Why Pushkar's A Big Deal: The Complete Experiential Guide

The town of Pushkar, India is set around the Pushkar Lake, its 52 ghats being the centre of attention of sorts. The food here is vegetarian and vegan, more than 400 temples find their ground in its soil, there are the ghats, the hills, and then there’s the desert; and in the comingling of them springs a rather peaceful, lazed out, simple, attractive, spiritual, boho, and carefree life, shared in parts by visitors and residents, with some common bargains. While the places to see in Pushkar give a peek into its rural and traditional ways, its markets and cafes speak foreign. With hills that can be hiked upon and temples that can be explored, Pushkar city has quite a lot to offer, and this is my effort of summing it all up in a pretty simple Pushkar travel blog.

On the very last day of 2018, I woke up in Zostel Pushkar with my best friend, contemplating what the day has in store for me. We had taken the bus from Jodhpur to Pushkar later the day before and had crashed into bed as soon as we made it to the hostel. Actually, we did one thing before really crashing into our bunk beds. We registered our names for the desert safari, which was to start the next day, on New Year’s Eve, later in the evening. I’ll come to that later but till then, read on all I could gather about the city in the 5 days that I spent there, some exploring, some just chilling in the pool at the hostel, and some, of course, shopping in Pushkar.

Very rural, very boho, very unique

My acquaintance with Pushkar city began by deboarding a dusty blue and brown RSRTC state bus at sundown and immediately finding myself in a quiet gully sprouting with light coloured houses. The only bouts of colour came from the brown cows and the ladies in their plain cotton sarees, blue, and pink, and orange.

Often when I’m in a new place, my feet keep on doing what they’re supposed to do, and I walk aimlessly without enquiring about an address, an auto, or anything at all. I was following the same ritual when a lady, probably a grandmother but not too old at that, jovially asked me where I was headed. I told her I was looking for Zostel—the hostel is known by locals by its name in most towns and I took my chances here too. Next thing I know, she cooked up a rather heavy sentence with lots of rights and lefts and then slight stress on the word ‘chowk’ but figured out pretty quickly how that wasn’t the best idea after all. ‘Beta, take an auto. I will walk you to the market—I’m going to the temple—and you’ll find lots of autos there, the sun’s almost out too. My son may be there too, selling chaats. Daughter in law is home…” With that, I was smiling already, thanking Pushkar in my head for such a warm welcome.

Pushkar Weather

Pushkar city is at its most pleasant between the months of October and March. As we reach April, the desert heat takes over and lasts till mid-July. So, while winter is the most pleasant time to visit Pushkar in Rajasthan, India, if you want to escape the crowds, you can also try the months of August and September, when the rains make it pleasanter.

How to reach Pushkar, India

If you’re coming from further away, the best option is to reach Jaipur by train or flight. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to Pushkar. If you’re on a Rajasthan tour, you can reach Pushkar through either of the following cites.

Jaipur to Pushkar

Trains run from Jaipur to Ajmer, from where Pushkar is only 15 km. You’ll reach in 3 hours and the tickets are as cheap as 140 INR. Who thought a Rajasthan trip could be this cheap, eh?

Buses also run throughout the day and take around 3 hours for the same ticket price of INR 145.

Another option is to hire an outstation cab, prices of which can be retrieved on apps like Uber and Ola. Our folks at Zostel Jaipur would be able to help you with local taxis as well.

Jodhpur to Pushkar

Buses take 6 hours to get you to Pushkar, so an overnight journey is advised. The local buses start at INR 171.

Trains take 5 hours and get you to Pushkar at as cheap as INR 175.

Another option is to hire an outstation cab, prices of which can be retrieved on apps like Uber and Ola. Our folks at Zostel Jodhpur would be able to help you with local taxis as well.

Jaisalmer to Pushkar

Nearly a 10 hr ride away, the bus fare of Rajasthan’s local RSRTC buses is INR 385 for this journey.

Trains take around 11 hours and the base fare for the journey is INR 175 again.

You can also hire outstation cabs, prices of which can be retrieved on apps like Uber and Ola. Our folks at Zostel Jaisalmer would be able to help you with local taxis as well.

Ajmer to Pushkar

The local bus brings to Pushkar from Ajmer in just INR 17 (bless Rajasthan tourism, eh?) Other options are shared local taxis and autos, which you’ll easily find at the Ajmer bus depot.

To See. What’s Pushkar Famous For?

