We arrived to Pushkar after a tiring bus ride, not because of the distance but because we had to change buses. The first bus took us from Jaipur to Ajmer, about 3h. Once in Ajmer we had to get the bus which would take us to Pushkar (30 mins away) and after a longish wait and a growing number of people waiting for the bus and of course because in India no one respects the queues, we literally had to fight our way into the bus.
Pushkar at first sight wasn’t what we expected, we thought we would find a quiet Indian town with few foreigners but what we found was an oasis made for tourists at the doors of the Thar desert (Great Indian Desert). There were shops everywhere, henna painting saloons, many cafes and restaurants with continental menus and the lake more than a lake it looked like a man made giant swimming pool. But as the days passed we discovered other secrets of the city that made us growing into like it.
Pushkar is a holy city in the state of Rajashtan. The Hindus believe that Brahma, one of their divinities known as the creator, released a lotus flower into the earth. When the petals of the flower reached the earth three lakes were created, and around the biggest one grew the city of Pushkar. The story says that Brahma was to marry Savitri, a river goddess, in the banks of Pushkar lake with a ceremony called yagna that can only happen on a specific astrological moment. As Savitri was late, Brahma was forced to find another unmarried woman, as without a wife he could not perform the yagna. Gayitri was the only unmarried woman available, so they went ahead with wedding. When Savitri finally arrived and saw Brahma married to another woman she was furious and coursed him saying that he would only be worshiped at Pushkar. Pushkar is now one of the few places in India where you can find Brahma temples. There are also temples devoted to Savitri and Gayitri, both of them situated on top of two hills in the surroundings of Pushkar. To placate Savitri, it was agreed that her temple was to sit on the highest hill and that she would always be worshiped before Gayitri.
As it’s a holy city and it has a holy lake with more than 50 ghats, the Hindus believers in Brahma come to Pushkar to bath on the waters of its sacred lake to purify their sins, in a way it reminded us of Varanasi.
Even though Marta had a terrible cold we didn’t let it ruin our time in Pushkar. So with a bunch of tissues and some paracetamol we wandered around the lake barefoot observing pilgrims rituals, the ghats were a bit disgusting as apart from indians there were cows, monkeys, ducks…. and as you can imagine they don’t use the toilet. We climbed to Savitri’s temple where the views of the city are matchless, surrounded on all sites by desert. As “el clasico” (Real Madrid – Barcelona football game) was taking part while we were in Puskar and Isma didn’t want to miss it, he made me wake up at 2.30 am to watch it online from bed… Good for me that after realizing that Real Madrid had no chances of winning Isma suggested to go back to sleep. We even had the chance to see Gipsy dancers show in our guest house one of the nights, it was amazing to see how they could twist their bodies and move their hips at the sound of some traditional music.
Puskhar ended up being a great place to learn a bit about Hinduism and relax from messy India.
We stayed at Sai Baba Haveli which is a guest house run by a French Indian couple. We paid 250 INR per night for an ensuite double room. The room was big, comfortable and had clean bedlinen. Hot water was running all day except in the morning when there is a general power cut in the city (9am – 2pm). We even had free wifi. The food at the guest house restaurant was tasty and cheap.