Day 146: Fantastic Place
Pushkar Travel Blog› entry 196 of 260 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.