Pushkar Lake

Easily the most popular of Pushkar tourist places, the Pushkar Lake holds religious, spiritual, and cultural importance. Its 52 ghats are a perfect blend of bliss and bustle, with a lot unfolding around them. With the tranquil lake on one end, the ghats, on the other end, blend with Pushkar’s busy lanes and markets and temples, thus making for the heart of the city.

Hailing with a rich backstory, the Pushkar lake is said to have been brought to existence by Lord Brahma in a ceremony that brought all the 330 Hindu Gods to its waters. Hence, Hindus believe that bathing in its waters blesses one with Moksha, the ultimate salvation.

Pushkar Lake, Pushkar Ghats
Pushkar Lake in daytime

Personal favourite experience at the lake was to just be there at midnight, savouring the dark, the quiet, and the crisp breezes. So, if you’d like to have one of the best places to see in Pushkar to yourself, visit it at midnight.

Brahma Temple

Believed to be one of the very few temples that worships Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe as per Hinduism, the Brahma Temple of Pushkar surely has a special religious place. It is said to have been built way back in 718 CE by Adi Shankaracharya himself.

Painted with eye-catching shades of blue on the pillars and pink on the dome, the temple has its walls studded with coins put there by pilgrims. Its aratis are to behold, for it is considered amongst one of the most sacred temples in Pushkar, India.

Savitri Mata Temple

Another one of the most famous Pushkar tourist places, the Savitri Mata Temple is visited equally for its lake and valley views.

A good point to watch the sunrise and the sunset, the Savitri Mata Temple also makes for a great and rather comfortable hike. Climbing up its many stairs is made all the more fun by the monkeys, which reside on the desert trees in bizarre hues of magenta and green. It’s a nice feeling to climb for some minutes and look back, as the Pushkar city reveals more and more of its beautiful views as you go higher.

View of Pushkar city from Savitri Mata Temple
The view of the Pushkar City from Savitri Temple hike

To make the most of the hike, begin early in the morning to make it for sunrise when the weather will also be at its most pleasant. You can also go in the evening to make it in time for sunset. For those of you who’d want to skip hiking, you can reach up there in 5 minutes by using the ropeway, which costs INR 75 one way.

Mann Mahal

Glimmering finely under the sun, the Mann Mahal boasts of rich Rajwadi architecture. The biggest royal home in the Pushkar city, the Mann Mahal is made out of marble and is one of the best tourist places in Pushkar. Built near the Sarovar lake, the palace has a tranquil vibe worth cherishing.

Rangji Temple

One of the most vibrant temples in Pushkar, the Rangji Temple follows the South Indian style of architecture along with Mughal and Rajput influences. With a colourful gopuram and a vast yard, the temple is peaceful and a treat to the eye at the same time.

Rangji Temple, Temples in Pushkar, Pushkar Temples
The Old Rangji Temple in Pushkar City

Varaha Temple

I find it slightly odd that when we made it to the temple, there was literally no one around. To think, such beauty, and no visitors. Built way back in the 12th century like most other temples in Pushkar, the Varaha temple features marvellous stone carvings, columns, and statues. An elegant combination of ochre and white, the temple is pretty in the millennial sense, making it very Instagrammable as well. It holds the murti of Lord Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, which isn’t like any idol I’ve seen so far.

Naga Pahar

The Naga Pahar is the hill that divides Ajmer and Pushkar as towns. A favourite hike amongst backpackers, the hill has a cave on the top along with the Nag Kund, a lake.

Anasagar Lake

One of the most serene Pushkar tourist places, Anasagar Lake is an artificial lake from the 12th Century. With multiple hiking trails around it and an island in the centre accessible by boats, the lake is visited frequently while heading out of the town towards Delhi and Chandigarh. If you’re driving down to Pushkar, it is worth a stop, especially because it is pretty much on the way.

Jain Temple

A grand white marble structure with chhatris, the Jain Temple hides behind huge gates. Its beauty is accented by gerua stones in traditional Jain architecture, which is gorgeous, to begin with.

To Experience. Best Things to Do in Pushkar.

Desert Safari

So, coming back to the New Year’s Eve Desert Safari at last! At around 6.30 in the evening, after watching the sun go down at the Sunset Café, we headed back to the hostel. It was already 7.30 by the time we all sat in the cars—there were like 15 of us!

What followed was a super-fun drive, making it one of the most exciting places to visit in Pushkar for me. And I honestly can’t remember how long it was because we were all just busy singing song and making jokes. The last bit of the drive was all the more exciting, as we actually drove through sand dunes to get to this quaint desert camp.

