AsiaIndiaPushkar

Day 146: Fantastic Place

Pushkar Travel Blog

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The walk up to the Pop Mochani temple

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Ed (Netherlands)

Although Pushkar is all about laying back and relaxing, there are some more strenuous activities that can be done as well. Surrounding Pushkar are several small hills, two of which sport a small temple.
We decided to do some exercise today and climb one of these hills. We opted for the smaller of the two, the Pap Mochani, or Gayatri, temple. Not because we were lazy, but because this hill was to the south of the town and therefore offered the best photo opportunities as we'd have the sun behind us... OK, and also because we are lazy. Hey, it's 35 degrees outside with 95% humidity, even breathing is an effort in this weather!
It was a sweaty 20-minute climb to the top of the hill, from where we had excellent views over Pushkar and its surroundings.

The start of our 'Project'


Over the last couple of days we had been working towards something we had dubbed “The Project”. Rather than sending postcards home to our friends and family, we came up with the plan to film ourselves in several locations, holding up signs with names. Over the next two weeks we would film scenes which became more and more crazy as we proceeded.
Today we filmed our opening scene, standing at the top of the hill overlooking Pushkar.
For more information on our 'project' have a look at Ed's blog.

Back in Pushkar we had a quick shower to wash off the sweat and then we donned our kurta pyjamas. If there's any place perfect for wearing local dress it is the laid back Pushkar, and as we walked the streets in our

That said, the kurta pyjamas look more comfortable than they actually are.
Donning our Kurta Pyjamas: "You know the difference between you and me?"
I think it was because of the material. Obviously we had gone for the cheapest ones, which were definitely weren't 100% natural fabric. So within minutes of walking the streets of Pushkar we were both drenched with sweat. No worries, when we paid a repeat visit to 'Honey and Spice, the place where we had lunch yesterday, the owner immediately told us to strip off those pyjamas and let them dry on the railing while we dried ourselves by sitting underneath some fans while having lunch.

After lunch it was time for us to go back to school. Music school! The music schools in Pushkar come recommended for learning to play traditional Indian instruments and both Ed and I were quite keen on having a go at one. Ed wanted to learn to play sitar, while I was interested in tabla, Indian drums.
Going back to school - music school!


At the music school we were each assigned a teacher for our two-hour crash course in Indian musical culture. My gosh that is hard! At least, it was for me. Ed plays bass guitar and for him the transition to sitar wasn't all that hard. I can't really play anything, but I can manage to make some rhythms come out of African or Caribbean drums. But the playing of tablas in no resembles that of either. With tribal drums or bongos or congas you alternate each and every beat between your left and right hand. With tabla you are required to play both hands simultaneously, changing the position of your hands every second beat. To make matters worse you are supposed to remain contact with the drums with at least one finger at all time, making it really difficult to create a powerful sound (for me at least, the teacher had no issues with it at all!).
Our one-off musical performance
All the power has to come from the fingers, rather than the wrist or arm.

Ed and I had great fun plodding around with our instruments (I eventually moved on to pump organ to remind me that I am not *entirely* without musical talent - OK, maybe I am, but at least I can create a melody with a piano keyboard) while our teachers quickly moved on to their own business. As all things Indian, the musical lessons were rather half-hearted with the teachers not given us much attention after the first basics had been explained. It didn't matter though, it was good fun.

After a quick, improvised concert, required for our 'project' video, we said our goodbyes to the music teachers and returned to the city centre for some well-deserved sheesha.
After our accidental find of a sheesha at our hotel we soon found that Pushkar is in fact full of sheesha bars.
Brahma temple
I think this town may well be my favourite place in India (now if only we could get a drink somewhere...).

When our sheesha break was over it was getting dark and we still had one sight we wanted to visit in Pushkar: the Brahma temple.
For the untrained eye it just looked as every other temple in India (chaotic, colourful, busy), but well worth a visit. I struggle to grasp the whole concept of Hinduism, with all its different deities and rituals, but I do find it fascinating.
People come to the Brahma temple (and many others) to offer flowers and sweets, while joining in chants with the resident priests. Unlike the peaceful order one can find at Christian churches or Muslim mosques, prayer and offering here means kicking and pushing in order to get to the altar before the person next to you.
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
I guess Hindu heaven works on a first come, first serve basis.

For dinner we went to a restaurant recommended in the Lonely Planet, the Sixth Sense. The restaurant is located inside a hotel, the Seventh Heaven, which is, you guessed it, recommended by the Lonely Planet. While I can't comment on the quality of the hotel, judging by the food in the restaurant I think both recommendations are wholly justified. The food was absolutely wonderful, as was the atmosphere. This was miles better than the soulless resort we stayed at.

edsander says:
What a most excellent day this was. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Posted on: Dec 19, 2010
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The walk up to the Pop Mochani tem…
The walk up to the Pop Mochani te…
The start of our Project
The start of our 'Project'
Donning our Kurta Pyjamas: You kn…
Donning our Kurta Pyjamas: "You k…
Going back to school - music schoo…
Going back to school - music scho…
Our one-off musical performance
Our one-off musical performance
Brahma temple
Brahma temple
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
The view from the hill
The view from the hill
Pushkar
Pushkar
All cars need to be parked outside…
All cars need to be parked outsid…
Monkeys enjoying their freebies at…
Monkeys enjoying their freebies a…
Learning to play tabla
Learning to play tabla
Indian standard rhythm - not as ea…
Indian standard rhythm - not as e…
Different drums, same issues with …
Different drums, same issues with…
Music lessons: now this is an inst…
Music lessons: now this is an ins…
Ed learning to play Sitar
Ed learning to play Sitar
Pushkar
Pushkar
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
Excellent thali
Excellent thali
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
Dinner at Sixth Sense restaurant
Pushkar
photo by: Stevie_Wes