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Peace At Last - Pushkar

Pushkar Travel Blog

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Main Bazar, Pushkar

My head is pounding and I feel like the content of my stomach is ready to expel itself at any given moment. Before any undeserved sympathy is handed out, I must point out the reason for this is that I have only just recently (being 3pm) regained full coordination after last night’s drinking session and what is setting in now, is the hangover to end all hangovers.

Strangely I didn’t fancy venturing too far today (I’m not sure if I had the ability to even if I’d wanted this morning). Also the monsoon has been rearing its ugly head again, so I decided it must be time to update the adoring fans back home.

Now then…where shall I pick up? I believe I left you on day five. As it is now day nineteen, maybe the day by day break down may not be the best way forward so instead I’ll give you highlights of the last two weeks.

The Dimond Guest House

As you may remember, I was traveling with two Dutch girls. Having done some sightseeing in Jaipur that night we hooked up with the two girls we had met the previous night at the Cinema and made our way by bus to Pushkar. We arrived quite late in the evening. The bus pulled up and we prepared ourselves for the usual onslaught of commission sharks and rickshaw drivers. We stepped of the bus and then…nothing! No one was there. I had picked a hotel from the guidebook so in the absents of any mode of transportation and being a small town we asked for directions. The guy we asked insisted on walking us there, which took a good 15mins.

Pushkar - Streets after Moonsoon
He led us down a small dark street where there was a large wooden door. He hammered on the door. We waited a couple of minutes and as the door opened, colour and light spilled into the streets. We were so overwhelmed by our initial reactions to the place that sadly we forgot to thank the kind gentlemen as he carried-on his way.

The guest house was magical. Downstairs there was a courtyard with trees and plants that reached up through the building to the first floor. Everywhere was painted bright colours, blues and yellows and reds. In each bedroom was clean with beautiful hippy-ish bedspreads and there was a little shelf with incense and a burner.

The story behind this guesthouse was as amazing as the place itself. It’s run by a Russian/Italian/Swiss woman (that’s another story!) and her 16 year old daughter. She was working at a local hotel and it had been her personal home. As she had the space she had taken in a couple of lodgers to make a few extra rupees and help make ends meet. One night she is sitting in the court yard relaxing with a spliff, when there’s a loud knock at the door. She opens the door to find a couple of travelers standing there asking for a room. A little taken back she refuses. The people start to get a little shitty, asking why she can’t give them a room and telling her that it’s no way to run a business. - It turns out, that somehow her private house has ended up in the Lonely Planet! Still to this day she has no idea how! So there was no option, as people kept coming she had to open her doors to them, hence the Diamond Guesthouse was born.

Time in Pushkar melted away. What had been intended as one night for all of us turned into five. Most of the time was spent sitting a chatting. We would go for walks around the quaint town and the holy river. One evening we walked up a hill to watch the sunset over the Rajastani desert, another we had blessings from a Hindu priest, down by the river for our friends and families back home.

Sunday 8th July was a particularly notable day. Here’s an extract from my diary: 

‘I lost track of time a long time ago. I am writing by candlelight and incense, sitting on a rooftop where I was just laying down staring at the stars between the clouds. I can hear no traffic; just the clicking of the crickets, the occasional bark from a dog and the murmurings from a wedding that has been going across the road as it winds down. As I was staring into the sky, what looked like souring spirits (by were most likely to be bats) appeared as disappeared from view.

This morning as we were eating our breakfast the heavens opened and water stated to hemorrhage from the sky. With no concept of time, after what I would guess to be around 3 hours - having had only one brief interlude - the rain subsided. As we entered the streets they were flooded men stood with vegetable carts selling passage across. As we waded in the filthy water came up to our knees.

All the shops were raised to accommodate the water and customers removed shoes as they stepped up out of the torrent to enter the doors.

I sat writing my blog, watching through the door as water ran down the street like a river. A little boy rode past on a pink bicycle, tyres nearly fully engulfed.’

When I tried to leave Maria (the crazy Russian/Itallian/Swiss lady) insisted I stay another night. She took me to the travel agent and booked me onto a bus the following day and insisted on giving me the room free for my last night.

The next day it was time for me to leave. I was already late for my next meeting. I had met the Dutch girls at a time when I was desperate for company. From there the group had grown and along with the two girls me had met at the cinema, Maria and her daughter, eating together every night we had started to feel like a strange family. I was sorry to say goodbye, but I was ready. My overriding emotion was excitement, because I had discovered the consolidarity that traveling evokes and I knew what I was leaving behind wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg of what was to come. I was no longer suffering from the culture shock and was much more able to deal with my surrounding on my own…or so I thought…

annif says:
anniinfrance: Good to know that India hasn't changed in 15 years despite a booming economy. What the pix leave out is the sheer romance of the Taj Mahal. Neither can they evoke the smells (good & bad) and colours that pervade the senses. Bring me some back. Glad you are having a wonderful time, and remember, despite the annoying hassle of street traders everytime you take a tut-tut or whatever you are putting food into his families mouth - as Mark Tully said you don't have to cope with the poverty, the poor do. Keep enjoying, I must go back soon.
Posted on: Jul 28, 2007
trishlittmann says:
This is what I imagined it would be like. Think India has to be on my list...a magical place
Posted on: Jul 19, 2007
hurleyc2007 says:
cliffhanger or what...? The guest house looks really beautiful, just the kind of place that I imagine when I think of India... well did before I went there :).
Where to next?
Posted on: Jul 19, 2007
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Main Bazar, Pushkar
Main Bazar, Pushkar
The Dimond Guest House
The Dimond Guest House
Pushkar - Streets after Moonsoon
Pushkar - Streets after Moonsoon
Pushkar
photo by: Stevie_Wes