Through the 8 Unforgettable Ghats of Pushkar

What is a Ghat?

It was in the year 2019 when I and my friends decided to go for a trip to Rajasthan and explore the ghats of Pushkar. A place that blends you into its ethnicity and divinity.

As I enjoyed so much in Pushkar, I decided to jot down all the details related to the ghats of Pushkar and give my readers a virtual tour of it. We will be talking about the importance of these ghats along with some hidden stories and unheard facts about it.

  • The term ‘Ghat’ is a Hindi word used to refer to a range of steps that leads towards a river or lake of holy and sacred importance to the Hindu religion.
  • The word ‘Ghat’ finds its origin in the Dravidian etymons, which are the Kannada/Tamil words for Kaadu/Kaatul meaning the forest or side of a range or ridge. Another is the Telugu word Katta and Gattu meaning dam and its embankment.
  • Ghats can have a various reference in India, for example, there exists the Mountain Ghats such as Bhor Ghat in Mumbai and Charmadi Ghat in Karnataka. Shmashana is another type of ghat which is used solely as cremation region.
Ghats of Pushkar

Now that you are well-aware about what is a ghat and its importance, let’s start with my virtual tour. We start at the Brahma Temple of Pushkar, which is one of the most important temple in India.

Brahma Temple in Ghats of Pushkar

The Ghats of Pushkar can be used as spots for sacred bathing as a part of rituals or can be even used as cremation sites for the departed. The bodies are cremated by the bank of the river and then later the ashes are allowed to be washed away by the river. It is believed that when ashes of the departed are dissipated in a holy river, the soul finally gets to attain peace in the afterlife.

The Brahma Temple of Pushkar may not be considered as an architectural wonder. But it surely has its importance as it is the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the world. Why? You will find out soon, so keep reading.

  • India has various ghats, the most famous being the Ghats of Varanasi and Kashi, whose steps lead to the holy Ganga river.
  • It is said that if you really want to experience Pushkar in its true form, you have to spend some time in the ghats of it.
  • Various holy ceremonies take place in the ghats of Pushkar in the evening, where you can witness a crowd of people offering their prayers and devotion to the Almighty, along with the priests chanting mantras (religious hymns) and carrying out the service.

Fact:

The Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 ghats and 400 temples all around it!

Brahma Ghat

The story of Brahma Ghat

  • The lake of Pushkar is considered to be holy because of its mythological history related to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma is the God supreme in Hinduism who created the entire Universe.
  • According to legends, Lord Brahma had slained a demon by the name of Vajra Nabh, with a lotus bloom. The petals of that lotus had floated down to the surface of the earth and were spread in three regions, in and around the city of Pushkar.
  • These three regions gave rise to the holy lake of Pushkar. Thus, the ghat near the lake is named after Lord Brahma, as Brahma Ghat.
  • An interesting story about this ghat is that it is believed that one of the most beautiful Apsara (angel) from heaven, named Menaka came down to earth to bathe in the holy water of Brahma Ghat.

Both the Brahma Ghat and the Brahma Temple are closely associated with each other. The Brahma Temple is the only temple in India that worships Lord Brahma, due to a curse given to him by Goddess Saraswati. Goddess Saraswati is the wife of Lord Brahma, and also the Goddess of Knowledge in Hinduism.

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 Heaven) 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 (One of the principle deities of Hinduism) 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.

Ghats you can visit within the Brahma Ghat

  • Dadicha/Hada Ghat
  • Sati Ghat

Saptrishi Ghat

Story of Saptrishi Ghat

  • The Saptrishi Ghat has a very fascinating story. The term ‘Saptrishi’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Saptarishi’ – meaning the ‘Seven Sages’.
  • The Saptarishis were the ‘Manasa Putra’ (mind-born sons) of Lord Brahma. They served as the representatives of Lord Brahma during a particular period of time called the Manvantara (age of Manu).
  • Manu is a unit of time measurement in Hinduism. Manu was created by Lord Brahma in order to create a new world, and after the death of Lord Brahma, the Manu will be destroyed to be replaced by another. And the cycle continues.
  • During the end of each cycle of Manvantara, the Universe is destroyed, and the task of filling it is given to a newly formed Saptarishis.
  • The Saptarishis are considered to be the highest in rank over any other Devtas (Gods) and Rishis (Saints).
  • The Ghat is named after the seven saints of Saptrishi, as a sign of devotion and hence the name given to it is Saptrishi Ghat. It is also believed, that the saints came down from heaven to meditate in that very ghat.

Fact:

It is believed in the Hindu Culture, that the Saptrishis are the seven brightest stars in the constellation of Ursa. And can be seen every night, watching over earth.