A nice seating on traditional cot beds with colourful sheets circling a huge bonfire awaited us. It didn’t take long for us to loosen up a bit, turn the music on, and start dancing (we were accompanied by LIITs). This was followed by a full Rajasthani dinner and even more dancing. By 11.30 pm, a lot of us were on a happy high, scream-singing Banana Dance, doing Garba, and whatnot.

At the stroke of 12, we all released 20-something lanterns in the sky, and within minutes, they glowed a bright yellow above the golden sands. The party lasted for a couple more hours, after which we made our way back to our bunk beds at the hostel. To tell you, it was a great NYE—probably the best one I’d spent in the last few years!

Pushkar Camel Fair

The Pushkar Mela ground becomes one of the most popular places to visit in Pushkar for a week every year and for all the right reasons.

The Pushkar Camel Fair is held for a week each year, climaxing on a full moon day. One of India’s oldest fairs, it originated for the trade of livestock like camels, horses, sheep, and more, with camels being the most traded animals in the fair.

Pushkar Mela, Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar Mela on the outskirts of Pushkar City

The Mela is as much of a cultural affair as it is about trade. Villagers from all over Rajasthan gather here for interesting competitions like camel and horse races, moustache and bridal competitions and more. You’ll also find lots of performances of folk music and dance. Sports like bodybuilding, kushti, and kabaddi are also held in the fair ground. Naturally, the fair is a hot sell in Rajasthan tour packages for foreigners who are keen to have a slice of Rajasthan, India.

Interestingly, hot air balloon rides are a thing in the fair, giving you beautiful views of the desert, the lake, and the Pushkar city at sunset. Travellers can also shop for traditional Indian stuff like jewellery, clothes, animal accessories, home décor, stationery, and more at the fair from local artisans from different parts of the country.

The fair has gotten so popular over the year that it draws an international crowd, and is obviously worth a visit if you’re around.

Pushkar Holi

As Kunal Nayyar has said it in his autobiography, “Holi is India on steroids” and that stands every bit true for Pushkar. The Pushkar Chowk is LIT AF, and believe me, I’m not even someone who uses this term in my everyday life. Buckets full of bhaang, gulaals in bright violets and pinks and oranges, trance music that pierces right into your veins, and people dressed up in their carnival attires.

Now that’s no single-day affair. Holi arrives in Pushkar well before everywhere else and stays for four long days. Attracting crowd from over the world, Pushkar Holi is a crazy experience that stays with you over the years.

Shopping in Pushkar

The Bohemian vibes of the town spring majorly from its main market, which looks nothing like your average rural market. From duffel bags that seem to have travelled from across the world to the shops here to macramé bracelets in pastel colours, shopping in Pushkar is a tangy affair everyone could easily fall for. Naturally, shopping is easily one of the best things to do in Pushkar, for men and women alike.

Pushkar shopping, Pushkar Market

The markets are open throughout the day, so whenever you end up there, don’t forget to bargain LOTS. You’ll be able to buy things in 1/10th of the price they first mention, so do the job well and get it for cheap.

To Eat, which you’ll do LOTS of here.

I’d like to give you two surprising facts about Pushkar city. One; due to religious reasons, you won’t find alcohol or non-vegetarian food here. Two; it is still an exceptional culinary harbour.

From piping hot jalebis to fresh and giant falafels, Pushkar is a medley of Lebanese, Rajasthani, vegan, Italian, and continental cuisines. Some places that almost made me cry with all the culinary goodness would be:

• Hot, soft, and sweet (pun intended?) Malpuas at Radhey Ji near Varah Ghat.

• The extremely innovative vegan menu at Nature’s Blessing, which is like a leap away from Zostel Pushkar.

• The crazy food affair in the main market, with uber delicious falafels in like 30 flavours (avocados, mmmm).

• The khasta kachoris at the Pushkar Raj stall in the main market.

Paranthas at Lala Ji's.

Cafes with uptown vibes and good food like The Laughing Buddha and Funky Monkey.

• And when your belly is almost bursting and you’re regretting hogging over food like a maniac, try some special Churan, an interesting post-meal chataka near the Brahma Temple. It’s a big stall, you’ll be able to spot it easily.

Bike Rentals

This is really a small town and its possible to cover all the Pushkar tourist places on foot. Alternately, you will easily get two-wheelers on rent (with a helmet) at multiple shops in the city. The closest shop to Zostel Pushkar is just a 5-min walk away, on the way towards the city centre. The rent fares start at INR 350 (you’ll have to get petrol filled at a pump nearby) for a day and can be negotiated as per the number of days, vehicles, and so on.

Auto-rickshaws are also a convenient option and so are local taxis. However, they aren’t that popular due to cheaper options at avail.

