Pushkar - love it or hate it?

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Pushkar, India

Pushkar - love it or hate it? Reviews

o_mendfornd o_mendfo…
45 reviews
Jan 04, 2006
It seems that Pushkar is like Marmite; you either love it or hate it. In fact I've met more people who say good things about it than bad, but I'm in the bad camp.

Pushkar is a holy city in Rajasthan, and is a bit of a Mecca for backpackers. It's supposed to be a very spiritual place, but it struck me as over-commercialised. There are loads and loads of backpacker places, shops selling hippie clothing and bags and all the usual stuff. There are also lots of people who say that they are priests and want to give you a flower, or a piece of ribbon and take you down to the lake, which seems like a convenient way to get money out of you.

I suppose it's a nice place if you like this scene, but for me the other places we visited in Rajasthan were much more enjoyable. Best of all was Jaisalmer: we went on a camel safari, and also had Christmas day there. Staying in a small guesthouse in the fort, getting dinner on the rooftop terrace with the town far below, watching the sun set over the desert is really magical. It's much less crowded than Pushkar as well. We also had a good time in Jodhpur: the fort and palace are very impressive.

I think that a better place to go for the spiritual backpacker vibe is McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh. There place has a more genuine feel, and the food on offer is better. Plus you have the fantastic scenery of the Himalayan foothills.

If you are in Pushkar there's a really good restaurant just as the main road in (from Ajmer) approaches the lake and turns hard right. I can't remember the name exactly, but it's got the word "moon" in it (moondance?). They do a really good mix of western and Indian food (and good Indian food, unlike a lot of places in Pushkar), as well as good cakes! I think it was listed in the Lonely Planet.
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