Category Archives: Pushkar

A Day At The Pushkar Fair 2009

Just Resting A Bit

A Merchant Waiting for Customers

A Camel Ride

The chameleon

Pushkar is about 150 km from Jaipur .So if for some reason you wish to hurry back to Jaipur on the same day you arrive there it can be done. So I planned to do just that. Even before I start the journey I am planning how it will end. That is a result of the rushed lives we all lead. It is just one more habit we can not seem to break.

Jaipur-Ajmer and Pushkar are very well connected, especially during the Cattle Fair time. So I put my camera in a bag and took a Meri Car Taxi to the Sindhi Camp Bus Stand to catch a Deluxe Bus to Ajmer. I was in Ajmer at about 6 am in the morning. I am glad to say it was a good trip and economically priced too. Only thing to note was that the citizens follow the first come first served rule and not the seat number rule when they take their seats on the bus. It worked this time to every body’s satisfaction. Or maybe they were not awake enough to fight.

At Ajmer I asked the ticket seller to sell me a ticket to Pushkar on one of the jam packed buses parked there. He answered reasonably enough that he had already sold 70 tickets on the bus to pushkar  and asked me where I planned to sit in the event that he sold me a ticket. He told me to wait for the next bus. I finally got a ticket on the next bus which started on its winding route through the Aravalies to Pushkar after a long wait. Though the holy town is only about 15 km from Ajmer we reached there about 7 am. The town was already coming alive for the long day ahead. I bought a local newspaper in hindi and avoided drinking tea some body pushed in my face and went into the town towards the ghats.

I was surprised to see dried mud and small ponds of water. Somebody told me for 21 rupees he would sprinkle a little holy water on me to purify me as it was the holy ritual one had to follow before visiting the Brahma Temple. I avoided him too and went on to the Brahma Temple. After taking off my shoes and socks and buying flowers and prasad I tried to go in but they wanted me to deposit my bag with the camera into a free clock room which was not open yet. The Prasad seller did offer to keep the bag but you know how it is when you are traveling alone nowadays – you try not to trust anybody. So I went on again. The shops were opening up. People were trying to display their wares in the best possible way. As I went along I kept noticing temples and dry ghats. What struck me was our piety has nothing to do with a full Sarovar. It is with in us. It is good to have a full tank of water and good to take a holy dip but we can still feel we are purified even with a few drops of holy water sprinkled on us when we have to.

I came to a couple of giant wheel standing silent and empty with numerous other rides. I saw a couple of giant gas balloons giving rides to their foreign guests. I saw a craft mela and a stadium where the animal competition would be held during the day and came to the animal compound. There were Camels and Horses and tourists in a big number. I took a few photos and got directions to the Helipad on the Devnagar-Banseli Road where my friend had put up Swiss Cottages in the style of Bhadrawati Royal Camps. I got to the Helipad but there were no Swiss cottages, instead there was a big elevated road there. Later on I found out that the road is where the railway tracks are to be laid and the cottages were on the other side of the elevated road.

I had some breakfast and headed back to the Ghats again had some holy water sprinkled on me and went to the Brahma Temple and had darshan.

I came out and took some more photos of the colorful and diverse wares on display in the markets. I remember a woman exhorting her husband in a loud voice to buy her a camera and just then I saw some Kodak film cameras on display too. The gap between haves and have nots is narrowing, and rightly so too. Some of these photos are enclosed here.  I had some pakoras and a cold drink as a snack. And headed back for Jaipur after 5 pm and was home for dinner after a day well spent.

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Places To Visit Near Jaipur-A list

When you are in Jaipur you see all the popular places ,monuments , gardens, palaces,forts which are in or very near Jaipur but miss the places a little out of town but surely worth a visit.This is an effort to list  such places.This list  should also be useful to the people of Jaipur looking for a weekend break near the city.

Sanganer

16 km from Jaipur off the Tonk road this  town is famous for the hand made paper and block printing with vegetable dyes.

Jaisinghpura Khor

12 km from Jaipur on the Amber road,a meena village,it has a fort,a stepwell and a jain temple.

Shahpura near Bhilwara

220 km from Jaipur this town is famous for Pabuji ki Phad paintings made till this day by the Joshi’s  and a stepwell and  Ramdwara temple.

Bagru

35 km from Jaipur on the Jaipur-Ajmer highway this village is famous for hand block printing with vegetable dyes ( Bagru Print) and a fort.

