We left Jodhpur at 7am, meaning that for the first time during our trip we could enjoy a train ride by day light! It was very nice to watch the world passing by and see the people of India waking up through our train window. From Jodhpur it only took us 5,5 hours to reach Ajmer, where we took a taxi to Pushkar.
Pushkar is a small city with a big significance for Hindu’s, as it is a pilgrimage site. The lake that lies in the centre of the city is considered sacred, as according to legends Lord Brahma (believed to be the creator of the universe) dropped a lotus to the ground from which the lake originated. Many Hindu’s believe that their life is not complete without taking a dip here or sacrifice offers. However, besides welcoming Hindu pilgrims the city is also crowded with foreign hippies, who visit the many temples, find inner peace during yoga courses, indulge in spiritual matters, eat good food, take cooking courses, and shop clothes and souvenirs in one of the many shops. But apparently there is more, because when we asked a shopkeeper why there are so many foreign tourists here, he answered immediately that they come here because of alcohol and drugs (even though that is officially forbidden in Pushkar).
This blog about Pushkar will not be too extensive, as we have to admit that we did not do or see a lot here! Most honestly: we think Pushkar is a bit overrated. It is a nice small and calm town, but it is very much focused on all the tourists and between all those hippies we really felt like outsiders.
So, the first afternoon we mostly enjoyed our very spacious and beautiful hotel room! We took a shower, had some rest, and enjoyed a nice lunch on the rooftop restaurant, after which we headed into the small town. The lake is nice but small, and we were immediately attacked by touts, who wanted us to take flowers which we could sacrifice in the lake. Thankfully, we were well-prepared and after 10 times saying ‘no’ they slinked off. Before we came to Pushkar we read that these people are well-known for their scam, whereby in the end some will even take you to a priest who will ask for an outrageous amount of money as a donation, and if you don’t pay they even might curse you and your family…
After the lake, we wandered along the main street – which is one long bazaar with restaurants, guest houses and shops. As we already bought many souvenirs during our trip, it was not too interesting for us, so we decided to head back to our hotel where we relaxed, enjoyed our books, played cards, and had a very nice thali for dinner!
The next day we visited the Savitri Temple, which is located on a hill next to Pushkar. It was a 15-minute walk to the foot of the hill, where we decided that it was too hot to walk all the way up. Thankfully, there is cable cart nowadays! Even though Heleen didn’t feel too comfortable (the cable cart is relatively new, but it doesn’t look so), it probably was better than walking up in the hot sun. The temple was not open yet when we arrived, but there is a small shop which sells snacks and drinks, where we enjoyed sitting in the shade and watched the monkeys begging for cookies. The view from the top is stunning, and it actually would have been way better to visit this place with sunrise or sunset! The temple itself is small and not very special, even though it has a lot of significance to Hindu’s as it is dedicated to Lord Brahma’s wife.
Even though the cable cart was fast, we decided to walk down slowly and enjoy the view on Pushkar and its hills. The rest of the day and the day after we spend wandering around the Pushkar, relaxing in our hotel, drinking masala chai, playing cards and reading books. Not so spectacular, but we enjoyed it though. However, even though many people consider Pushkar as a ‘hidden gem’ and ‘place to go’, we would not, but it probably depends a lot on your interests and preferences as well!
The day after we took the afternoon train to Jaipur, about which you will read in our next blog!
Where to stay?
We stayed at a wonderful hotel named Inn-Seventh-Heaven. And just like the name, the hotel felt a bit like seventh heaven as well! It could be a bit noisy as the courtyard works like an echo-pit, but besides that it was very good. We had a spacious, clean and lovely decorated room (rose petals were spread in the bathroom when we arrived!), and the courtyard contains a lot of lovely benches, swing-chairs, books and – again – fresh rose petals were spread everywhere each morning. The rooftop restaurant was very good as well, serving both Indian as intercontinental food.