Friends, in my previous post of this series I had mentioned about the Pushkar lake (Sarovar). Now in this post I’ll take you the another major attraction of Pushkar and that is Brahma Temple, the only temple in the world of its kind.
After our holy bath in the Pushkar lake we did some puja on the main ghat of pushkar lake in guidance of a local panditji and after completion of pooja we moved towards our hotel. Now after reaching hotel our next destination was the great Brahma temple. As I had already mentioned in previous post that unfortunately my daughter Sanskriti fall ill from the beginning of this tour and she was not yet recovered completely from her sickness and was feeling weakness so she couldn’t accompanied us to the holy Pushkar Lake.
Since our hotel was on a walking distance from the Pushkar Sarovar ghaat so we didn’t needed any vehicle for hotel and started walking towards hotel. On the way we decided to ask Sanskriti if she is willing to come with us to the temple because we didn’t want this opportunity to be missed by Sanskriti. After reaching hotel and resting for a few minutes we asked sanskriti whether she is feeling well? She told us that yes she is feeling well now and can come with us to temple. Her wish to visit temple was a happy news for us and this brought smile on our faces.
Now we all together moved towards the temple. The best part was that our hotel was located between temple and Sarovar and was closed to both the places and we could reach there on our foot. in a few minutes walk we reached on the entrance gate (Sinhdwar) of the temple. After this gate there are some stairs to climb up because the temple is located on a level higher than ground. There was a little pressure of crowd that time as it was morning time which usually happens the pick time for a temple. There were a lot of shops of poojan samagri and haar phool, we bought some prasaad and flowers to offer the lord and set in the queue leading to the stairs to main shrine.
After spending 10-15 minutes in the queue we were now in front of the hall (sabhamandap) of the temple and after few moments hustle bustle in the hall we reached exactly in front of Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhgrih). Since here in this temple it is not allowed to a common person to enter in the sanctum and one has to have a glimpse (Darshan) from outside only, so we had good darshan from the hall and moved back. In the campus of Brahma temple there are other small temple to surrounding the main temple, so we had darshan at all these temples and finally came out of temple.
Now we had completed darshan of both the sacred places of Pushkar and next day in the morning we had to move to Ajmer as a part of our return journey, So it was the best time for us to spend some moments freely in Pushkar’s market and have some feeling of this wonderful place.
The market of small shops on both the sides of the main street leading to Brahma temple, is a beautiful market. There are a number of shops selling different kind of handicrafts, cloths, wooden and clay toys, ayurvedic medicines, herbs, food items etc. The market was stuffed with so beautiful articles that any one can easily be tempted to purchase them and specially ladies. Kavita and sanskriti brought some items of their choice and shivam bought a pair of decorated camels made out of clay. I didn’t find anything of my interest there so I was just looking around the market. Sanskrti found this market so enjoyable and beautiful that she forgot her illness and kept on watching the shops and purchasing from them.
When we were leaving for Ajmer & Pushkar from our home, some of our neighbours gave us money to bring some special things from Pushkar for them. One of the most famous thing to purchase and bring home is the GULKAND (गुलकंद) of Pushkar. It is a sweet and delicious preserve of rose petals prepared and sold in Pushkar in abundance. Gul means flower in both Persian and Urdu whereas Qand means sweet in Arabic. Everywhere in Pushkar market and on the ghat of holy pond you can find the jars and sachets of Gulkand being sold.
The price of Half kg. of Gulkand made with candy (Mishri) was Rs. 100 and that of made with sugar was Rs. 80, The Gulkand made with Mishri is considered of high quality. We purchased approx. 2 kg of Gulkand from the market. Almost half of the pushkar is stuffed with shops selling a variety of different items.
Jagatpita Brahma Mandir:
It is a Hindu temple situated at Pushkar close to the sacred Pushkar Lake to which its legend has an indelible link. The temple is one of very few existing temples dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India and remains the most prominent among them.
Although the present temple structure dates to the 14th century, the temple is believed to be 2000 years old. The temple is mainly built of marble and stone stabs. It has a distinct red pinnacle (Shikhar) and a Hans bird motif. The temple sanctum sanctorum holds the central images of Brahma and his second consort Gayatri.
On Kartik Poornima, a festival dedicated to Brahma is held when large number of pilgrims visits the temple, after bathing in the sacred lake.
According to the Hindu scripturePadma Puran, Brahma saw the demon Vajranabha trying to kill his children and harassing people. He immediately slew the demon with his weapon, the lotus-flower. In this process, the lotus petals fell on the ground. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower (“pushpa”) fell from Brahma’s hand (“kar”) as “Pushkar”.
Brahma then decided to perform a Yagya (fire-sacrifice) at the main Pushkar Lake. To perform his Yagya peacefully without being attacked by the demons, he created the hills around the Pushkar — Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east — and positioned gods there to protect the Yagya performance. However, while performing the yajna, his wife Savitri or Sarasvati could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the Yagya as she was waiting for her companion goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Indrani. Annoyed, Brahma requested god Indra (the king of heaven) to find a suitable girl for him to wed to complete the Yagya.
