This is the fourth post in the highlights of Rajasthan series.
I took a local bus from Jodhpur to dreamy Pushkar. Spending time in Pushkar is a different experience to other places in Rajasthan. Rather than gaining its fame from forts or palaces, it’s a sacred place in hinduism and home to one of the very few Brahma temples in the world. It’s sacredness makes photography inappropriate, so apologies for the lack of piccys.
It’s a laid-back town full of hippies, pilgrims and backpackers. It is very touristy but the holiness of the lake helps maintain some of its authenticity.
The city revolves around the this lake, which is inevitably disappointing after the spectacular sight of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. It’s more of a puddle in comparison. But its significance lies in the spirituality, rather than the natural splendour.
Watch out for the priests by the lake who will want to perform a ritual for you. They will do blessings for your family and then ask you for ridiculous amounts of money, even after promising that you only need to give whatever amount you feel is appropriate.
I emphasised that I would not be giving much before they started the ritual. I offered 10 rupees and the priest threw an almost comical tantrum, claiming that he deserves more because he’s a Brahmin and not a beggar. It was an unpleasant experience but interesting to see more of the scammy side of India.
The mountains surrounding the town offer an enjoyable hike for the sunrise or sunset.
It’s an interesting place of juxtapositions. Firstly, between the conservative pilgrims and the hippies who just want to get drunk or high. Secondly between the piety of the devotees and the greed for money clearly motivating some of the rituals. These clashes didn’t sit well with me, and I felt they detracted from the harmony of the town.
Fave eats: There’s a section of the main street dedicated to falafel shops aimed at serving the many Israeli backpackers that come here. They have fantastic wraps. Out of the Blue was a nice restaurant.
What I’m reading: Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald
Have you been to Pushkar? How did you deal with the scamming priests?