am in the morning we were quite on schedule but as usual we were stuck near Manesar for about 25-30 minutes. The traffic was moving absolutely slow but after this jam, we're didn't get stuck anywhere else. The road as quite free and traffic was clear too. We had our brunch on the way before taking the Jaipur bypass. We avoided the city traffic of Jaipur and could save almost one and a half hour. Drive to Ajmer is pretty easy. Just follow the google Maps but don't forget to take the bypass at Jaipur. Pushkar is almost 30 minutes by car from Ajmer. It's a short drive through a hill road. Ananta Spa and Resort lies on the right side of the road towards Pushkar almost 2-3 kilometres before you enter Pushkar.

We were welcomed at the resort with one of the lady staff putting a Kumkum Tika on our forehead and a tasty and refreshing Welcome drink. We finished the check-in formalities and then walked down to our small villa type room. They all it 'Super Deluxe Room'.  After an easy 7 hour ride to Pushkar, we decided to go for a quick lunch and rest for a while till the Ravan Dahan at the resort itself. It was Dussera that day and we were quite happy that we could witness the Ravan Dahan in the resort itself.

Taking a small walk in the property we spent some time near the pool. We took some information from the Travel Desk about the places in and around Pushkar. We took a relaxing massage at the Spa too and they also gave us some good deals for a couple massage.

Later, with a chilled bear and some snacks to much we enjoyed the folk music and dance performance at the amphitheatre which was arranged by the resort. Ananta Spa and Resort arranges a folk concert as a complementary entertainment for its guests every weekend.

After the small folk concert, we had our dinner. Simple yet delicious and a great spread with different varieties of Indian and Continental dishes. It was a really delicious dinner.

As per our regular habit, we decided to go for a small city drive of Pushkar, like we always do in other places. It wasn’t late as per Delhi standards but the city of Pushkar was fast asleep after celebrating the Dussera and Ravan Dahan at the Mela Ground. Pushkar city is hardly 2 to 3 kilometres away from the resort.

(Pushkar Lake and its Ghats)

We drove through the quiet lanes of Pushkar, exploring the city at night. Roads were empty, houses were quiet and lanes were isolated. There were hardly few 12-15 people near the Mela Ground clearing the mess after Dussera celebrations.

Mis-guided by Google Maps again as it happens most of the times in small town, we entered a small dark lane missing out on a large manhole and till the time we realised, we had already bumped really hard into it. The front right tire burst and we could hear the ‘phussssss’ sound of the air gushing out of the tire. The large iron rods coming out of the manhole had punctured the tire. And it wasn’t very difficult to understand that we were in great trouble. We were not far from the Mela Ground and hence decided to go back to it as we had seen some people there. We thought, they would help us. Slowly reversing back the car, we carefully drove to the Mela Ground and parked the car in front of the main gate.

This was happening to us in last one and a half year since we had bought the car. Do we did not know how to change the type. We have an Audi Q3 and it has a little different way to change the type. We patiently sat down on the road, literally on the road with the user manual of the car to find out in every possible way to change the tyre. Eventually seeing us, some locals walks to us and tried to help us in every possible way. We Googled and also checked on Youtube about how to remove the punctured type and fix the spare tyre. After almost an hour and a half of so much struggle, a local car mechanic was passing by, returning home from his work. He stopped by and asked us, what the issue was. Being experienced, he very well knew how to change the tyre. He helped us change the tyre and also assured us that he would fix the punctured tyre so that we can at least drive back to Delhi safely.

(Pushkar Lake Aerial View)

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Thanking everyone who helped us, we drove back to the hotel with the emergency tyre. Next morning, after breakfast we drove directly to the car repair shop and hot the car’s tyre changes before we moved forward for the sightseeing in Pushkar and then Ajmer. We had a great trip later and reached back home safely.

But in this chaos, I would like to specifically mention a few things.

  • The locals in Pushkar were very helpful and did not try to misguide us of loot us in any way, taking advantage of our situation.

  • There is small shop, right in front of the Mela Ground. The owner of the shop stayed with us the whole time and confronted us by helping in any way possible. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit him again when we were in Pushkar and even forgot to ask his name. But, if you happen to be in Pushkar, I would request you to buy something, some snacks, chocolates, cold drink, chips or anything else you want from that poor fellow.

