Nestled along the shore of picturesque Pushkar Lake and engulfed by the Aravalli mountains, Pushkar is packed with fascinating sights and activities to keep travelers busy. From marveling at the ancient temples and people-watching at ghats, to soaking in the colorful and culturally rich atmosphere at the Pushkar fair and engaging in adventure activities, discover the best things to see and do in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
Visit one too many temples
Pushkar is home to more than 500 temples, which makes it one of the major religious hubs in India. These temples not only serve as a spiritual getaway, but also are an indispensable part of the state’s history and architecture. The most renowned temple of all is the Brahmaji Temple, which dates back to the 14th century, and it is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Hindu architecture. It is dedicated to the Hindu deity Brahma, who is said to be the creator of the universe, and several thousands of people across the country visit this temple to pay homage to the God of Genesis. Other noteworthy temples include Ramavaikunth Temple, which dates back to the 20th century and is nestled atop a hill, offering panoramic vistas of the Pushkar Lake; Savitri Temple set stop Ratnagiri hills; Varaha Temple, which dates back to the 12th century; Rangji temple, Raghunath Temple, Apteshwar Temple, and Mahadeva Temple. Be sure to attend the aarti at these temples—Mangala Aarti in the morning, approximatly two hours before sunrise, or the Sandhya Aarti in the evening, about 40 minutes past sunset.
Attend the lively and colorful festivals and fairs
One of the main reasons to visit Pushkar is its bustling and colorful festivals and fairs. The most popular and well-attended fair is the Pushkar Fair. It is one of the country’s largest cattle, camel, and horse fairs, as well as cultural festival, welcoming several hundred thousands of people from across the world to join in the festivities. It takes place every year from late October to early November on the embankment of the picturesque Pushkar Lake. Highlights include cultural performances and competitions, folk dances, camel and horse races, and livestock trading. The cherry on top is that you get to experience authentic Rajasthani culture.
Another popular festival is the Pushkar International Balloon Festival. Following its successful debut in 2010, the festival is held every year since then, at the same place and on the same days as the Pushkar Mela. This festival gives you an opportunity to soar high above the temples, lakes, and dunes of this ancient town and bask in the panoramas below when you embark on one of the hot air balloon rides. The best time to take the ride is sunrise, as the rays of the sun blanket the landscape, encompassing hills, lakes, and deserts beneath, thus creating perfect photo opportunities. There are many operators in the area that provide this unique experience, and it is highly recommended to book in advance, as the space fills up quickly. Make sure to bring a camera along. The best companies offering this magnificent ride are Adventure Nation and Sky Waltz.
Take a holy dip in the Pushkar Lake
There are more than 52 ghats and 400 temples surrounding the sacred Pushkar Lake, which makes it one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the country. Every year, thousands of visitors descend in the holy waters of the lake to bathe, part of an ancient ritual of purification of body, mind, and soul. Also, several religious ceremonies are held at these ghats. In addition to being a sacred site, it is also one of the best places for people-watching. These ghats are lined with Hindu saints, sadhus, sellers, pilgrims, and everything in between. Some of the popular ghats among visitors include Brahma Ghat, Gau Ghat, Varaha Ghat, Badri Ghat, Gangaur Ghat, Saptarishi Ghat, and Yajna Ghat.
Indulge in outdoor activities
From camel and horse safari to desert camping, complete with comfortable beddings, authentic meals, colorful folk dance, and starlit sky, Pushkar offers a plethora of extraordinary outdoor experiences that must be tried by every traveler.
Shopping at the bazaars
Bustling and lively, the bazaars are the heart of the city, brimming with colorful items that make for a perfect souvenir. The most prominent ones include Sarafa bazaar, Kedalganj bazaar, and Bada bazaar, which sell a wide range of products, from Rajasthani clothes and handicrafts to jewelry, leather items, rose products, trinkets, and more. Whether you are looking for a bargain or not, visit these bazaars to take in the lively atmosphere, colors, fragrances, and sounds of cheerful banter and calls from traders.
Explore the ancient city of Merta
A trip to Pushkar requires a stop at Merta, which is just an hour drive away from Pushkar. It is an ancient city with well-preserved architecture. Visitors can browse the regal alleys replete with temples and palaces that provide a fascinating insight into the city’s rich culture and glorious past. The city is especially famed for its Meera Bai temple that is dedicated to Meera Bai, a famous poetess and devotee of Lord Krishna. Other must-visits include Charbhuja Temple, Raj Palace, Aurangzeb Mosque, Dadhimati Temple, and Bhanwal Matta Temple. Allow a day to fully soak in the local history! And, be sure to attend the Mangla aarti at Charbhuja temple that is held between 5:30 a.m.-6:30 a.m.
Visit Nag Pahar
When it comes to discovering Pushkar, Nag Pahar (Snake Hill) is a must-visit. An integral part of the city’s appeal, Nag Pahar is a hill that separates the two ancient towns of Pushkar and Ajmer. According to the legends, the height of the hill is decreasing with every passing day, though the reason is unknown, but it is an essential sight to see before it completely vanishes. Adventure lovers will enjoy trekking up to the hill and taking in the breathtakingly beautiful views of the Pushkar city from atop, while the spiritual seekers will revel in the serenity and beauty of the area. There is an ancient cave on the hill, which is said to be the abode of the popular Sage Agastya; as well as a lake known as Nag Kund; are all truly exceptional.
Check out the Rose Garden
Pushkar is famed for its rose cultivation, and there are vast stretches of land that features an impressive and exquisite variety of roses of all colors and sizes, which makes it popular among tourists and nature lovers alike. Offering a calm and fragrant atmosphere, the expansive garden is the perfect spot to stroll and relax among Pushkar’s vibrant species of roses.
Partake in a yoga retreat at Pushkar Yoga Garden
Pushkar Yoga Garden is the ultimate retreat for body, mind, and soul, and offers yoga sessions for all abilities and levels. It is nestled close to the rose garden, hill views, and scenic Pushkar lake, thus creating a perfect environment for yoga and other relaxing activities. Tourists can spend a day here and learn about Indian therapeutic methods and yoga styles.