Jamwa  Ramgarh

32 km from Jaipur this village was known for an artificial lake once spread over an area of 20 km.It used to be  a very popular picnic spot during the rainy season.

Samode

40 km from Jaipur this village has a fort which has been converted into a Palace hotel.This palaces is well worth a visit with lunch at the fort.  M.M.Kaye’s Far Pavilions was shot here extensively.

Bhandarej

Bhangarh

Abhaneri

Mehndipur Balaji

lalsot

Sikandra

Kuchaman

142 km from Jaipur this village had the distinction of being on the silk route.Sambhar is 60 km from here.It has a famous fort on a hillock.

Sambhar

94 km from Jaipur it has the biggest inland salt lake and the holy Devyani tank and the palace.

Pushkar

Sawaimadhopur

The Ranthambore National Park covering 329 km  comes under Project Tiger.

Bharatpur

176 km from jaipur- a Jat kingdom-is an ancient city and was part of the Matsy kingdom around 1500 B.C.The impressive Lohagarh fort was built around 18th century by Raja Surajmal  and definitely worth a visit.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park once a hunting preserve of the royalty was declared a sanctuary in 1956 and a national preserve in 1982.Now it is  a world heritage sight.over 400 species of birds have been sighted here.Open all year round from 6 am to 6 pm.Mode of transport inside the sanctuary are bi-cycle,boat and cycle rickshaws.

Bairath (Viratnagar)

86 km from Jaipur on Alwar-Shahpura road in this ancient village relics from Mauryan, Mughal and Rajput periods have been found.Remains of  Budhist monastraies built by the Emperor Ashok have been excavated here.Parswanath a Jain temple is nearby.Legend has it that Pandavas  spent a year here.

Pachewar

90 km from Jaipur on Malpura Road in Tonk District is this 300 year old fort of Khangarot-Kachawa rajputs.

Pachar

85 km from Jaipur via Renwal is the village of Pachar.Famous for its fort and Jain Mandir.

Salasar Balaji

Khatu Shyam Ji

Kota

249 km from Jaipur settled  on the banks of river Chambal ,famous for Kota Stone and Kota Doria Saris.

Mahaveer ji

The temple  to Mahaveerji was built at the spot where a statue of shri Mahaveerji was discovered by a cow herds man.A big fair is held every year in the month of March.

Neemrana

Almost midway on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway in the lap of the ancient Aravali range lies the vanquished kingdom of Nimola Meo-who when defeated by the Chauhans took an oath from them to name the kingdom after him.Sensitively refurbished to its old glory the fort has been converted into a world famous non-hotels.Definitely worth your time.There is a stepwell nearby to sight see besides the fort.For activities they provide Zipping-flying  supported by cables.

Karauli

Founded some 500 years ago as Kalyanpuri ,Karauli is famous for an annual  cattle fair held in February,  and the temples of Kaila Devi and Madan Mohan Ji and  the Bhanwar Vilas Palace,now a heritage hotel,built in 1938 by Maharaja Ganesh Pal Dev Bahadur.There is also the Kaila Devi  game sanctuary.It is spread over 25 kms and is part of the Ranthambore Game Preserve.

Tonk

110 km from Jaipur on the NH 12 Nawab Ameer Khan settled the modern Tonk.Places of interest are the Sunehri Kothi,inlaid with magnificient mirror work (Closed on Sundays) and the Arabic and Persian Research Institute ( 01432-247389).Tonk also produces high quality Namdha.20 km from Tonk is   Natwara Fort of Karnot Rathores.

Kanota

15 km from Jaipur on Jaipur Agra High way Kanota Fort houses a Museum  and a library with rare books.

Rajmahal Palace in rajmahal village on the banks of the Banas river at the foot hills of the Aravalies was built by Rai Singh Sisodia some 350 years ago is being run by the Kanota family as a Palace Hotel.

Bundi

210 km from Jaipur Boondi was founded  in 1342 by  Rao Deva Hada    as the capital of his Hadoti kingdom.

Grace in Gait-The Thar Marwari Horse

A Bit of Water To Drink-1a

In a guest Post Arvind Chawdhary Polo Player,Marwari Horse enthusiast and team leader for The Thar Marwari Horse Safari, Jaipur writes about The Marwari Horse.

As much a mystery as a legend, the Marwari horse instantly evokes reminiscence of the valorous Chetak. The loyal horse of Maharana Pratap of Mewar is alive even today in the annals of history in Rajasthan synonymous for valour, speed and stamina.

