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 Pushkar 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 52 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.
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