India Day 6-8: Pushkar, the sacred town

Another four-hour journey in the jeep after leaving Tordi Sagar saw us travel to the holy town of Pushkar, a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs. The world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma, here meat, eggs and alcohol are banned (I know, I know, how did I cope…).

The street markets

After arriving at the hotel and attempting our some washing, we went for a walk around the town. Far less daunting than the huge cities of Delhi and Jaipur, Pushkar had more of an intimate feel, with side streets dedicated to street food and market stalls. Apparently more accustomed to tourists than other places – I’m guessing because of the pilgrimages – people on the stalls asked if we wanted camel rides or tacky souvenirs every five seconds. I’m considering getting a t-shirt printed which says, “No, I do not want a camel ride, tuk tuk or a selfie with you,” as it’s just becoming ridiculous.

Pushkar markets
The crazy markets of Pushkar (they look quiet here, but…)

Something else which people seem to do is shout “lovely jubbly” at us all the time, and we can’t really understand why*. The other thing about Pushkar is there seem to be more cows roaming around than in other Indian cities, and for some reason a calf decided to headbutt Tash, and now the entire group is terrified of them (she wasn’t hurt!).

As it was a member of the group’s birthday, in the evening we headed to a hotel with a swimming pool and had a buffet dinner and a cake for Kieron, and played silly games in the pool. It was a great evening.

Pushkar Lake view
Views from the temple at the top of the mountain across Pushkar

Savitiri temple

The following morning Tash and I walked to the mountain to look at the Savitiri temple, and got a cable car (to Indians, the ‘ropeway’) to the very top of the hill. We felt a bit like celebrities as women kept coming up to us and randomly shaking our hands, one complimented my piercings and a young teenager wanted to sit in our cable car carriage. At the top we took some pictures over the view, which included the sacred Pushkar Lake in the centre of the town where pilgrims bathe. Apparently when the god Brahma was fighting a devil with a lotus flower he dropped it on the ground and that formed the lake. The lotus flower is now an important symbol of the town. On the way back down the cable car stopped partway through our journey as the electricity cut out, but you have to just roll with it in India so we waited patiently for it to come back.

Pushkar desert
Natasha and I in the desert at Pushkar

Camel ride by sunset

The evening saw us take a camel ride by sunset, which was fun but very bumpy. My camel was called Jimmy, he is six years old and according to the man guiding him, he’s the best camel in the group and is “a very happy camel”. The guide then gave me a yellow flower off a bush and asked me to marry him. We now live happily ever after with our herd of camels**.

Pushkar camel
Yes, the camel ride was as uncomfortable as it looked

We then went to watch a couple of hours of entertainment in the desert by camp fire. The views and atmosphere were fantastic and we ate a homemade curry while watching a magician, who was hilarious even though he spoke little English, and he managed to conjure two pigeons seemingly out of nowhere. There were then some women who performed a traditional dance, got us to join in (at this point I really wish alcohol had been allowed in Pushkar) and also danced with flaming pots on their heads. The performance finished with a man eating and breathing fire, which was insane.

In the morning we leave for Udaipur, the Lake City. According to our guide Mo it’s the most beautiful city in India, so expect lots of pictures in the next post.

* My dad has messaged to remind me this is from Only Fools And Horses – of course! Obviously they think everyone British speaks like that…

** This, you may be either sad or relieved to read, is not true.

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