Push yourself to Pushkar!
Delhi – Pushkar, From the big city to a little jewel in Rajasthan!
Honestly, i had no idea of what Maya was talking about when she said; “hey guys, let’s go to Pushkar tomorrow”. Push whom? What car? “It is not far from Delhi and people say it is insanely special” she said, that was enough to convince me. We quickly booked combined tickets to Pushkar in a travelling agency in Paharganj area of Delhi, this included a train ticket to Ajmer and a bus from Ajmer to Pushkar, about 500INR combined.
So yeah, Pushkar;
Lying on the shores of the Pushkar lake, the little jewelish town is one of the five pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus. According to the legend, Pushkar was formed by the tears of lord Shiva, that were dropping when he was crying about the death of his wife Sati. Pushkar is also home for the annual camel fair which continues for five days. More than 10000 camels are brought from different parts of India to be traded and sold. Finally the temples, there are many Hindu temples around Pushkar and the most notable is the Brahma temple, since there are not many temples dedicated to Brahma around the world.
Pushkar lake piligrims, Credit to Koen from Flickr (c)
After the journey from Delhi we settled down in “Peacock holiday resort”, it’s actually a nice little guesthouse with a swimming pool, neat rooms and a restaurant.
After unpacking and taking a shower we went out to explore the town. Pushkar is really small, so it can easily be navigated by foot, although bicycles and motorbikes are available for rent too. The first thing i noticed after arriving to Pushkar is the crazy amount of wandering cows! They are usually harmless but i actually got head butted by a cow there, seriously, it did hurt but was pretty funny as well.
Shop, shop, shop. Pushkar is a great shopping destination. The prices were probably the lowest i have seen in India, you have to bargain hard though. You buy can all sorts of jewelry, handicrafts, bags, clothes and more. I bought this nice lil necklace for just 10INR!
The Pushkar lake is a place to visit for sure too. The lake is scared for the Hindus. Pilgrims come to the lake in large numbers year around, especially during Kartik Poornima (a kind of “full moon party” of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains). People believe that a dip in the sacred lake will cleanse sins and cure diseases. I prefered staying a sinner.
The lake area is also known for the various scams taking place there. While walking near the lake I got approached by a “priest” who told me that i had to get a special blessing before coming any closer to the lake. I politely told him that i was not interested, but the “wizard” kept on pushing until i got angry and told him to get away. “The blessing” usually costs around 1000INR per family member, spells come with price tags… Be aware.
It is also important to mention that drinking or selling alcohol is prohibited in Pushkar, same applies for meat!
The Pushkar camel safari:
Ride a camel, camp in the desert, feel the desert. Sounds nice, eh?
This activity is very popular around town, but i vote against! Although i did the safari myself, i truly believe that it was a mistake, let me explain in detail.
We started early in the morning, Maya, Gal and I, each had his own camel + two guides. After packing all the bags on the camel (We had one night camping booked) we went on our way. First we rode through the town itself, the camel was pretty slow, so we could really see how the little Indian town lived it’s daily life, Pushkar looked different from the back of the camel. After while we got off town and saw the mighty Rajasthani desert, It is the world’s 17th largest desert.
On the back of the mighty camel, credit to tjollans from Flickr (c)
The ride through the desert lasted a few hours until the camels had to have a serious break. We saw the nomadic life of the desert people, hardcore poverty, amazing landscapes and a magical sunset. Desert sunset is something you should put on your bucket list.
At night we stayed in a small camp, Thali was served for dinner (with a refill) and after a few spliffs of charas we went off to sleep. A tent for three was a great place to rest at.
In the next morning we had to ride back to town, it took us about four hours to get back to Pushkar. So why did i say i was against the activity? Well, in order to navigate the camels, a hole is made in their nose and a rope is put through it, the rider holds the rope and navigates by pulling the rope left or right. This is just the visible part, i have no idea how they make the camels be so loyal, i hope their ways are not cruel.
Pushkar has a lot to offer to any traveler, some people stay there for really long periods, put it on your “to go” list, go there, you won’t regret it. P.S the charas there is not bad at all.