Gau Ghat

Story of Gau Ghat

  • The Gau Ghat as the name suggests is named as a sign of respect to the holy cow. ‘Gau’ is the Sanskrit word for ‘cow’.
  • It is considered to be one of the holiest ghats in Pushkar, and various ceremonies and rituals can be witnessed here in the evening.
  • The cow is not only seen as a holy symbol for good things but also as a symbol of life. In the Vedas, it is mentioned that two Goddesses- namely Mother Earth and Goddess Kamadhenu, take the form of a cow.
  • The Goddess Kamadhenu is known for taking the form of a ‘wish-granting-cow’, as according to myths, the Goddess provides her devotee with anything they want or desire.

The cow is considered to be holy as all of its parts has some religious parallel to Hinduism and its culture. The four legs are seen as symbols for the four Vedas, similarly, the length of a cow’s tail is related with the Himalayas.

Fact:

The Gau Ghat is famous for being the immersion spot of ashes for Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jawaharlal Nehru. The ghat has been recently renamed to Gandhi Ghat for the same.

Ghats you can visit within the Gau Ghat

  • Janana/Queen Mary Ghat
  • Chir Ghat
  • Nagar Ghat
  • Jagannath Ghat
  • Ram Ghat
  • Mukti Ghat
  • Gangaur Ghat
  • Asthal Ghat

Holakar Ghat

Story of Holakar Ghat

  • The Holakar Ghat is one of the Pachdevri Ghats of Pushkar and also goes by the name of Ahilya Ghat or Indore Ghat.
  • It is dedicated as a sign of respect to Ahilya, who was the wife of the Maharishi (sage) Gautama.
  • She was created by Lord Brahma and was the most beautiful among all women. She was married to Gautama who was much older than her.
  • According to some Hindu scriptures, it is believed that Ahilya was seduced by Indra, and later cursed by Gautama for infidelity. She was liberated from the curse by Lord Ram (an avatar of Lord Vishnu).
  • It is believed that the water from which Lord Brahma created Ahilya, came from the ghat at this spot, and hence the name was given to it as Ahilya Ghat.

Varaha Ghat

Story of Varaha Ghat

  • The Varaha Ghat is very closely associated to the Varaha Temple, which is situated right next to it.
  • Varaha is the Sanskrit word for ‘Boar’ and is the avatar of Lord Vishnu, which he took while trying to save Goddess Earth from the torments of a demon named Hiranyaksha.
  • In Hindu scriptures, the story is depicted as Lord Vishnu taking the form of a boar and going into the depths of the ocean to fight with the demon and save Goddess Earth. He carries her out on his tusks, and restores her back, to her position in the Universe.
  • The temple is dedicated to Varaha, and the idol is of the form of a Boar. It was built by a king named Anaji Chauhan in the 12th Century.
  • Both the temple and the ghat of Varaha were destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, which was later reconstructed by a Raja (King) of Jaipur, Raja Sawai 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.

Gwalior Ghat

Story of Gwalior Ghat

  • The Gwalior Ghat is famous for its beautiful architecture, which is made completely out of white stone.
  • It is one of the 108 Mahadev Ghats in India and is associated with the temple of Koteshwar Mahadev.

It is a handsomely structured temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (the destroyer). According to Hindu mythology, Koteshwar Shiva is regarded as the Bhairava (Hindu Tantric) of Hinglaj Mata (a Hindu temple), located at Hinglaj.

Similar Ghats of Pushkar that you can visit

  • Chandra Ghat
  • Indra Ghat
  • Bagula Ghat
  • Panch Vir
  • Jaisalmer/Kishangarh Ghat
  • Guru Gobind Singh Ghat
  • Mann/Jaipur Ghat

Icebreaker

There does not remain any doubt, that Pushkar draws most of its tourist because of the presence of its ghats and their wonderful historical and mythological stories. You can worship the Almighty in the temples next to the ghats, bathe in the holy water of it, choose to meditate in the peace and calm of the atmosphere surrounding the place, or even come to scatter the ashes of the departed in the Gau Ghat.

Every evening, there occur various aartis in the banks of the Ghats, which fills the atmosphere with chants and temple bells. You can also witness several priests setting up small platforms around the ghat where they help devotees to carry out the entire ritual for worshipping the Almighty. The service offered by the priests are for free, and many have been doing it from generations to generations. Anything offered by you to them is acceptable.

Some of the ghats are also used as a relaxing site for a picnic, to chat with peers and spend some family time. These ghats are also used for boating, where you can view the picturesque beauty of the Lake. Apart from that, the most fascinating thing that you can witness in the ghats of Pushkar is the Sadhus (sages) and Rishis doing Tapasya (meditation). Some of these Sadhus have been meditating from long, whereas some are there for only a short time.

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