Visiting Pushkar India? What You Need to Know
Pushkar India is a place of deep spirituality and rich cultural identity. It’s the peaceful solace in India, that remains just undiscovered enough. When we arrived in Pushkar, it was quiet. Colorful shops lined the roads while Rajasthani music filled the streets. The streets were mainly dirt roads, where you would often bump into small (adorable) calves that you could snuggle while you walked. You could see families of monkeys huddled on the roofs of buildings with babies clinging on to their moms. In short, we loved the two days that we spent in this beautiful town and in this Pushkar travel guide, we will be covering everything you need to know before visiting Pushkar, India.
Where is Pushkar India?
Pushkar is located in the western Indian state of Rajasthan and located within the bounds of Ajmer. If you’re looking for things to do in Ajmer, after visiting their Jain Temple, Pushkar is a great overnight trip! Bordering the Thar desert, Pushkar is a short 30-minute ride from the Ajmer train station and makes you feel like you’re in the desert! Pushkar has over 1000 temples, for its 15,000 residents, but over 20,000 pilgrims come to Pushkar, India each and every day to worship.
Why is Pushkar India famous?
Pushkar is a tiny town that is far away from India’s usual hustle and bustle. Because Pushkar is a pilgrimage site for Hindu’s, there is a deep spirituality in Pushkar unlike what you might experience in other parts of Rajasthan, and more akin to cities like Varanasi, Rishikesh, and Haridwar. This makes a wonderful place to experience authentic Hindu culture, and see how to worship ceremonies take place. Pushkar is famous for many things including its temples, desert landscapes, rose exports, and hippy activities. Below, we break down all of the things to do in Pushkar, India.
The holy Pushkar lake in the middle of town is known as not only beautiful but a place where people travel from all over the world to cleanse their sins. In the heart of the town resides Pushkar lake, one of the holiest bodies of water in India. Our guide compared Pushkar as India’s Hindu Capital. As in, Catholics go to the Vatican in Rome, and Muslims go to Mecca.
Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats (stairs leading to the lake), where pilgrims from all over the world take sacred baths around November when the Pushkar Fair is in session. The Hindus believe that the sacred Pushkar lake cleanses their sins and cures skin diseases. On top of that, there are over 500 temples situated around Pushkar lake. Definitely something you should add to your bucket list.
Also, if you’re into mythology, here’s a fun tidbit about the lake (source is Wikipedia, but this is the exact story of our tour guide, Beni, told us):
“When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the lotus fell as ‘Pushkar’. Brahma then decided to perform a yagna at the place, at the main Pushkar Lake. However, his wife Savitri could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the yagna. Brahma, therefore, married a Gujjar, a dominant agricultural race named Gayatri and completed the yagna with his new consort sitting beside him.
However, when Savitri finally arrived at the venue, she found Gayatri sitting next to Brahma in her rightful place. Agitated, she cursed Brahma that he would be worshipped only in Pushkar. As a result of this, yagna performed in the presence of all the gods, it is said that a dip in the lake created at this place is credited with holiness, assuring salvation from all sins. It is now one of the five holiest centers of pilgrimage for Hindus”
Brahma Temple in Pushkar Rajasthan
Because of Brahma’s wife, Savitri, cursed Brahma when he cheated on her, he allegedly is only to be worshipped in Pushkar. Therefore, Pushkar also has the only Brahma temple in the world. But since Brahma is the Hindu God of creation, and is one of the holiest Gods to worship people travel from every corner of the world to visit the Brahma temple in Pushkar India.
Our guide told us the funny version of the legend, which I just have to share. Legend has it that Brahma tried cheating on his wife and marrying his mistress because his wife was taking too long to do her makeup. When she finished her makeup, she caught Brama trying to marry his mistress, so he was punished by only having one temple in the world. A lesson to the wise: Not even a God could get away with cheating on his wife. Act appropriately.
Pushkar Rose Oil
The Indian State of Rajasthan is known for its famously fragrant roses! With high quality and fragrant roses, you can find rose oil everywhere in Pushkar for a great price. You can pick up a small bottle for about 350 Rupees, after negotiating and they make great gifts! For reference, I spent 320 rupees (approx. $5 USD) per bottle, after I bought 5. I’m obsessed with them and admittedly wish I had more. #sorrynotsorry
Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar is also the home to India’s largest Camel and Cattle Fair. Farmers from all over the country come to Pushkar to buy and sell camels, handicrafts, and other goods. It’s a very festive time in Pushkar! They have camel decorating competitions, men mustache competitions, and women’s bridal wear competitions. The streets in this quiet town turn into a buzzing space of activity, music, food, and fun that brings in half a million people for each day of the Pushkar camel fair. I honestly don’t know how they fit that many people into Pushkar, but more power to them!
