Location: Pushkar (Ajmer District), Rajasthan
Pushkar lake is an artificial lake created in the 12th century when a dam was built across the headwaters of the Luni river. It covers an area of about 5 kms.
About 400 temples and shrines including the famous Brahma temple are located around the holy Pushkar lake. The lake is surrounded by 52 ghats, many having special legendary importance. Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared at the Varah Ghat in the form of a boar. Brahma took a bath here and performed Yajna at the Brahma Ghat, accompanied by Vishnu and Mahadev. Guru Govind Singh chose this site for reciting the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed at the Gandhi Ghat, which was previously called Gau Ghat.
The Great Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana make references to Pushkar, regarded to be Adi Tiratha. Legend has it that the lake was created by Lord Brahma. A demon named Vajra Nabha had killed Brahma’s children. In revenge, Brahma struck him with a lotus flower. Vajra Nabha died in the impact, and the petals of the lotus fell at three places. One of them is Pushkar, where a lake sprung into being. Brahma is supposed to have performed sacrifice at this lake on Kartik Purnima (the full moon day of the Kartik month). Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the waters of the lake during the festival of Kaartika Poornima in November. The mystical water is also believed to cure skin diseases.
The star-shaped gurudwara (Sri Hemkund sahib) located on the banks of the lake is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for the Sikhs.Hemkund is also sacred for the Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, Hemkund is where Lakshman (Lord Rama’s brother) did his penance. The mythological name for Hemkund is ‘Lokpal’. There is a temple dedicated to Laxman on the banks of the lake.The river flowing through this valley along the path from Gobindghat to Gobinddham is called Lakshman Ganga.
Pushkar lake is rich in fish and other aquatic life. In the recent past, the lake has become polluted due to developmental activities around the lake, tourism, cattle fair, undefined sewer system, submergence of ashes and performance of rituals. Due to gradual depletion of water level in the lake, the raw water requirement of the lake is fulfilled through tube wells.