Window Seat: Pushkar

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | February 04, 2024 IST

Mrinal Chatterjee

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India, which finds mention in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, it is situated at the height of 510 metres, surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’ (literally Snake Mountain) forms a natural border between Ajmer and Pushkar.

The city of Pushkar is home to the very few temples dedicated to Lord Bramha. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be a ‘must do’ pilgrimage. Local pundits call it ‘tirtha raj.

According to the legends, Lord Bramha, creator of the universe dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then named the place after the flower, and thus the name, Pushkar.

Semi-circular in shape and about 8-10 metres deep, Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats and over 400 temples. The Bramha Temple is located about a km away from the lake on a hillock. Built with marble and decorated with silver coins, this temple can be identified by its red spire and the image of a swan (considered sacred to Lord Brahma). The chaturmukhi (four faced) idol of Lord Brahma is housed in the inner sanctum. A marble statue of the sun god stands sentinel at the temple.

Puskar is also a holy place for the Sikhs because of the Gurudwara Singh Sabha. Situated in the eastern part of Pushkar, it was built in the beginning of the 19th century to commemorate the visits of the first and the tenth gurus- Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Govind Singhji.

Pushkar is also known for its camel fair. Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima (full moon), it is is one of India's largest camel, horse and cattle fairs.

The city is home to a large number of artisans who create exquisite handicrafts using traditional techniques. The handicrafts industry is a major contributor to the economy of Pushkar. Some of the popular handicraft items made here include textiles, pottery, and jewelry.

Sadhu Meher

I met Sadhu Meher, veteran Odia cine actor, director and producer at a special screening of Bhukha in Bhubaneswar in 1989. I was a working journalist then. Sabyasachi Mahapatra, the Director of the film introduced me to Sadhu Meher. I instantly liked the person. He had no air of a star. Sadhu Meher passed away in Mumbai on 2 February 2024. He was 84.

He performed in both Odia and Hindi films. He began his career in Hindi films with Bhuvan Shome (1968, Dir. Mrinal Sen) He acted in several parallel cinema like Ankur, Manthan, Nisant, Mrigaya and so on. Later he shifted his interest towards Odia films. He acted in over 30 films and television serials and directed six films including a Children’s film Babula.

Born in Manamunda, Odisha in 1940, Sadhu Meher lived mostly in Mumbai.

He won the National Film Award for Ankur (1974). He was conferred Padma Shri in 2017.

Turban

People all over the world wear headgears including turban- for different purposes- climatic condition, identity, ceremonial, and so on.

I found the most colourful turbans in Rajasthan. Wearing a colorful turban is the ultimate fashion statement in Rajasthan. The men here have perfected the art of turban (locally called safa or paaga or pagri) tying to the point where it's practically a competitive sport. It is not an easy task, considering a safa or pagri could be a piece of cloth averagely nine metres long, but some are even longer. Each turban is a work of art, a towering masterpiece that can put the Leaning Tower of Pisa to shame.

And there are different types of safa or pagdi. You could often get to know the region, caste and religion of the man, through the style of the turban worn.

Window Seat 2023

I have been writing this weekly column for over a decade now. It has become a part of my being- my stress booster, my creative genie, my favourite pastime.

For the last five years, I put together the write-ups into an anthology in e-book format and distributed it to whoever is interested to read free of any charge. Every year I pick up a photograph of one young photographer for the cover. This year, the cover photo is by Adarsh Singh, a young student of NIFT, Bhubaneswar.

If you are interested to get a copy, write a request mail to [email protected]

Tailpiece: Doubt

Son: Dad, I have a doubt.

Dad: What's it, son?

Son: I learnt that Shri Ram attained Godly status by listening to his father in Tretayug.

Dad: That's true, son.

Son: But then Prahlad became great by not listening to his father* in Satyayug.

Dad: That is also true.

Son: So, dad, kindly enlighten me, should I listen to you, or not?

Dad: My dear son, we are living in Kalyug. It's good for both of us to listen to your mother  to lead a peaceful and harmonious life.

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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