The Holy Town of Pushkar, India
My Travel Tail
Having just arrived in the hectic Jaipur, after the even more hectic Varanasi and only 2 days till Christmas. I decided to escape from the manic urban metropolis for a quiet Christmas Holiday. Word on the travellers trail suggested Pushkar. A small and holy lake side town only 3 hours south of Jaipur by bus. Having taken their word for it I arrived without expectation. Finding what became my new home for 10 days. It was the perfect spot to spend the holidays. Just beware, alcohol and meat are forbidden here. Well, you can (cough cough) source alcohol at a few outlets on the outskirts of town. Only it must be consumed with the upmost discretion in private quarters. That said, despite being an Irish man I consumed very little there during the holiday period. It felt a little out of place and of course disrespectful. The town itself wouldn’t be the same if a drinking culture were aloud. All in all my Pushkar experience was one to be remembered and I’ll be sure to return on my next Indian adventure.
Travelling from the high paced and flamboyant city of Jaipur I was immediately hit by the calm and stillness of Pushkar. Another one of India’s holy sanctuaries it sits among the surrounding hills with a peaceful and serene lake at its centre. The waters edge made up of temple after temple - their holy stairs leading into the blessed waters. A melodic chorus of puja (prayers), chanting and drums can be heard from a far. The temples in full swing with the many Indian’s that venture there on holy quests and pilgrimages.
Day to Day
The town itself consists mostly of one main street and market place. You may find it slightly over commercialised with stall after stall. However, the tourism in my view, has yet to destroy the towns charm. The tourists seemed sparsely spread out with what I would describe as a kind of hippie bohemian vibe. Every stall seemingly selling the same paraphernalia of baggy pants, scarfs, along with 100% hemp made backpacks and pouches. The stall holders who will undoubtable see you at least twice per day, chanting their usual sales pitch - only adding to the charm of the place. Thankfully my backpack was already full to the brim so I wasn’t the slightest bit interested. While like anywhere, if you want to spend a lot of cash you certainly can. However Pushkar as a whole was anything but expensive. Myself surviving there in relative comfort for around $10-$15 per day - accommodation included!
Food & Accomodation
As a holy sanctuary meat is also forbidden here and it appears that the town adheres to that rule - not surprising for India. Myself mostly a vegetarian, had no issue with that. In fact it only enhanced the veg selection on offer. However, the majority of restaurants there served what we described as generic, under seasoned and over priced dishes. With the exception of UnEarth Café which just happened to be part of my Moustache Hostel. Not only would I recommend eating there I would encourage staying there too. It has everything you would want in a place like Pushkar and more… Along with a warm welcome and the friendliest staff I’ve come across in India to date.
Escaping the Crowd
Tired of the market place hustle and bustle - no worries! You’re only a one hour trek from the highest temple on the hill. Offering a superb view for both sunrise and sunset. Beware the many steps to get there though as the gaps become unusually tall near the top. If in doubt a cable car is on offer to take you there and back again for only a $1. Myself a daring adventurer wouldn’t even consider the easy route.
Photography - Capturing Pushkar
Still waters, reflections, morning mists, warm intense colours, ancient temples, cheeky monkeys and one character after another. You’ll find there’s a shot to be had on every corner of Pushkar. Just beware the “no photography’ rule on the waters edge. Or most places were shoes are also forbidden. That said I did take a few cheeky shots admits the crowd of locals. Not one of which didn’t have either a DSLR or some form of selfie stick. I guess that’s just modern society wrapped up in their likes for likes avatars - myself no exception, of course.