Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation.
The Ramayan mentions Pushkar and says that Vishvamitra performed tapa here. It further says that the Apsara Menaka came to Pushkara to bathe in its sacred waters.
The Mahabharata says that while laying down a programme for Maharaja Yudhishthara’s travel, “Maharaja after entering the Jungles of Sind and crossing the small rivers on the way should bathe in Pushkara". And, per Vaman Purana, Prahlada on his pilgrimage to holy places visited Pushkarayana.
A Pratihara ruler of Mandore, Nahadarava, restored this tirtha in the seventh century. He got the place cleared and the lake restored by making an embankment on the side of the river Luni. He rebuilt old palaces and built twelve dhrnashalas (resting places) and ghats on three sides of the lake.
The sage Parasara is said to have been born here. His descendants, called Parasara Brahamanas, are found in Pushkar and the surrounding area. The famous temple of Jeenmata has been cared for by Parasara Brahmans for the last 1000 years. Pushkarana Brahamanas may also have originated here.
Pushkar situated just 11 kilometers from Ajmer, is one of the most visited Pilgrimage places in India. Though it is steeped in Indian mythological connotations it is visited by International tourists too who understand the true essence of Pushkar by its many fairs and festivals, camel safaris and colorful bazaars selling traditional Rajasthani attire. If one goes through the history of Pushkar throughout the ages then one is bound to find it interesting. References of the city can be found in Fa- Hein’s account in the 4th century. According to mythology after you visit the four dhamas in India you need to visit Pushkar to complete your salvation. Therefore Pushkar forms and integral part of the Pilgrimage cycle.
An integral part of the history of Pushkar is related to Brahma and the Brahma Temple situated at the vicinity of the lake. Allusions to Brahma’s killing of the demon Vajra Nabh is refereed to. It is said that Brahma killed the demon with a lotus flower. Some of the petal of the lotus went haywire and landed in three places in Pushkar. A lake sprang up at the place where the petal landed. This is the origin of the Pushkar Lake. The scenic lake is believed to be the holiest in India. A dip in the lake is supposed to give you that ultimate salvation that all the pilgrims are looking for. Brahma temple is the only temple in India where Brahma is worshipped. Interestingly enough though Brahma is one of the holy trinity, he is not worshipped anywhere else in India or no temples are dedicated to him except in Pushkar.
The fairs and festivals in Pushkar too have a religious connotation to it.