Brahma Temple Pushkar is a Hindu temple situated at Pushkar in the Indian state of Rajasthan, close to the sacred Pushkar Lake to which its legend has an indelible link. The temple is one of the very few existing temples dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India and remains the most prominent among them.
Pushkar is said to have over 500 temples of these many are old that were destroyed or desecrated by Muslim depredations during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's rule but were re-built subsequently; of these the most important is the Brahma temple. Though the current structure dates to the 14th century, the original temple is believed to be 2000 years old. The temple is described to have been built by sage Vishwamitra after Brahma's yagna. It is also believed that Brahma himself chose the location for his temple.
The 8th-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara renovated this temple, while the current medieval structure dates to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam, who made additions and repairs, though the original temple design is retained. Pushkar is often described in the scriptures as the only Brahma temple in the world, owing to the curse of Savitri, and as the "King of the sacred places of the Hindus". Although now the Pushkar temple does not remain the only Brahma temple, it is still one of the very few existing temples dedicated to Brahma in India and the most prominent one dedicated to Brahma.International Business Times has identified Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five sacred pilgrimage places for the Hindus, in India
The temple, which is set on the high plinth, is approached through a number of marble steps leading to an entrance gate archway, decorated with pillared canopies. The entry from the gate leads to a pillared outdoor hall and then the sanctum sanctorum . The temple is built with stone slabs and blocks, joined together with molten lead. The red shikara of the temple and symbol of a hamsa - the mount of Brahma – are distinct features of the temple. The shikara is about 700 feet in height. The hamsa motif decorates the main entry gate.
Marble floor and walls inside the temple have been inlaid with hundreds of silver coins by devotees , as a mark of offering to Brahma. There is a silver turtle in the mandap, that is displayed on the floor of the temple facing the Garbhagriha, which is also built in marble. The marble flooring has been replaced from time-to-time. Brahma's central icon made of marble was deified in the garbhagriha 718 AD by Adi Shankara. The icon depicts Brahma, seated in a crossed leg position in the aspect of the creation of the universe . The central image is called the chaumurti . It is of life size with four hands, four faces, each oriented in a cardinal direction. The four arms hold the akshamala , the pustaka , the kurka and the kamandalu .
Brahma is riding on his mount, the hamsa. The four symbols held by Brahma in his arms: the rosary, Kamandalu, book and the sacrificial implement kusha grass represent time, the causal waters from which the universe emerged, knowledge and the system of sacrifices to be adopted for the sustenance of various life-forms in the universe. Gayatri's image sits along with Brahma's in the centre to his left. Savatri alias Sarasvati sits to the right of Brahma, along with other deities of the Hindu pantheon. Images of the peacock, Sarasvati's mount, also decorate the temple walls. Images of the preserver-god Vishnu, life-sized dvarapala and a gilded Garuda are also seen in the temple.
Brahma Temple Pushkar
According to the Hindu scripture Padma Purana, Brahma saw the demon Vajranabha trying to kill his children and harassing people. He immediately slew the demon with his weapon, the lotus-flower. In this process, the lotus petals fell on the ground at three places, creating three lakes: the Pushkar Lake or Jyeshta Pushkar , the Madya Pushkar Lake, and Kanishta Pushkar lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower fell from Brahma's hand as "Pushkar". Brahma then decided to perform a yajna at the main Pushkar Lake. To perform his yajna peacefully without being attacked by the demons, he created the hills around the Pushkar — Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east — and positioned gods there to protect the yajna performance.
However, while performing the yajna, his wife Savitri could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the yajna as she was waiting for her companion goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Indrani. So Brahma married Gurjar girl, Gayatri and completed the yajna with his new consort sitting beside him, holding the pot of amrita on her head and giving ahuti . When Savitri finally arrived at the venue she found Gayatri sitting next to Brahma which was her rightful place. Agitated, she cursed Brahma that he would be never worshipped, but then reduced the curse permitting his worship in Pushkar. Savitri also cursed Indra to be easily defeated in battles, Vishnu to suffer the separation from his wife as a human, the fire-god Agni who was offered the yajna to be all-devouring and the priests officiating the yajna to be poor.
Endowed with the powers of yajna, Gayatri diluted Savitri's curse, blessing Pushkar to be the king of pilgrimages, Indra would always retain his heaven, Vishnu would be born as the human Rama and finally unite with his consort and the priests would become scholars and be venerated. Thus, the Pushkar temple is regarded the only temple dedicated to Brahma. Savitri, thereafter, moved into the Ratnagiri hill and became a part of it by emerging as a spring known as the Savitri Jharna ; a temple in her honour exists here.
The priests at the Brahma temple refer to a strictly followed religious practice. House-holders are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum to worship the deity. Only ascetics can perform the puja to the deity. Hence, all offerings by pilgrims are given, from the outer hall of the temple, through a priest who is a sanyasi.
The priests of the temple, in general in Pushkar, belong to the Parashar gotra . Once a year, on Kartik Poornima, the full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik , a religious festival is held in Brahma's honour. Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the holy Pushkar Lake adjacent to the temple. Various rites are also held at the temple during the fair. The day also marks the famous Pushkar Camel Fair, held nearby. Special rites are performed on all poornimas (full moon days) and amavasyas