  • When we reached back to the hotel with the extra tyre late at night, the staff at the resort immediately understood that we had some trouble seeing the spare tyre on the car. They asked us if we needed anything. They also insisted if we wanted to change the tyre at night. But since, we didn’t want any more adventure, we told then we were fine if we changed the tyre in the morning and thank them for their concern. After giving the description of the mechanic’s shop, the staff assured us that the mechanic was good and take rest stress-free.

(Pushkar Lake and its Ghats)

Things to do

1. Visit the Brahma temple:

Pushkar, the abode of Lord Brahma, is one of the oldest cities in India.

sages after taking a dip in the holy lake. The temple has an idol of Lord Brahman, Goddess Gayatri and Brahma’s symbol of the goose.

2. Visit the 52 ghats at the Pushkar Lake:

Pushkar lake is located near the Brahma Temple. As per mythological tale, this place is considered where BrahmaandSavitri offered their prayers. You may offer puja at the Ghats but beware of the ponga panditswho would tell you a mythological tale and ask you to offer puja just by paying some money. Later, within minutes they will ask you to give a handsome amount as an offering for puja towards your well-being and that’s the catch. Don’t fall into their trap and pay them extra.The lake has 52 ghats, designed for taking baths and offering prayers. Brahma Ghatis the most famous while others are- Varaha, Dadhich, Saptarishi, Gwalior, Kota, Gau, Yag, Jaipur, Karni andGangaur Ghat.

(Entrance Gate to the Varaha Ghat in Pushkar)

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(Ghats at the Lake in Pushkar)

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3. Attend the Pushkar Camel Fair:

Pushkar conducts one of the world’s largest camel fairs every year during Kartik Purnima which is the last week of October or first week of November.  It is an annual five-day livestock and cattle fair held in Pushkar where they trade-off camels, horses and cattle and other animals. There are different competitions held during the fair like the Moustache competition, matka phod,  and other recreational activities. It is also popular for Bridal Competitions. Many tourists and pilgrims flock to Pushkar to bathe away their sins in the holy water and to watch it spring to life with colour and music. You may take a hot air balloon ride if you want to see the majestic sunrise or sunset that cannot be described in words. Also, remember to book your accommodation well in advance, in order it avoid the price hikes during the Fair.

4. Camel Safari:

If you travel to Pushkar during off-season, then you can take a camel ride. It doesn’t not take you around in the main city. But the safari will drop you at a point, from there you need to move around on foot.

5. Go hiking on Ratnagiri Hill to Savitri Temple:

The temple of Lord Brahma’s wife Saraswati or Savitri is located on top of a hill in Pushkar. It has the best view of the whole Pushkar city and the lake from the top. It is not very difficult to trek up to the temples and it is preferred to climb up before sunrise and the weather is good and you may enjoy the view of the city while the sun light fall on it.

6. Naga Pahar – A mountain bound to disappear

The city of Pushkar and Ajmer are divided by a hill called Naga Paharand as per the legends it is believed that the hills of Naga Pahar are diminishing and eventually disappear totally. These hills are believed to be the residence of the famous Sage Agastya. The hills has a small lake called Nag Kund and offers a great view of  Pushkar city from its top

7. Man Mahal

Man Mahal is a Palace built by Amber’s Raja Man Singh, located close to the Pushkar Lake.  The palace is built in traditional Rajasthani architectural style and also has a temple inside. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation maintains the palace and is used as a tourist bungalow. Camel riding and camping arrangements are also arranged for the guests on request.

8. Visit Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Ajmer Sharif Darga is a shrine (Dargah) of sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti located at Ajmer. The shrine has the grave (Maqbara) of the sufi saint, Moinuddin Chisti. It is situated at the foot of the Taragarh hill. It consists of several white marble buildings arranged around two courtyards, including a massive gate donated which was by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Akbari Mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It contains the domed tomb of the saint. It is believed that Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot on pilgrimage from Agra every year when he prayed for a son.

(Ajmer Sharif Darga is a shrine (Dargah) of sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti located at Ajmer)

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You would have to park your car away from the Dargah at the designated parking area. Photography is prohibited inside the Dargah, so strictly follow the rules. Both men and women need to cover their head as per the tradition while entering the Dargah, so don’t forget to carry a long handkerchief for men and a scarf or a dupatta for women to cover the head properly.

Be careful if there is rush while you enter the Dargah, take care of your belongings, especially the jewellery, wallets and phone. It is quite easily possible to  It would be better if you keep all the important things and valuables in the car safely. Take blessings and leave the place as soon as possible. There are a lot of souvenir shops around the Dargah. So you can do some quick shopping there. Try not to get tempted by the chaadar and flower vendors and also at the donation counter, if you don’t wish to offer. Stay firm on your decision. Try to go on your own rather than taking a guide, as he would unnecessarily charge higher amount from you and lure you larger amounts of donation.

