May 19: If you take a glass of water from the famous Pushkar lake in Rajasthan, it looks like sugarcane juice. But, that is where the simile ends. It is neither sweet, nor does it smell fresh.

It has a rotten smell and you will not feel like tasting it. Plus, it has fish bones and mud in it – because, in the past two weeks, 200 fish weighing between 5-20 kilograms have died in the brown depths due to lack of life-sustaining oxygen, The Indian Express newspaper reports.

Situated next to the only Brahma temple in the world, the lake draws close to 5,000 pilgrims everyday. The pilgrims come here to wash off their sins and immerse the ashes of their dead.

Pushkar Lake Water or Sugarcane Juice?
Pushkar Lake Water or Sugarcane Juice? [Illustration by Shinod AP]
But soon, Pushkar will have no water to immerse ashes in. It is dying. The lake, which was about 25 feet deep in the 1980s, is only four and a half feet deep now and resembles a dirty drain.

The lake’s natural water sources have dried up. This is partly due to the drought in the area over the past two years and partly because it shares its water sources with 150 tubewells dug by farmers living closeby.

The government has now started pumping in 2.50 lakh (250,000) gallons of water into it everyday, in a bid to save the lake. But it has served almost no purpose.

Two more tubewells have also been dug to provide water to the dying lake, but these are no substitutes for the lack of natural water sources, the newspaper quoted the public health engineering department’s assitant engineer Gudesar as saying.

The problem does not end here. It seems the desert is also slowly advancing towards Pushkar. At the same time, kind visitors continue to feed puffed rise to the dying fish and dump plastic bags into the lake, violating a ban. These factors will make sure that the lake becomes history sooner than it would have otherwise.

And, it looks like even Lord Brahma, the mythological creator of the world, cannot save it.