Pushkar, India – Ticking The Boxes For The Location Of The Garden Of Eden

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Pushkar, India – Ticking The Boxes For The Location Of The Garden Of Eden

Pushkar, India – Ticking The Boxes For The Location Of The Garden Of Eden

The Garden of Eden occupies a central position in the Biblical narrative but no place resembling it is found in West Asia, perhaps because the Garden could have been located at Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan in Western India. The defining feature of the Biblical Garden of Eden is four rivers emerging from a Holy Mountain (Genesis 2:10, Ezekiel 28:14). There are four rivers named Nahar, Dai, Sagarmati and Saraswati emerging from the Pushkar Mountains. These rivers emerge on the north, east, south and west respectively.

Brahma Pushkar lake (Image: Courtesy Bharat Jhunjhunwala)

Rivers and Lakes

There are also three lakes on the mountain—the Budha Pushkar, Madhya Pushkar and Brahma Pushkar, which used to be interconnected with each other. The water of the former lake overflowed into the latter. The sources of two of the four rivers emerge directly from these lakes while two spring from the foothills. The Nahar emerges from the Budha Pushkar to the north. The Dai and Sagarmati emerge from to the east and south from the foothills. The Saraswati emerges from the Brahma Pushkar lake in the west. Could it be that these four rivers are mentioned as Perath, Hiddekel, Pishon and Gihon respectively in the Bible?

Four rivers of Pushkar and their Biblical counterpart names (Map: Courtesy Bharat Jhunjhunwala)

The Holy Mount

The Book of Ezekiel says that Eden, the “Garden of God” was located on the “holy mount.” Pushkar is indeed located on a mountain, albeit one only 530 meters (1,148 feet) above the Mean Sea Level. The elevation of the city of Ajmer to its south is at 475 meters MSL (1,558 feet) thus, Pushkar is located barely 55 meters (180 feet) higher than the surrounding plains and scarcely qualifies as a mountain. However, Pushkar is located in a valley surrounded by higher mountains. One accesses Pushkar from Ajmer through a mountain pass. The Bible could refer to Pushkar as a “Mount” in reference to the higher mountains that surround it.

Panoramic view of Pushkar lake with the mountains in the background (Tatai1985 / CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Targum Pseudo Jonathan, an apocryphal text, says that the Gihon carried the waters of the Pishon. (Exodus 13: 17). Indeed, the Saraswati—Biblical Gihon—carries the water of the Sagarmati—the Biblical Pishon—downstream of the city of Govindgarh. Thus, the three defining features of the Biblical Garden, namely four rivers emerging from a mountain, one of which carries the water of another, corresponds entirely with the geography of Pushkar.

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