(Closed doors of the shops and houses in the narrow lanes of Ajmer)

How to reach:

By Air:

Sangamner is the closest airport to Pushkar which is at a distance of around 146 kilometres. You can take a cab/paid taxi to reach Pushkar.

By Train:

Ajmer junction is the closes railway station to Pushkar, which is at a distance of 11kms. you can take Pink City Express and Shatabdi Express to reach fastest and easiest from New Delhi or Jaipur.

By Road:

Pushkar is well connected by major expressways and national highways of Rajasthan and India. You can take a bus that goes to Marwar bus stand or Ajmer Bus stand. There is a very good frequency of buses going to Ajmer, Jaipur, Delhi from Pushkar.

You may also drive in  by your own car to Pushkar from Delhi (approximately 10 hours). Jaipur, (3 hours), Udaipur (6 hours). The roads are good and easy traffic to drive.

(Ajmer City from the Hill top on the way to Pushkar)

Where to stay:

Since Pushkar is one of the major tourist destinations, popular amongst backpackers and have a huge number of pilgrims visiting every year, there are many budget as well as luxurious hotels in Pushkar. The tariff for all these hotels depend on the demand and season. All these hotels including the budget ones have a price hike during the Pushkar Fair. Some of the popular luxurious hotels suggested would be as given below:

· Green House Resort

· Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa

· Ananta Spa and Resorts

· The Gateway Resort Pushkar Bypass

· The Narayan Resort

· Jagat Palace

Some guest houses and budget hotels would be as given below:

· Inn Seventh Heaven

· Hotel Everest

· Zostel

Along with the hostels, budget hotels and guest houses, Air BnB is also coming up as an option for accommodation.

(Ananta Spa and Resort, Pushkar)

Where to eat:

Considered as a very holy place and has the only Brahma temple and also a home for many other temples, Pushkar is a vegetarian place and they do not even serve alcohol in the city. Like any other tourist destination, there are a lot of places to eat, and try some Rajasthani and other Indian and international cuisines. Like mentioned before there are a lot of restaurants that serve Israeli dishes as Pushkar has a lot of tourists from Israel.

Following are a few suggestions for cafes and restaurants in Pushkar.

· Pink Floyd cafe

· Honey & Spice

· Om shiva Garden Restaurant

· Little Italy Pizzeria

· Sunset Cafe

· Cafe Nature's Blessing

· The Laughing Buddha Cafe

· Nirvana cafe and pizzeria

· Funky Monkey Cafe

· The Sixth Sense

· Out Of The Blue

· Raju terrace Garden

· Cafe Lake View Pushkar

· Old Shiva Cafe

· Ganga Laffa & Felafel Restaurant Pushkar

· Doctor Cafe

Places to shop:

The main road around the Brahma Temple and the Pushkar lake is the main market where you would find a variety of things to take back home as home decor, bags and accessories, jewellery, clothes, fabrics, textile, leather goods. You would find a variety of handicraft in the typical Rajasthani style.

(Bazaar in Pushkar)

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The different bazaars or local markets that you can visit Sadar Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Bada Bazaar or Kedalganj Bazaar.

The important thing to remember is to bargain at these local shops to et a decent and reasonable price for the things you would like to buy.

(Bazaar in Pushkar)

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What to wear:

Pushkar is always hot during the day. Even if it is peak winters. Hence, carry light cotton cloths to wear while you stroll around the city during the day. During summers it gets pretty pleasant in the evening but it is still hot. During winters it’s pretty chilly during the nights. So don’t forget to carry some warm cloths to cover yourself at night, preferable a good warm jacket or a sweater.  

Best time to visit:       

Pushkar has really hot summers and very chilly winters. The best time to visit Pushkar is between October to March. During this time, the afternoons are pretty pleasant to walk around the city for sightseeing and nights are cold.

As it is the time for Pushkar Camel Fair during the months of October – November, you may also plan to visit Pushkar to enjoy the fair and experience the rich Rajasthani culture. But make sure you book well in advance to get good options at cheaper rates.

(Ana Sagar Lake - Ajmer)

Pushkar is a quaint yet very popular destination among Indian and International tourists. Do visit Pushkar at least once and enjoy the royal hospitality by the humble and simple Rajasthani people and enjoy the serenity of the place.

Happy Travels!

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