To Go Around. Because There’s Always More?


16km, 40 min

Drawing people of all faiths is the very holy Khawaja Gharib Nawaz Dargah of Ajmer, Rajasthan, known popularly as the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Known to be established way back in the 1236 AD, the shrine was visited by King Akbar and his queen on foot from Agra in his time.

With provisions of a cloakroom, a locker, and public washrooms, the Dargah takes care of its visitors quite well. If you’re visiting Pushkar, you can make a stop for a couple of hours at Ajmer first if you’d like to take blessings in the sacred space. It opens its gates for pilgrims early in the morning, with qawwalis on Thursday evenings which are blissful to attend.


45 km, 1 hr

If you come across one of those days when you just want to take your car and drive away with somebody when you’re in Pushkar, Kishangarh is one of the offbeat places to consider on a Rajsthan trip.

Make a stop at the Phool Mahal, a palace turned into a boutique. It stands true to its name by its beautiful interiors, with walls inlaid with floral designs in bright colours. The Mokham Vilas is a pretty stone structure surrounded by water and hills and stands connected to land by a bridge. It gives a nice view of the Kishangarh fort with its Rajput and Mughal architecture, which is otherwise inaccessible due to its restricted entry rules.

All in all, Kishangarh makes for a good half-day trip. If you start early on at 7 am, you can easily be back by 2 pm.


62 km, 1.5 hr

Does the fact that Mirabai, the 16th-century poet and devotee of Lord Krishna was born in Merta to fascinate you as much as it does me? So, well, Merta was her hometown and houses her life story at the Meera Bai Smarak. For admirers of classical music and the ancient Hindu culture, Merta in Rajasthan is a good treat.

Sambhar Salt Lake

98km, 2.5 hr

While this place may not be worth the effort as one of the visit-able tourist places in Rajasthan, the Sambhar Salt Lake is a photographer’s delight. With an expanse of blue waters and occasional salt heaps that make it a sight worth cherishing.

Where next?

Perhaps the best part about taking a Rajasthan trip is that 4 of its 5 main cities are very close to each other. If you’re on a comprehensive Rajasthan tour, you can start either from Udaipur or Jaipur, depending on whether you’re close to Mumbai or Delhi respectively.

Itinerary: Jaipur-Pushkar-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Udaipur or the exact opposite.

Rajasthan Itinerary: Jaipur to Ajmer, Pushkar to Jodhpur, Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer to Udaipur

Recommended time to spend: 4 days in Jaipur, 3 in Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer, and for Pushkar, it can be anywhere between 2 and 10 since its more of a chilling-in place.

Present in all the major tourist places in Rajasthan, we’re here to make your experience of Rajasthan, India as fantastic as possible. Zostel Jaipur is right in the pink city area, a 5-min walk from Hawa Mahal. Zostel Jodhpur is well in the heart of the city, giving a gorgeous view of the Mehrangarh Fort from its rooftop. Zostel Jaisalmer, too, is in the golden fort, world’s largest liveable fort. Zostel Udaipur sits by one of the city’s many lakes, giving a splendid view of the waters and the rest of the city from its rooftop. To check out any of the hostels, simply click on the names above.

About Us

Zostel Pushkar

A backpackers’ hub at walking distance from the main market of Pushkar, Zostel Pushkar is a funky hostel with chilled out vibes, thanks to its swimming pool, pool table, and a bustling terrace along with a café and multiple common areas. In addition to a fantastic stay, you can expect great activities guided by the volunteers and the staff, like hikes, food tours, in house games, desert safari, and more. You can check the hostel out here.

Rooftop with a view at Zostel Pushkar

ZostelX Pushkar

If you’re looking for more of a relaxed, cultural getaway, you’ll probably like a luxurious Pushkar resort on the outskirts of the city. ZostelX Pushkar, with its pool and private tents for rooms, sits by a vast expanse of rural fields, which end in a chain of brown and violet Aravalli Hills. Taking pride in serving guests with authentic Rajasthani meals as a part of their stay, it is the perfect retreat for a tranquil weekend getaway from Delhi.

Pushkar resort, ZostelX Pushkar


We proudly go by the title of Asia’s largest chain of backpacking hostels, with our pin marked at more than 37 destinations across India and Nepal. Along with a happening and social stay at our hostel, we help you with travel experiences, curated trips, DIY recommendations, live gigs, workshops, and so much more! And as a chain of backpacking hostels in India, we’re pretty social too. Catch up with the best of travel in India & Nepal with us on our Instagram.

Writer, Pranavi.