Camel Safari Pushkar
One of the coolest things we saw in Pushkar was the camels. They are literally everywhere and it’s quite cheap to go on a Camel Safari in Pushkar. Some people will try and sell you on a 1-hour camel safari for about 700 rupees ($10 USD) OR even cooler than that – you can do an overnight camel safari. Your hotel can set you up with the camel safaris for about 2,500 rupees (approx. $35USD) that include the camel rides, accommodations for the evening, and all meals until the next day. If you choose to book through India Someday, they will set this up for you, AND you can get 5% off of India Someday’s fees by using the code CHASEFORADVENTURE05.
Pushkar, India, and the infamous Bhang
Another reason why people visit Pushkar, India, is due to its hippy town vibes. The Hindu God, Shiva, is said to have enjoyed Cannabis and used it to cure his ailments. So as a way to worship him, some of the locals engage in smoking or ingesting “bhang”, a cannabis-infused drink and hash. And no matter which restaurant you go to, most of them will sell you, “Special Lassi”, “Bhang Lassi”, and even edibles like bhang chocolate balls. Also, if you’re into that sort of thing, all of the shops around town sell bohemian clothing, smoking paraphernalia, and Rasta Swag.
Best Cafes in for Bhang in Pushkar
Nirvana Cafe in Pushkar
They easily have the best bhang chocolate balls in Pushkar! But be careful! They are delicious enough to eat as a dessert but strong enough to make you forget your name.
Doctor Alone Cafe
Doctor Alone is a local celebrity in Pushkar. He has a couple of cafes in Pushkar and learned how to make authentic Italian food from scratch! His homemade Italian food and noodles make for great munchie food after you’ve tried his strong bhang lassi.
*Mandatory disclaimer* We do not endorse illegal drug use, and recommend that you use good judgment when traveling. We share this information because bhang is integral to parts of India, and I would be doing you a disservice not sharing such a relevant part of their culture.
When is the best time to visit Pushkar
In late November, the wedding season starts and there are Pushkar festivals on the streets every day! Women in colorful and elegant sarees and gentlemen dressed in Kurta Pijamas (A traditional Indian outfit) are everywhere. You can feel the positive and spiritual energy as you watch people dance the night away in celebration.
November is also the time of year when the Pushkar Camel Fair begins! This is the best time to visit Pushkar because it’s busy, there are tons of things to do in Pushkar, and the weather is absolutely beautiful. We came to Pushkar just after the camel fair and the weather was a brisk 60 degrees the entire time, making it the perfect weather to explore the desert in.
Why is Pushkar Holy?
Pushkar India is a holy town because it’s the only place where Hindus can worship Brahma, the God of creation. The mythology I told you about above, describes why the lake became holy and why 20,000 pilgrims come to Pushkar to worship.
Where to stay in Pushkar, India
Hotels in Pushkar India come in a variety of prices ranges with different amenities. Here are the three best places to stay at three different price points.
Pushkar, India Luxury Hotel: The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa
The Westin Resort and Spa in Pushkar is easily the fanciest and best hotel in Pushkar, India. With crazy 5-star amenities, and a delicious on-site restaurant you will be hardpressed to leave this gorgeous resort. The rooms are comfortable, decked out with a private pool, and a luxurious bathroom.
If you want to stay in a Pushkar hotel that is fit for a king (or queen), this is the option for you. Also, this 5-star resort costs about the same as a regular hotel in the United States and other western countries. This is a great chance for you to treat yourself to a 5-star experience you might not afford elsewhere.
Pushkar, India Mid-Range Hotel: Seventh Heaven Inn
I can’t rant and rave about this Inn enough! We stayed here for two nights and were in shock when we walked in for the first time! The Seventh Heaven Inn in Pushkar has an open-air patio in the middle with tons of comfy swings and seating options to enjoy the beautiful weather outside. The rooms in this hotel all have private bathrooms, seating areas, and an antique vibe to them. The staff is very attentive, and their breakfast is booming! Make sure you purchase breakfast beforehand! It’s unlimited and delicious!
P.S: The Seventh Heaven Inn is almost always booked out weeks in advance. So if you want a chance to stay at this beautiful property, make sure you book ASAP.
Pushkar, India Budget Hotel: Suri Guest House
At only $6 USD a night, Suri Guesthouse has an unbeatable price for private rooms in Pushkar India. Highly rated for both comfort and cleanliness, that’s all you can ask for when it comes to budget accommodations. It’s located just a 10-minute walk from Pushkar Lake and is located near plenty of food options, markets, and other points of interest. Note, this is definitely not a glamorous option, but it’s very affordable and covers the basics.
