Historical Backdrop of Temples of Pushkar
Pushkar is known for its divinity, spirituality, and sanctity throughout the mythological history of Hinduism. The name itself means ‘Lotus’ which is believed to be the sacred seat of the divine Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma is considered to be the creator of the Universe as well as the four Vedas.
Pushkar is the only place where Lord Brahma is worshipped, due to a curse given to him by Goddess Saraswati.
The entire town of Pushkar is built around the holy Pushkar Lake which is believed to have formed when Lord Brahma slained a demon by the name of Vaira Nabh with a lotus bloom. During the fight, the petals of the flower floated down to the surface of the earth, where the lakes came to being.
Pushkar Lake is surrounded by about 52 ghats and more than 400 temples dedicated to different Gods and Goddesses. The most famous being the Brahma Temple.
According to Hindu Scriptures, Pushkar is considered to be one of the pilgrim destinations for the sacred Tirth-Yatra (Hindu Pilgrimage). In The Mahabharat, it is mentioned that the holy pilgrimage journey of a Hindu starts from Pushkar and ends in Prayag of Allahabad. The journey is undertaken in a clockwise direction and needs to be completed, once initiated.
Pushkar is notably known for its five famous temples; all of which had undergone massive changes in design and reconstruction due to the demolishment of the buildings in the Mughal Reign.
All of these temples have their own historical backdrop and beautiful architecture and craftsmanship that will surely leave you with a lasting impression.
Varaha Temple – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Varaha Temple
- Varaha is the Sanskrit word for ‘Boar’ and it is the third reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is solely dedicated for the purpose of worshipping Vishnu’s Varaha Avatar (reincarnation). The idol in the temple is unlike any seen as it is of the form of a boar.
- The Varaha Temple is one of the oldest temples in the history of Pushkar. The temple, along with the Varaha Ghat, which is located right next to it were destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and was later reconstructed by a Raja (King) of Jaipur, named Raja Sawaj Mann Singh.
- Every evening at around 5:30 PM, there occurs a Maha Aarti (a ritual in which light is offered to the Gods) in the Varaha Ghat, where you can witness the chanting of mantras by various priests and the atmosphere is filled with the fragrance of flowers and incense sticks.
The Rescue of Goddess Earth
- According to Hindu mythology, once Goddess Earth was taken captive by the demon named Hiranyaksha and was trapped in the midst of the ocean.
- It was Lord Vishnu, who took the form of Varaha the Boar and went into the depths of the ocean to fight the demon and rescue Goddess Earth.
- It is believed, that Lord Vishnu, after defeating Hiranyaksha, carried Goddess Earth on his tusk to the surface, and restored her position back in the Universe.
Construction And Architecture
- The Varaha Temple is considered to be an architectural masterpiece of the 12th century, which was constructed by a king named Anaji Chauhan.
- The temple has a majestic dome at the top, with pillars in the corners and white walls.
- After its destruction by the Mughal Empire, it was reconstructed by Raja Mann Singh, and the destroyed stone carvings and architectural pieces can still be seen in the present structure of the temple.
Raghunath Mandir – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Raghunath Mandir
The Raghunath Mandir comprises seven shrines in its inner sanctum, and has the idol of Lord Ram at its focal point, along with his wife Sita, and brother Laxman on both his sides.
The temple also comprises of various images and idols of other Gods and Goddesses such as Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of wealth), and Lord Narasimha (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) which you can worship, but the temple mainly focuses on Lord Ram and his divine works.
- The architecture and the pictures inside the temple depict the story of Lord Ram during his exile period.
- Lord Ram, is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and also the protagonist of the great Hindu Mythology Ramayana.
The temple is also sometimes referred to as the Old Rangji Temple, built in the year 1823. The architecture of the temple is very much influenced by South Indian carvings and design, as the masons who constructed the temple were from South India.
Only Indian Tourists are allowed to go inside the temple of Raghunath.
Shiva Temple – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Shiva Temple
- The Shiva Temple is located at the central heart of the town of Pushkar, at a distance of only 2 to 3 kilometers from the Pushkar lake.
- The Shiva Temple is also known as the Panch Kund Shiva Temple and is believed to have been built by the five Pandava brothers of the Hindu Epic Mahabharata as a dedication to Lord Shiva.
- The temple is made up of intricate carvings of stone and lies in seclusion from the usual crowd gathered around the temples of Pushkar.
- The architecture of the temple speaks about the heroic stories and deeds depicted in the Mahabharata as well as Lord Shiva.
Rangji Temple – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Rangji Temple
- In Pushkar, there exist two Rangji Temples, one is the old Rangji Temple, initiated in the year 1823, and the other is the new Rangji Temple.
- The Rangji Temple is one of the oldest and the most famous temple in Pushkar, dedicated to Lord Rangji who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
- It is trusted that the temple was built by a rich Seth of Hyderabad, named Puran Mal Ganeriwal.
