Pushkar Travel Guide: Things to do, DIY Itinerary, How To Get There And More
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Pushkar is a small town near Ajmer in the desert state of Rajasthan. Daily life and other activities here—including religious ceremonies and rituals—centers on Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu site. Surrounding the lake are more than 50 Ghats where Pilgrims bathe and the nightly aarti are held. Narrow alleyways lined up with bazaars housed in centuries-old Havelis—traditional Indian mansions—and hundreds of temples surround this small town. Brimming with a rich history, colorful culture, savory cuisine and revered religious events—more than a charming town—Pushkar still hid many gems every traveler would delight in discovering.
To learn more about Pushkar, here are some information you can use to help you plan your trip to this fascinating town someday.
When is the best time to visit Pushkar?
The best time to visit Pushkar is between November—when the Pushkar Camel Festival is held—and March when the temperature hovers around 8 degrees to 20 degrees Celsius. During this time, the weather is pleasant and enjoyable, and the desert is an ideal setting to experience a day-long safari. The months of April to August bring in scorching weather.
How to get to Pushkar?
The nearest airport to Pushkar is in Jaipur, which is three hours away. If you’re flying from Manila, you can take a flight heading to Kuala Lumpur and from Kuala Lumpur you can fly to either Jaipur (3 hours from Pushkar) or New Delhi (8-10 hours from Pushkar).
There are direct buses between Pushkar and Ajmer (half an hour for 30 Rupees), Jaipur (3 hours for 250-400 Rupees), Udaipur (6 hours for 450 Rupees) and night buses from New Delhi (10 hours for 500-800 Rupees).
The nearest train station in Pushkar is located in Ajmer, which is half an hour away. From Ajmer train station, you can easily hop into a rickshaw to take you to the nearest bus station where you can catch a bus going to Pushkar. Or, you can take your chances outside the train station to wait for a passing bus heading to Pushkar. Most of the time the conductor will yell out “Pushkar, Pushkar”.
Getting around Pushkar
The center of Pushkar where all the attractions and activities are located, is very walkable thus you don’t have to need to take public transportation when getting around the town of Pushkar. If you want to explore the outskirts, rickshaws are still the best mode of transportations.
Where to Eat in Pushkar
Since Pushkar is considered a sacred town, it is a totally meat-free place and only vegetarian meals are served. Some hotels and restaurants serve eggs and cow products for milk but over-all, it is a vegetarian haven.
Pushkar Breakfast Corner
Address: Main Market Rd, Choti Basti, Pushkar, Rajasthan
A popular food stall in Pushkar that only opens during breakfast time, Pushkar Breakfast corner serves a flavor popping 20-Rupee breakfast. An order of Poha (flattened rice) topped with crispy crunchy mathri, dal (cooked lentils) and with onion, tomato sprinkled with Chatpata Masala, is enough to power you through the morning. Just across it is a chai tea stall where you can sit, drink masala tea and watch the market happenings.
Out of the Blue
Address: India, Main Market Rd, Badi Basti, Pushkar, Rajasthan
Bursting with a hippie vibe–thanks to its cool interior—Out of the Blue also serves a wide array of Indian and multi-cultural cuisine from falafel to momos to pasta. The outdoor terrace is a great place to dine and watch the stunning sunset.
Cafe Lake View Pushkar
Address: Sadar Bazar 187, Badri Ghat, Pushkar, Rajasthan
Another vegetarian place that comes with a front-row view of Pushkar Lake–thanks to its rooftop alfresco. Dig up on mouth-watering fruit bowls, vegan smoothies, pasta and pizzas that pairs well with the cool climate during the winter season. In the summertime, the refreshing mango lassi are to die for.
Falafel Food Stands
Address: Pushkar Road | Choti Basti, Pushkar
This part of a long narrow street is filled with a row of Falafel food stalls serving some of the best falafel in Rajasthan. Tourists passing by the street are always enticed by the savory smell of falafels being prepared and we dare you to pass here without stopping by to order. Chances are, you can’t and we truly understand as this writer also ended up having a satisfying falafel here.
Address: Moustache Hostel, Badi Basti, Pushkar, Rajasthan
Located on the rooftop of Moustache Hostel, Unearth Cafe is popular among backpackers for its cozy and hip vibe overlooking the town and the lake. They serve a variety of vegan dishes that includes vegan salads and vegan burgers. This is a good place to also meet other travelers.
Shree Karani Maa Restaurant
Address: Saradhna Bhawan, ajmer, Brahma Temple Rd, Pushkar
Serving traditional Rajasthani cuisine (including the must try, Rajasthani Thali), this is where you must go to try out some Indian local dishes such as Chhola bhatura, gatta masala, mirchi pakodas, handi dal, makki rotis and more, then pair it up with a refreshing glass of Lassi.
