Pushkar, India: sacred lake ~ site of religious festivities

Hindu theology is extra-ordinarily complex, with literally hundreds of gods and demi-gods.  However, at the very start, there were just three: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In this trinity, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer.  In order to create the world and produce the human race,  Brahma made a goddess out of himself.  One half was woman, and the other was man.
This is all germane because, despite the over-arching importance of Brahma in Hindu theology, there is in fact only ONE temple in all India dedicated to Brahma.  This temple is in 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 (greatest or first Pushkar), the Madya Pushkar (middle Pushkar) Lake, and Kanishta Pushkar (lowest or youngest Pushkar) lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower (“pushpa”) fell from Brahma’s hand (“kar”) as “Pushkar”.  Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple is identified by religious experts as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus, in India.
Marigolds are everywhere during this religious festival.
Delicate and ephemeral Mandala – the amount of work to produce beautiful “paintings” that are inherently vulnerable to destruction by wind and rain reinforces a hindu (and Buddhist) concept of life’s transience and impermanence.
The excitement builds on the edge of the lake, as rituals are about to begin
There are multiple sects and religious groups represented around the lake.  Each has its own traditions.  The parallel prayers, augmented by loudspeakers, leads to a cacophony of prayers.  Quite a sight and quite an ear-full.
The pageantry of the evening’s ceremonies makes this a magnificent spectacle, even for the uninitiated.
When the Vishnu priest is finished with his incantations, women launch their own floating mini candle lights into the holy lake.
The colors of women’s saris – a painter’s treat!

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