- The Rangji Temple solely belongs to the Pushkar sect of the Vaishnava Sampradaya, whose rituals and customs are represented in both Sanskrit and Tamil language.
- Apart from the main idol of Lord Rangji, the temple also houses the idols of Lord Godambaji, Lord Krishna, Shri Ramanujacharya, Goddess Lakshmi, and many more.
Construction And Architecture
- The temple of Rangji Ji mirrors a blend of Mughal and Rajput design, along with the Dravidian architectures.
- The Gopuram (tower), which is built over the main entrance to the temple is of cement and brick, made out of elaborate structuring and carving. This was assembled and designed by the Masons of South India, imported for the reason.
- Four images of Vahan Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu-an Eagle), are placed in the temple’s four corners, to depict that the temple belongs to the Vaishnavas (Hindu tradition).
Brahma Temple – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Brahma Temple
Curse of Goddess Saraswati
- In order to carry out a yajna (sacrificial ceremony) in Pushkar, Lord Brahma needed his wife to be present during the sacrifice, as per the requirements of the ceremony; but Goddess Saraswati was not willing to leave.
- The ceremony had to begin at once, hence Lord Brahma asked Indra (King of Gods) to provide him with a suitable wife. A girl named ‘Gayatri’ married Lord Brahma and performed the yajna.
- When Goddess Saraswati arrived and found Lord Brahma had married another woman without her consent, she cursed him that Lord Brahma will be worshipped in Pushkar only, and Lord Vishnu will have to bear the sufferings of being separated from his wife along with Indra who will be easily defeated in all battles.
- Because of the curse, Pushkar is the only place where Lord Brahma is worshipped and the temple is known as the Brahma Temple.
Construction And Architecture
- The temple is located on a high altitude and can be reached through a multitude of marble staircases leading towards the entrance of the Brahma Temple, beautified with pillared hangings.
- The temple dates back to the 14th century and was completely restructured later.
- The temple is worked with stone sections and squares, combined with lead. The red shikhara of the temple and image of a hamsa- a swan or goose, is the mount of Brahma and is an unmistakable highlight of the temple.
- Marble floor and dividers inside the temple have been decorated with several silver coins by devotees as a representation of offering to Lord Brahma.
- There is a silver turtle in the mandap (platform) that is shown on the floor of the temple confronting the Garbhagriha (the innermost sanctum of a temple), which is also worked in marble.
Savitri Temple – Temples of Pushkar
Story of Savitri Temple
- The Temple of Savitri is situated on the hilltop Ratnagiri and is a popular pilgrimage site. The name Savitri is the other name for the wife of Lord Brahma, Goddess Saraswati.
- Despite the fact, that there exist both the idols of Lord Brahma’s two wives- Savitri and Gayatri. According to Hindu traditions and beliefs, the idol of Goddess Savitri is worshipped first, and then Goddess Gayatri.
- The climb to the hilltop is not easy and consist of a lot of strenuous effort, but it is believed that the harder you work to reach your pilgrim place, the more ‘tapas’ (penance) you will gain.
- In order to carry on with the Yajna, when Lord Brahma married Gayatri, it made Goddess Savitri very upset, and to please her, the temple was set up in her name.
Construction And Architecture
- The Savitri temple is a work of art, because of the excellent craftsmanship required to build the temple on a hilltop.
- The journey to the temple is perilous and consists of climbing 200 stairs, but it is worth it because the temple gives a view of the entire town of Pushkar.
- There exists a ropeway ride to the temple as well, which you can undertake to view Pushkar in all its divinity.
- The inside architecting of the temple is devoted towards telling the stories of Goddess Savitri and Goddess Gayatri. The idols are one of a kind.
- The surrounding of the temple is also very beautiful and divine. One can spend hours lazing in the greenery around the temple, admiring nature at its best.
Pushkar is one of those towns that will etch its memories into you for a long time. The town is full of wonderful architecture and craftsmanship dating back to the 14th century and even more. The town will give you a vibe of spirituality the moment you step into it. The fragrance of Incense Sticks and flowers will feel your soul with a devotion to the Almighty.
It is a town with more than 400 temples and the only town that worships Lord Brahma. The engineering of the temples around the holy Pushkar Lake is a sight to behold. The ghats swarming with devotees, doing various activities, from praying to bathing, yoga to sightseeing, the place is a plethora of religious activities.
Almost all of the temples are dedicated to worshipping the three Gods – Lord Brahma- the creator, Lord Vishnu- the preserver and Lord Shiva- the destructor. Apart from them there exist temples which worship their reincarnation, Goddess Saraswati, Venkuthnath, Raghunath and many more.
You can witness the priests performing various rituals and helping the devotees to offer their prayers to the Gods. Other than that, every evening you can witness the Maha Aarti (Hindu prayer ceremony) in the ghats of Varaha at around 5.30 PM.