Pushkar Street Scene
Not a lot happening this afternoon, everyone is just sitting around.
We were all up early and in the foyer of the hotel at 5.00am, ready for the train trip to Pushkar. The railway station, when we got there, was more like a refugee centre, crowded even at this early hour. People seem to set up camp - out come the floor mats and everyone lies down to sleep while they wait for their train. Food stalls were busy and there was a pack of dogs roaming the platform. I kept well out of their way.
We found our carriage, definately 3rd class, and looked for our seats. They were padded bench seats with upright backs with a small padded area for back comfort. Each one sat three, but two would have been more comfortable. Luggage was put overhead, we all squashed in, pushed up the metal window screen for ventilation and wondered just how long this journey was going to take.
Six hours later we pulled into the station at Ajmer, the closest to Pushkar. Two jeeps were waiting to take us into Pushkar and to our hotel, about eleven kilometres away. The hotel, Kishan Palace, was a good twenty minutes walk from the centre of Pushkar, down a
Pushkar Street Scene
Lady with huge bundle of grasses on her head.
gravel road and surrounded with countryside. The walls were covered with art work, which is still a work in progress, four and a half years after being started. All very nice, but a hotel closer to town would have suited better, I think, considering the heat.
Pushkar is a holy town and is famous for the now man-made Pushkar lake, and the various ghats (steps leading to the water) and temples surrounding the lake. The word 'Pushkar' means lotus flower, which is said to be the seat of Brahma, one of the Hindu holy trinity, who is worshipped as the creator of this world. Though Brahma is considered to be the creator of the world, Pushkar has the only temple in the world of this important deity. Pilgrims come here to bathe in the ghats of the holy lake.
We settled into our rooms and met for lunch in the rooftop restaurant an hour later. We had an orientation walk at 5.30pm, but the heat hadn't lessened any. Bishon took us on a big loop around the holy lake, and through the streets filled with cows, motorcycles and shops selling the usual tourist stuff. We were blessed at
Pushkar Street Scene
Old cart and bicycle
the holy lake and had an identifying string tied around our wrist so we wouldn't be bothered by other 'priests' wanting to bless us, and receive the expected donation again. We were then left to our own devices and met later at an Italian restaurant for dinner.
On Wednesday I was up and gone by 7.30am. I returned to last night's restaurant for breakfast but was a little early. So, I went for a walk, snapped some more photos and returned later. Other tour members arrived soon after, also looking for breakfast. There were no organised plans for the day, so everyone went their own way.
I visited the Brahma temple but no photos were allowed. I looked at Savitri Temple, way up on the mountain, and decided I didn't need to climb up 700 steps in the heat, so gave that one a miss. I did end up at the Pink Floyd Cafe though. I enjoyed a Coke and listened to some of their music whilst relaxing in their odd mix of Rock Star/Indian decor. The place had a real hippy vibe to it and the music, which was so familiar, bought me closer to home.
I also visited a silversmith's shop and purchased some pendants and ear rings to resell once I'm home. At $1.10 per gram, they were a steal and included three lovely antique pieces which weren't actually on display but stored away. I knew they were old pieces when I saw them, and the shop owner was only too happy to part with them as well.
In all, I didn't do a lot in Pushkar. It was a more laid back town with a slower vibe, less hustle and bustle in the streets. Tomorrow we all meet in the lobby at 7.15am for a three to four hour bus trip to Jaipur. Here I will see India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal - The Palace of the Winds.
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