How to Get Around in Pushkar
Pushkar, India is very small, making it extremely easy to walk around the village in a day. The only time you will need to coordinate transportation is when you arrive in Ajmer station from whichever city you’re coming from, and if you want to do a village tour like we did during our trip. If you’re planning on doing a village tour, you can have a company like India Someday organize the activities, or you can hire a Tuk Tuk on the roads when you get there. However, prepare to negotiate hard! India is full of master negotiators that will try to convince you that prices are “fixed”. In my experience, this is RARELY true and just a tactic to get you to fiercely overpay.
Best Place to Eat in Pushkar, India
Listen. My husband and I rarely ever eat in restaurants. We are hardcore street food lovers and it takes a very special place to break that. On the rooftop of the Seventh Heaven Inn, there is a restaurant called the Sixth Sense. This place has the BEST food we’ve had in all of India and is the prettiest restaurant in the area. All of their ingredients are fresh, the food is mouthwateringly delicious, and you get incredible views of Pushkar Lake and the Pushkar Hindu Temple from the top.
The ONE Meal you MUST Try: Thali
When you get to the restaurant, you can really take your pick of anything on the menu. But, the ultimate sampler dish is there Thali. It’s one of the more expensive things on the menu (I think about 300 rupees/ $5 USD), but the portions are definitely big enough for two people. Our Thali included delicacies like Jeera Aloo, Paneer Masala, smoked minced veg, and Dal Fry. Literally, friend, it was the best food I’ve had and we ended up eating here for every meal. It was that good.
Is Pushkar India Worth Visiting?
We have loved this trip to India, everyone has been so nice and friendly. And the places we’ve been to have all been so different. Pushkar had an appeal that other cities in India didn’t have. Where there’s usually beauty in the hectic of cities like Kolkata and New Delhi, Pushkar is peaceful. As we were walking, I would get to snuggle little calves that were on the dirt roads. They were sweet and friendly. And I would equally have to dodge cars, motorbikes, and little baby cows. Not the worst problem to have. There isn’t a whole lot to do and see in Pushkar, but the laid back vibe of the city is a reason to come alone.
Traveling Pushkar with India Someday
Our trip to Pushkar, India was sponsored and arranged by a company called India Someday. They gave us their services for free in exchange for an honest review of our experience. Continue reading below to hear our thoughts.
What is India Someday?
In short, here’s what India Someday coordinated for us:
- Train tickets from New Delhi to Ajmer in a very comfy cabin
- Accommodations in Pushkar for two nights at the Seventh Heaven Inn
- A walking tour with Beni on the first day through the town of Pushkar
- A Tuk Tuk Village Tour on the second day (also with Beni)
- And they arranged our transport to Jaipur afterward
Here’s what we thought about all of the things they arranged for us in Pushkar India:
The transfer from New Delhi to Pushkar
They booked our train tickets from Delhi to Ajmer Junction Station. When we arrived at the train station, we swiftly found our train platform and waited for our train. The train stations in India are quite nice. There are vendors in the early hours of the morning selling chai, samosas, and other warm goodies. They have very clear signage in the train station making it easy to find your train.
Boarding the AC Chair Cart, we were surprised! The cart was pretty clean, and they gave out a lot of food! I will admit, there were little cockroaches on the train with us, which made me a little uncomfortable, but this is India. It’s all part of the experience. They usually give out water, breakfast, snacks, chai and all sorts of other goodies and the views you get from the train are the best. You get to have an outside look at the many rural villages in India between the cities. Things like, how they do laundry, the animals they heard, how they dress and how they live life.
The Transfer from Ajmer Station to Pushkar, India
When we made it to Ajmer, India Someday had organized a car transfer from Ajmer station to Pushkar. It was awesome to have that prearranged and not having to negotiate with Taxi drivers. The driver was kind and gave us tons of information about the areas we were driving through. He informed us that Ajmer is majority Muslim and that Pushkar is majority Hindu which was evident in the types of temples each of the cities had. It was lovely to have that sorted for us and have someone explain the area.
Our Experience at the Seventh Heaven Inn
India Someday booked our accommodations for us at the Seventh Heaven Inn. Y’all I can’t praise this Inn enough! The service, on-site food, comfy bedrooms, and general vibe of the place was amazing! There are vines that climb up the walls on the inside of the hotel, which makes you feel integrated with nature even inside.
Easily one of the best places we stayed in all of India! Apparently there are other hotels with similar price points on booking.com/ Agoda, but this is the one you need to stay in. Gorgeous, clean, amazing service, and simply perfect!
Walking Tour Through Pushkar Review
The tour guide India Someday organized was a sweet man from Pushkar named Beni. He came to pick us up from our hotel a couple of hours after checking in so we had time to settle in. The tour lasted three hours, and in that time he took us through all of Pushkar’s major attractions. The Brahma temple, Pushkar lake, the Pushkar night market, and even the Doctor Alone restaurant.