Indra could find only a Gop or Gwala’s daughter ( a milkmaid) who was sanctified by passing her through the body of a cow. Gods Vishnu, Shiva and the priests certified her purity; it was her second birth and she was named Gayatri. Brahma then married Gayatri and completed the Yagya with his new consort sitting beside him, holding the pot of Amrit (The nectar) on her head and giving aahuti (offering to the sacrificial fire).
When Savitri finally arrived at the venue she found Gayatri sitting next to Brahma which was her rightful place. Extremely Agitated, she cursed Brahma that he would be never worshiped, but then reduced the curse permitting his worship in Pushkar. Savitri also cursed Indra to be easily defeated in battles, Vishnu to suffer the separation from his wife as a human, the fire-god Agni who was offered the yagya to be all-devouring and the priests officiating the yagya to be poor.
Endowed by the powers of yagya, Gayatri diluted Savitri’s curse, blessing Pushkar to be the king of pilgrimages, Indra would always retain his heaven, Vishnu would be born as the human Rama and finally unite with his consort and the priests would become scholars and be venerated. Thus, the Pushkar temple is regarded the only temple dedicated to Brahma. Savitri, thereafter, moved into the Ratnagiri hill and became a part of it by emerging as a spring known as the Savitri Jharna (stream); a temple in her honour exists here.
Pushkar is said to have over 500 temples (80 are large and the rest are small); of these many are old that were destroyed or desecrated by Muslim depredations during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s rule (1658–1707) but were re-built subsequently; of these the most important is the Brahma temple. Though the current structure dates to the 14th century, the original temple is believed to be 2000 years old. The 8th century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankaracharya renovated this temple, while the current medieval structure dates to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam, who made additions and repairs, though the original temple design is retained.[
Pushkar is often described in the scriptures as the only Brahma temple in the world, owing to the curse of Savitri, and as the “King of the sacred places of the Hindus”. Although now the Pushkar temple does not remain the only Brahma temple, it is still one of very few existing temples dedicated to Brahma in India.
The Architecture of Temple:
The temple, which is set on high plinth, is approached through a number of marble steps leading to an entrance gate archway, decorated with pillared canopies. There is a silver turtle in the mandap that is displayed on the floor of the temple facing the Garbhagriha, which is also built in marble.
Brahma’s central icon made of marble was deified in the garbhagriha in 718 AD by Adi Shankara. Brahma is riding on his mount, the hansa. The four symbols held by Brahma in his arms: the rosary,Kamandalu, book and the sacrificial implement kusha grass represent time, the causal waters from which the universe emerged, knowledge and the system of sacrifices to be adopted for sustenance of various life-forms in the universe. Gayatri’s image sits along with Brahma’s in centre to his left.
Savatri alias Sarasvati sits to the right of Brahma, along with other deities of the Hindu pantheon. Images of the peacock, Sarasvati’s mount, also decorate the temple walls. Images of the preserver-god Vishnu, life-sized dwarpals (gate-keepers) and a gilded Garuda (eagle-man, mount of Vishnu) are also seen in the temple.
The Worship in Brahma Temple:
The temple is visited by pilgrims and also by the holy men and sages, after taking a ceremonial sacred bath in the Pushkar Lake. It is also a practice that visit to the Brahma temple is followed by worship of his consort Gayatri, followed by visits to other temples as convenient.
The temple is open for worship between 6:30 am and 8:30 pm during winter and 6:00 am to 9:00 pm during summer, with an interval in afternoon between 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm when the temple is closed.Three aartis are held in the temple: Sandhya arati in the evening about 40 minutes after sunset, Ratri Shayan arati (night-sleep arati) about 5 hours past sunset and Mangala arati in the morning, about 2 hours before sunrise.
The priests at the Brahma temple refer to a strictly followed religious practice. House-holders (married men) are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum to worship the deity. Only ascetics (sanyasi’s) can perform the puja to the deity. Hence, all offerings by pilgrims are given, from the outer hall of the temple, through a priest who is a sanyasi. The priests of the temple.
Once a year, on Kartik Poornima a religious festival is held in Brahma’s honour. Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the holy Pushkar Lake adjacent to the temple. Various rites are also held at the temple during the fair. The day also marks the famous Pushkar Camel Fair, held nearby. Special rites are performed on allPoornima’s (full moon days) and amavasya’s (new moon days).
Shri Narsinh Temple:
Apart from the Brahma temple and other small temples in the Brahma temple campus, there is an another huge temple of Lord Narsinh located on the right hand side on the street leading to brahma temple. After some shopping this beautiful and huge temple came in our way and we entered the temple to have darshan of this massive temple. The temple was beautiful from inside too. We were very happy to visit this temple.
after spending approx an hour in the Pushkar market we were now feeling very tired and moved beck towards our hotel. We were feeling ourselves hungry too so we decided to go to the restaurant to have dinner after few minutes rest. I asked sanskriti about her dinner and after one and a half day she expressed her wish to have some daal rice and it gave me immense pleasure and immediately I rushed towards the restaurant and brought a plate of daal rise for her. She ate almost half of the plate and now she wished to have sleep. Leaving Sanskriti in the room we moved to restaurant for our dinner. After dinner we came back to the room and went to bed and being tremendously tired, in a few moment went in the world of dreams.
The complete review of the hotel Navaratan and return journey will be covered in my next and last post. Don’t forget to read on coming Sunday…………..