India has thousands and thousands of temples, big and small, to many deities. But Pushkar, a little town near Ajmer in Rajasthan, is the only place in the world where there’s a temple to Lord Brahma, the creator. Isn’t that unusual?
Pushkar is very important in Hindu mythology. The story goes that Lord Brahma was looking for a place on Earth to conduct a Mahayagna, a huge, important puja. When he finally picked a spot, he realized that the demon Vajranabha was harassing and killing people in the area. To put a stop to this, Lord Brahma recited a mantra over a lotus flower, turning it into a weapon, and with it, killed the demon. In the process, a petal of the lotus flower fell in that place, and turned into a lake. That’s why, when Lord Brahma came down to conduct his Mahayagna, he named the place ‘Pushkar’ – ‘Push’ is from pushp, the Sanskrit word for flower, and ‘kar’ means lake.
But the story doesn’t end there. Lord Brahma started the puja, but his wife, Goddess Saraswathi, was delayed. A part of the puja could not be performed without Lord Brahma’s wife. So he married a girl from the Gujjar tribe who lived in the area, and continued doing the puja. When Goddess Saraswathi finally reached the Mahayagna site, she found another woman sitting beside her husband. She was furious, and cursed Lord Brahma, saying he would only be worshipped in this one place, and nowhere else! That’s why, till today, there’s only one temple to Lord Brahma.
The Pushkar lake is referred to as the Adi Thirth or first sacred water body in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The temple, the lake and the town are important pilgrimage spots.