The elegant and brave, intelligent and graceful, strong and high in performance, proud and athletic, the horse has been long enshrined in the bardic literature of Medieval Rajasthan. One of the finest horse breeds in the world today, the elegant Marwari comes from an ancient Arab-Turkmeni mix lineage that evolved in the harsh desert climate of the Marwar Region in India.

The horse has since time immemorial had a symbiotic relationship with the desert and the soldiers. The Marwari horse was an awe-inspiring sight on the battlefield with the soldier, who unmindful of the dangers was battling between – victory and death. His resolve helped in no small measure by the confidence he had in his steed – a magnificent horse rearing on its hind legs over the din of clashing swords and warriors’ curses. The Marwari was truly a hero’s horse. Maharana Pratap rode one, the peerless Chetak. Amar Singh Rathore rode Udal and Pabu ji rode Kesar Kalmi . As did most of the heroes whose deeds light up Rajasthan’s embattled history.

By traditional accounts, the Marwari horse has been bred in Rajasthan since at least 1212 C.E. It was originally developed to be a war horse. Bred by the Rathores, the traditional rulers of Marwar, the valiant Rajputs developed a policy of strict selective breeding.

Graceful in his gait the Marwari horses are born with a “rehwal” or “revaal”, a quick, four-beat lateral gait, which is smoother and more comfortable than a trot, used in the desert to cover long distances with greater comfort.

The horse is distinctive with a long head with a broad forehead, wide-set large and alert eyes, a roman nose with full nostrils, and a well-shaped mouth. The most distinctive feature of the Marwari horse is its lyre-shaped ears, which curve inwards and meet at the tips. The ears capable of rotating through an angle of 180 degrees apart from providing the horse with an extremely acute hearing also protect it in sand-storms.The average height of a Marwari Horse is 62-66 inches.And when he leaps, he spans 12 feet!

Apart from their undoubted use in battle, Marwaris were excellent horses for hunting and racing. Albino Marwaris were considered priceless and were used in religious ceremonies. Today, the horse is used for horse riding safaris, endurance competitions, religious ceremonies, and earlier were also in the Cavalry of the Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan Police.

The horse in recent years, has gained a strong following both inside and outside India. The Marwari horse is capable of adapting almost anywhere. Its undoubted beauty and courageous disposition along with the steadfast loyalty it shows towards its owners is making it very trendy with horse enthusiasts.The Marwari has also raced at The Meerut Race Club in May 2008 for the first time in the Indian racing history of  past 129 years.In March 2009 three Marwari horses will be show cased at the EQUITANA-2009 ( a biannual equestrian sports world fair)in Germany for the first time.

THE THAR MARWARI HORSE SAFARI

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Pushkar Fair

Pushkar Fair begins every year in the month of Kartika ( Oct-Nov) on ‘asthmi’ and continues till karthik poornima( full moon).During the fair about 2 lac people visit Pushkar from all over the world and India to buy and sell cattle & camels,have a holy dip in the pushkar Sarovar or to sight see.

Pushkarraj Maharaj is one of the most sacred and revered religious sites of India. According to Padam Puran the Sarovar was created by Brahma by combining the holy waters from badrinath,rameshwaram,jagannath and dwarka.Pushkar is the site where Brahma dropped the lotus he held in his hand when he was looking for a site to perform a yagna.He married a local-Gayatri-to start the yagna at the auspicious moment.When his wife -savitri-found out what had happened she cursed Brahma that henceforth he would be worshiped in Pushkar only.And her words came true.In 1791 thakur of Khimsar built a chatri in the center of the lake to mark the spot of the yagna.There are 52 ghats around the sarovar-all built about 300 years ago-with lot of small temples and surrounded by lot of white lime washed buildings.Gau ghat,Brahma ghat and Varaha Ghat are some of the main ones.Next to the ghats is the sadar bazaar extending till the brahma temple.Other temples of interest are Varaha Temple,Apteshwar Temple,Savitri Temple,Mahadev Temple and Rangi Temple.

Roses are cultivated here so look to buy gulkand(made from rose petals and sugar-used in sweet Paans),rose water,rose sherbet and gulkand thandai.

Pushkar is at the foot of the Nag Pahar or snake mountain and surrounded on three sides by Aravali Hills towards north side are some sand dunes.11 kms away Ajmer is the nearest railway station(about 15 min drive away). 154km away Jaipur is the nearest Airport(a little more than 2 hrs away by car) on N.H. 8.

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