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Puja in Pushkar - a pretty, peculiar place

Pushkar Travel Blog

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Looking down on Pushkar

Pushkar is a sacred Hindu town. It's not big, it's surrounded by low hills, and the centrepiece is the small lake, created according to Hindu tradition when Lord Brahma dropped a lotus flower. All round the lake are bathing ghats, 52 in all, originally one for each of the Rajasthan maharajahs. The ashes of Gandhi and Nehru were scattered in the water from Gau Ghat. It's a major pilgrimage town, with many hindus heading to the lake or to the Brahma Temple, one of the very few with this dedication, or to one of the other 499 temples. As a sacred town, it's strictly veggie - no eggs even, though you can get milk products - and there's no alcohol and no drugs. This is made clear in lots of notices around the town. Despite that, it's a major tourist town, too, as it's pretty, it's interesting, it's laid-back and it's great for people watching.

The holy lake
Western travellers in their baggy trousers, long hair and straggly beards (men) and baggy trousers, long hair and henna-ed hands and legs (women) wander among pilgrims in their "best" heading for a temple, and amble through the tourist-junk bazaar. But while there are no drugs allowed, bhang lassi (lassi with ground marijuana leaves for you youngsters who don't remember the '60s hippie trail) is legal. While we were admiring the sunset over the lake, and older woman sidled past and offered us "anything you want to smoke." Neither of us had had such an offer for years! There are the con-men at the ghats, who encourage westerners to part with rupees, or preferably dollars, pounds or euros, to do Pushkar puja - praying for one's family while throwing rosepetals on the lake.
Seventh Heaven Hotel
We've been partially conned - no money to the priest, but a donation to a charity, with receipt...

So, like so many places in India, it's a town of contradictions and conundrums. But like so much of India, it's just amazing, too. We're staying on for a few days.

Oh - it's a very popular destination for Israeli youngsters. This is the only place we've been where we've used a computer keyboard where the letters were also marked out in Hebrew.

And while writing this in the rooftop restaurant of our rather upmarket hotel, we've just noticed pots of basil on one side of the terrace. And a marijuana plant on the other (a pot of pot??)

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Looking down on Pushkar
Looking down on Pushkar
The holy lake
The holy lake
Seventh Heaven Hotel
Seventh Heaven Hotel
Pushkar - monkey business
Pushkar - monkey business
Pushkar
photo by: Stevie_Wes