What we loved about the tour, was how knowledgeable Beni was. He definitely took the time to explain Pushkar’s history, mythology, and spiritual significance. Beni was happy to linger in the parts we were most interested in, and breeze over the areas we weren’t. He also is an expert picture taker, and given the nature of our work, this was extremely helpful!
What We Didn’t like About the Walking Tour
For about 15 minutes, Beni did try to get us to buy things from his brother’s and friend’s shops. This was annoying and we had to be quite forward with him about the fact we were not here to buy things. I will warn you, this is something very common in India, and is just their way of life. And frankly, after we told him we weren’t there to shop, Beni continued being his sweet self! The next day, we even got to meet his family!
I did bring this concern up with India Someday, and they were very sweet and understanding. They explained it was the first time they had worked with Beni since their first choice guide had a family emergency come up. Our trip was very last minute due to our own scheduling constraints, therefore they had to go with someone new given the last minute-ness of the trip. They were apologetic and assured me they would take it up with Beni in the event they had to use him in the future.
Tuk-Tuk Village Tour through the Pushkar Desert
Beni took us on a Tuk-Tuk Village tour on the second day of our trip, which took us to some amazing parts of Pushkar. This was easily our favorite day! I had never seen a desert before arriving in Pushkar, and I must say it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Large sand dunes with small green shrubbery were all along in the distance and camels lined the streets. The mountains in the distance were dotted with temples and villages which was so neat. Often we’d see decorated camels lugging colorful tents that I was sure belonged in Aladdin. I felt like I was in Morocco, and not India!
The Tuk-Tuk in Pushkar felt like a 4-Wheeler
The weather during late November was a brisk 60 degrees F and the breeze from the Tuk Tuk was enjoyable. The dirt roads rocked the tuk-tuk fiercely from time to time. It made the Tuk Tuk feel like a 4 wheeler at times, which was really fun! Our tour guide Beni took us through gypsy camps and rose fields, explaining to us that Pushkar is a pilgrimage site for Hindus.
Inside the Villager’s Home
My favorite part of the Pushkar Tuk Tuk tour was visiting a villager in the Pushkar Desert outskirts. Beni walked into a random villager’s home and asked if she’d be willing to show us around. Her home was simple, no bigger than an average shed, and housed her husband and children. Inside, she had a mini temple on the shelves and the sweetheart even invited us to Masala Chai! After enjoying some tea, her husband brought out a giant bag of freshly picked roses that a merchant was coming to pick up. These are the farmers that harvest the roses, which merchants sell in Pushkar to turn into the famed Rose oil of Pushkar.
It was very cool to get off the beaten path and experience the life local villagers live on a daily basis. Though Daniel and I travel full-time and usually like to venture off the beaten path, this was an experience we were sure we wouldn’t have been able to get on our own. We were grateful to have India Someday organize this experience for us!
Who Would Their Services be Good For?
What is the Smallest Budget India Someday Could Work With?
“The smallest budget would be 600 USD per person, for two people who want to travel in India for two weeks. When it’s two people traveling together, the costs would be divided and thus come up to 600 USD per person”.
Why Should Someone use India Someday Versus Some Other Random Tour Company?
India Someday really exceeded our expectations. Not only do they plan everything for you so that you don’t have to stress, but they have the insider knowledge that we would have missed out on. For example, in Pushkar, there were several hotels around the same price point, same reviews, and similar location, BUT the Seventh Heaven Inn had history! It was well decorated and the food was amazing, unlike in the other hotels. People who don’t know this could’ve easily picked another hotel and missed out on the beauty and service of the Seventh Heaven Inn.
Also, the off the beaten path Tuk Tuk tour of Pushkar was an experience I don’t think we would have been able to get without them. They just know areas of India, that a random foreigner wouldn’t know about.
What I love about India Someday
What I really love about India Someday, is how effortless they make the planning process. Before I came to India, I was honestly scared. I kept wondering, “is traveling to India safe?”. But with India Someday, you never have to worry about getting lost in some sketchy part of town or end up in a crappy hostel. After planning hundreds of trips for travelers all over the world, India Someday knows exactly where to take you so that you can have the best time, maximize your budget, and stay safe.
And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this Pushkar Travel Guide and India Someday Review! If you enjoyed this article, share the love with your friends by sharing your favorite pin below!
*This trip was sponsored by India Someday. They have provided their services for free for us to try and organized the entire trip for us. Our thoughts on Pushkar and India Someday are all our own, and we would only ever recommend products and services that we have tried and would use again! They truly showed us a great experience.
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