“Miracles do happen only if you have total faith and patience to wait for as long as it takes. Our ancestors, it seems, fed Indian mythology with most imaginative dreams. And we the believers, through the ages bestowed our faith diligently and indulged ourselves into believing it-and waiting for it to happen.
Brahma the male God, the supreme creator- was the Lord of all creation-even the word ‘Brahmin’, the priestly caste first and the highest of the four major castes is derived from Brahma.
The birth of brahma as a tale of self-emanation described in ‘Manusmriti’ that egg was radiant as the Sun. The supreme creator Brahma took birth by himself and then goes on to create a daughter Saraswati/Savitri after ejaculation in a pot after seeing the celestial nymph Urvashi. Brahma lusts after his daughter who tries to escape as a deer. Brahma grows four heads to keep sight of her in every direction. Saraswati flies upwards to hide herself but Brahma grows a fifth head to look upwards. She finally succumbs as his wife. A hundred years of incest follow. Brahma is supposed to have seven sons-some born out of his egotism and some out of Brahma’s playfulness.
Pushkar, twenty kilometers from Ajmer in Rajasthan is considered to be the holiest of the fords “TIRATH” of Hindu pilgrimage as ‘Tirathguru’. The three Pushkars were created around the three water bodies formed when three lotus petals dropped from Brahma’s hand as he searched for a place for a fire-rite. Brahma decided to live here only on the five days leading to the Kartik Purnima. The three fires were united from the three Pushkars for the Yagna of Brahma.
Brahma was in search of a holy place for Mahayagna to destroy a demon who was killing people in the area. The consort of Brahma-Saraswati was needed to offer Ahuti for the Yagna but she was not there at that time. So a Gujar girl Gayatri was married to him to perform the yagna. This act of Brahma annoyed wife Saraswati and she cursed Brahma to be only worshipped in Pushkar. Ever since the priest at the main temple are from Gujar community. The amazing aspect of the story is that the creator of the universe doesn’t have any temples anywhere else in the country.
Such are the myths in the mystique land of Brahma-Vishnu and Mahesh. But if you look at the Pushkar Lake from above in context to the vast desert around it-it stands out as a blue lotus flower and that precisely is the meaning of the word ‘Pushkar’. The importance of Brahma Temple, a huge lake around it in the middle of this vast desert landscape must have been the reason enough for over fifty thousand camels and hundreds of other animals with their owners to collect every year in the month of November-Perhaps the largest cattle fair, I will say camel fair in the whole India seems like a timeless experience of another century, another world coming together for itself.
The gigantic task of managing over fifty thousand animals, accompanied by at least twenty thousand owners and their families, is done very systematically by the department of animal husbandry with the help of Ajmer District Administration. Nine sub committees work under the guidance of Sub Divisional Magistrate and an assistant collector.
Hundreds of tents are pitched for their shelter and 24 hour veterinary service is available. Water supply and electricity is made available through at important junctions for animals as well as human beings. Fair price shops of essential commodities like kerosene oil and food grains etc.- doctors on call and finally thousands of vehicles and human traffic is managed by the authorities in a very systematic way.
All these years, ever since I was a photographer- I think my first ever trip was in 1972 quick and short- my experience remained incomplete and longed to come back to it. The biggest book that I have ever tried to read and after almost five decade I continue to explore is wonders of life and nature.
Every year, every time, come November my heart would start dreaming of going to Pushkar. I do have taken several trips to Pushkar Ji- each time we cross Ajmer to reach Pushkar- the distance becomes longer because herds of camel, the long legs leaping across along the roads, through the desert from various directions merging towards the desert space around the lake. The red, yellow, white, pink or purple turbans bouncing along between the tall legs and beyond the backs. Footsteps on the sands in various shapes and sizes merging and disappearing.
Every time I leave for Pushkar there is a sense of urgency to get into the thick of it all at the earliest moment. Hundreds of tourist Indian and videshi sprout from any given situation. Many of them tend to blend and merge with the spirit of it all-but ones like us tend to blend and merge wit the spirit of it all-but ones like us with the cameras stick out like a sore nut-as the evening draws near, when the sun starts fading behind the hills thousand of little fires lit up, the camels settle down in the horizon-every family is busy cooking their evening meal, an open sight for seventeenth or eighteenth century India that must have existed when the world was not such a stressful and crowded place-here every family has enough space around for its camels, cows, bulls and horses and for them to spread their simple ‘darries’ and little blankets to cover themselves for the night gets chillier and silence takes over the whole landscape- the sand dunes and the gentle hills fall sleep too as most the time the breeze also come to the standstill.
A late riser like me wakes-up even before the sun is planning to peep out from behind the hills-chai and buns are available for addicts like me but no time has to be wasted on such trivial matters. As they say early mornings are ‘blissful’. A dip at the Pushkar lake even before the suns spreads its’ glow in the sky- its almost dark, is the holiest time for tens of thousands of pilgrims to take the holy dip.
The landscape is in the gentle process of waking up-no hurry-no rush. The sand starts moving again as every footprint has to be carved to disappear again. The eighteenth century India is waking up to eleventh of November two thousand and eleven. Its going to be Kartik Purnima (the full moon night)- the last day of the fair sixty to seventy percent of the participants have already gone. The desert landscape has started showing its’ texture of sand and mixed and merged footprints. The last of the buyers and sellers are still at their bargaining best. The deals have to be meaningfully completed, as it is the last day of doing business. The shops are being wound up- the whole new bazaar which had come up for the fair is disappearing gradually everyone is leaving, the throbbing desert is losing its pulse by the minute-the sun has also gone down and now the full moon is about to rise. A few groups of camels, a fewer bullocks carts and much less movement. It’s Kartik Purnima-the full moon spreading its glow. All those left to experience stand mesmerized. The romance of being there and the poetry the eighteenth century India is merging into sands of time. How I wish I could retain it forever.” (Timeless Books: Pushkar Ji By Raghu Rai)