India: Pushkar

Pushkar. So waking up in Pushkar for a day of pure exploration and no travel was exciting. We rallied the tribe for a quick breakfast and then we were off to walk into town and explore. Pushkar is a small town known for it’s Brahma temple, one of the few existing in the world. It’s also has it’s share of Sikh temples as well.

It was nice to just stroll into town and not have to deal with Billu. We actually called him in the morning to drive us around for the day. But he just lied and said cars couldn’t go in the old city. The walk was more fun anyway.

We did see some of the traffic Billu was obviously fearing.

Traffic Jam

Pushkar sits in a desert region as thusly the camel safari or ride was always being offered. But this one family was very interesting to just talk to about their camels and their curiosity about what country I was from.

Camel Family

One of our first stops was at a Sikh temple. If you look at the traffic jam shot you will see it in the background. This was a cool experience. To enter the temple you had to cover your head and body and enter barefoot through a cleansing pool. The temple itself was made of marble and felt calmingly cool underfoot. It was a simple temple with a reading room in the center, but it did have a very cool walking labyrinth etched into the marble floor. Clearing the mind while tracing the pattern soothed the soul.

Back on the town we walked toward the market area. The goal for the day was to walk the markets, go to Brahma Temple, and see the Ghats.

Descending into the Market

The market vendors were out and active. And the locals were buying. I always wonder how far people travel to these markets because having driven through the countryside to get there I really wonder where all the green vegetables and fruits come from. This woman had a modest display for sale.

Wrinkled Onions

We also spotted this guy selling fried wonton like noodles. Looked to be a tasty snack.

Wontons

Our tribe grew thirsty and so we stopped for some sugar cane juice.

Sugar Cane

Popcorn was another staple that was everywhere and it really did look delicious. I promise that in another week we will be eating out of the hands of strangers (literally), but I am just not there yet.

Orville

While there is a lot of selling going on, there is also a lot of just living too. This family was just staring out onto the action.

Bouncy Baby

Again texture plays such a deep role in this experience as well. The layered smell of diesel, urine, cow dung, samosa, masala, dogs, and people intermix to create a olfactory ballad that’s unforgettable. It dances across the brain. Really unforgettable. But speaking of texture the shot below caught my eye.

Foil Vendor

We finally found our way to the Ghats and it was an experience. The Ghats are the stairs down to the Pushkar lake. When you approach them, the hustle begins. A holy man comes to take you down to the lake to talk to you. Of course he doesn’t want any money. So they put rose petals in your hand and down to the water you go. Once you get down there its time for a ceremony and some chatting up by the holy man. I don’t mean to sound jaded but the hustle is hard. There have been some very amazing people who have gone out of their way to guide or help us. But a lot are working it. And I can’t decide for sure which category these guys were in. I decided to let the rest of the tribe descend and I would watch shoes and just observe. The holy man did not like that. He kept pushing me that it’s ok, no money, it’s holy. No I’m good for now. One by one I watched them get separated and counseled. And one by one I watched the wallets come out for “donations”. I just didn’t like it. It was good to experience and have a quiet moment there. What’s even more fascinating is that when you have had the experience they tie a bracelet on your wrist. Like a symbol or rather signal, that you had been through it. Was it a scarlet letter or the pope’s ring? Hmm.

Post the Ghats it was back to the market and to see some of the other side of the town. The market is organized along a strip in front of the Lake, and while the lake is encircled with development, there is definitely a front a back to town.

Working our way to the back part of town we attracted a beggar. But she was different. Had a delicate but scary aura to her, and she had taken a liking to our tribe.

The Hobbit Beggar

Her face was so finally wrinkled but her demeanor was almost child like. She is still stuck in my head.

We made it to the back side of the town and were looking for a quiet place to take in Lake Pushkar and we found it and shared it with a new friend.

The Pilgrim

We spent some time just experiencing the place and lake. Seeing the settlement around this small lake as the sun began it’s arc lower was calming.

Lake Pushkar

Leaving the lake, we walked along dirt roads, away from the bustling market and vendors. Passing a small farm house, a group of kids came to take a look.

Neighborhood Watch

Yea, doesn’t get much cuter than that. Our loop took us back to the main road at the top of the city. With the sun setting and the dusk swirling in the air, Pushkar started to glow.

We were among a troop of pilgrims exiting the markets.

The Flock

And the fella below had cleared his cart and was going to get another.

Push Cart

But the shot below best captures the feeling of being there. The glow, the dust, the movement, the smell.

Pushkar

Categories: India, Travel

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