Pushkar : a pearl of Rajasthan
January 1, 1970
by Florine Masquelier
In January, my friend and I went to Northern India on a two-week package. We booked this trip with TravelBird and flew with Etihad. I really like this airline company. However, that is not the topic of the day. We were 19 years old, and it was our first trip far away from home so we chose to do a more organized trip. We did New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, and PUSHKAR. Actually, I was surprised to discover this town. Well, I mean… pleasantly surprised of course! When we arrived, Pushkar seemed different from others cities we had previously visited. The small and beautiful city of Rajasthan attracts hundreds of tourists for the Hindu temples and for shopping.
Regent Resort Pushkar Fort Hotel
Our taxi took us to Regent Resort Pushkar Fort. Once again, I was surprised. I did not expect to stay in such a lovely place. A swimming pool, a big room, a big restaurant, a big garden. And… A few customers. Breakfast and dinner were included.
When we arrived, we were really lucky because a man who we met at the reception, suggested that we went on a motorbike tour with him. Maybe it could be seen as crazy to accept this offer, but, we did it! Maybe because we were looking for adventures… Not with this man of course! This local wanted to show us local life; real life Pushkar. Would you have refused to meet locals and discover places far from the tourists? We set off on a countrywide tour with no less than three people on the motorbike. We passed various small villages, saw children who were returning a long distance, by foot, from school. I found them brave. So young and so resourceful. We met women in the fields who collected beans, we shared with them some words, some looks, some smiles, and some beans. We did not regret having made this tour on a motorcycle.
PS: I think one of the craziest things I have seen in India was maybe the number of passengers on the motorcycles. 2, fine. 3, could be dangerous. 4, CRAZYYYYY.
What to do
We went to local market, a lively place with local handicrafts. There you can buy Tie-and-Dye Fabrics, Paintings, Finely Cut Precious Stones, Wood and Ivory Carving, Lacquer Work, Fine Block Printed Textiles, Enameled Jewellery and Pottery, Garments and rose products. So I did my shopping. I bought 4 or 5 pashminas (scarves). Yes, I know it is a lot… But I could not make any choice! And… More you buy, more you get a good price. Of course, it is really easy to negotiate in the streets. So I continued to buy others items. As you probably know, in India, it is not uncommon to walk alongside cows. Keep your eyes opens because monkeys are never far away from you either.
Ps: My biggest satisfaction was, without doubt, to find 10 henna cones for only 1€. I repeat, 1 EURO. In Europe, it is so expensive to buy henna. Yes, I love making henna.
Pps: Nope I could not close my suitcase.
Brahma Mandi temple
Also, we went to Brahma Mandi, a Hindu temple, close to the sacred Pushkar Lake. This temple is one of only a few dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India. We dropped our shoes in the street before going into the temple.
You should absolutely see Pushkar lake, sacred lake of the Hindus (cover photo).
We did the other temple, a temple more distant from the city center. I met lots of monkeys there. And no tourists. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name. Maybe with this photo, you will be able to help me.
Let me introduce you Ramon the camel. If you are also a big fan of camels, I recommend you ride a camel in the tiny desert town of Pushkar. It took 1 hour and was around 8€. We spend a good moment. Furthermore, every year Pushkar welcomes many tourists for Camels Fair.
I definitively recommend that you visit Pushkar and others cities in India. However, today I like traveling by myself without package tours or guides, but it is not always easy. The looks I get from people or the offensive words in the streets can sometimes be heavy. In India, during the days, most of the people were nice to us. People often photographed us. One of the best memories (I do not know THE best one), was in the Taj Mahal. Exploring one of the Seven World Wonders is always incredible, but this day, I felt as if I were a princess! I mean, I have never been photographed by more people.
What people said: “Can I take a photo of you”?
My answer: “Yes, of course!”
Maybe it seems a little bit strange, but guides explained to us that local people and some tourists (especially from China) are not used to seeing European blonde girls wearing the traditional clothes, called sarees. Okay, I can recognize that I did not choose the most discreet dress. But I love the clothes from India so much; jewelry, henna…
Guides told us to pay attention because it is possible that people ask us to take photos and takes advantage of it to steal us our valuables. Pay attention.
This is not the main point. The point that I want to approach is really to be careful. As I mentioned above, when you are a girl (especially a blonde girl), it is not always easy. For example, walking in the streets during the night it is not recommended. I knew that but I have tried. Not because it would not be wise but because I do not think this is fair that women do not have the right to walk at whatever time they wish, just to be free. We slept in four different hotels. In each, people tried to open our room door during the night. Believe me, I did not sleep a lot. The worst thing was in Pushkar, in the hotel. We ate in a restaurant and I put the key of our room on the table with the number visible. Do not ask me why I did not pay attention. When the waiter came to table, I saw that his look turned to the key. Our room was at the end of the garden, far from everything and people. Later, when we returned to the room, the waiter waited for us in front of the door. My friend opened the door and he tried to enter inside. He told us:” I am coming”. I answered: “Nope, you are not coming, get out!”. We were lucky because he did not insist and finally left. It could be worse but that was not the case. However, I can’t forget this moment. Because we were two, and the man did not insist. But I just imagine if I had been alone. What would have happened then?
Pushkar is the ideal place for shopping, discovering many temples or meet some camels. I hope you will enjoy this lovely town!