Laughing Buddha Cafe
Address: Main Market Rd, Badi Basti, Pushkar, Rajasthan
Serving a fusion of Indian cuisine and Western dishes, this is also a favorite among many travelers because of it’s chill ambiance and a rooftop area where you can dine and enjoy the view of the town.
Where to stay in Pushkar
Address: Brahma Temple Rd, Near Narsingh Mandir, Ganahera, Pushkar, Rajasthan
This writer stayed for five nights at Moustache Hostel, a popular hostel chain with properties in New Delhi, Jaipur, Rishikesh and more, the Moustache property in Pushkar is very spacious with a beautiful courtyard that doubles as a commonplace for the guests. It also has a rooftop where guests can do yoga and regal at the view of the town. Unearth Café is located on the fourth floor of the hostel. They offer private rooms starting from 800 Rupees and dorm beds for as low as 200 Rupees.
There are many hostels, inns, small hotels located within the center of Pushkar town. Situated just outside of the town are several posh and more expensive places such as the Dera Masuda, Bhanwar Singh Palace, Pushkar Bagh, Pratap Palace, and the Ananta Spa and Resorts. You won’t have a hard time choosing where to stay in Pushkar because of the availability of options. For a hassle-free trip planning, check out this link to book your Pushkar accommodations.
Places to See and Things to do in Pushkar
Take a short hike to Savitri Temple
Perched on top of the 750-feet high Ratnagiri Hill, Savitri Temple was originally built in 1687 in honor of Goddess Savitri or Saraswati, Lord Brahma’s first wife (Brahma is the God of Creation and the Creator of the four Vedas in Hinduism). Inside the temple, one can find the 7th-century idol of Savitri. The current temple was rebuilt in the early 1900s and one needs to climb a flight of 750-steps or take a cable ride (90 Rupees one-way) to the top.
Visit Sacred Ghats for a holy dip at Pushkar Lake
There are 52 Ghats (bathing places) surrounding the sacred Pushkar Lake. Hindus believed the lake possesses great healing and purifying powers. A pilgrimage tour to Pushkar is incomplete without a holy dip from any of the various Bathing Ghats in Pushkar. Hindus believe that washing your hands, feet or taking a dip in the sacred Lake Pushkar can purify one from all the sins, troubles and ailments. Sacred to the Hindus as well as the Sikhs, this lake has been mentioned in history as early as the 14th century.
Witness a “Baraat” Procession
In Western and Northern India during Hindu and Sikh weddings, the Groom is led to the wedding venue in a procession called the Baraat. The Groom rides a Ghodi, or a white horse—embellished by family members—accompanied by what is called the “baaratis’ composed of family members, friends, a marching band and groomsmen who some even ride on decorated horses.
Marvel at the Architecture of Havelis
Aside from the 52 Ghats and more than 400 temples surrounding Pushkar Lake, you will also find dozens of Havelis (traditional Indian mansions) with striking heavy wooden doors and richly-designed windows. Some of these Havelis are now transformed into small hotels and bazaar shops.
Watch the Evening Aarti
The Aarti is a traditional Hindu religious ritual performed in most sacred cities like Haridwar, Varanasi, and Rishikesh. Here in Pushkar, you can witness an evening aarti at one of the Ghats, particularly at Varah Ghat. This is a spiritual gathering meant to express Hindu devotion to their religion and includes ritual rites like chanting, praying and offering of flowers to the holy Pushkar Lake.
Hike to Pap Mochani Temple
Perched atop a hill opposite where Savitri Temple stands, the Pap Mochani Temple is less popular but offers a magnificent view of the town and the lake. This is located a mere 20-minute walk from town and another 30-minute hike. This is a great place to wait for the sunset.
Pray at the Brahma Temple
Travelers from different religions flock to Brahma Temple to pay homage to one of the few temples in India dedicated to Brahma–the Hindu creator God. Brahma Temple is said to be more than 2,000 years old and you can enter it by leaving your shoes outside and joining the other Hindu worshippers. Inside, awaits a beautiful architecture and a solemn vibe that will surely summon your spiritual side for a moment of reflection.
Best Places to Shop in Pushkar
The best place to shop in Pushkar is anywhere in Pushkar. You don’t need to pinpoint a specific market to go since almost all of the streets in the town of Pushkar are dotted with bazaars selling a rich assortment of items from traditional clothing, bangles, jewelry, journals, and other fascinating mementos. You can haggle politely as all of the vendors are nice and friendly people.
Pushkar additional travel tips
If you are going to the lake and at one of the Ghats to observe daily religious activities, you can freely do so without having to pay for something. Do not believe tourist touts pretending to be Hindu Priests telling you that you need to buy an offering. If you agree, they will take you to a corner and recite a prayer to you then afterward would demand a hefty donation. Just say a firm “No” and they won’t bother you again.
There are ATMs and Money changers located in the center of Pushkar Town, so withdrawing and exchanging money won’t be a problem. Most restaurants and shops also accept credit and debit cards.
Pushkar Travel and Tour Packages
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