Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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Where I stayed
After getting off the bus in Pushkar and elbowing our way past the pushy (ha) hostel touts shoving business cards practically down our throats, we actually saw a sign for our hostel! This was pretty miraculous and, for the first time, we walked confidently, together, in one direction. And then there were more streets, more cows, more urinals, and no more signs. Fortunately for us, for so so so many reasons, there is one main street in Pushkar. It's even too small for tuk-tuks. We walked past some more milky buildings with pastel doors and our side street led us right to the main bazaar
We kindly bullied the nice man for a cheaper, and only slightly smaller, room, and explored the rooftop view. The Hostel's name is no joke and we were, in fact, overlooking Pushkar Lake. According to legend, Brahma dropped a lotus blossom to earth and the lake emerged on the spot where it fell. Vishnu, one of Brahma's incarnations, supposedly bathed in the lake while disguised as a wild boar. The lake is considered one of the four dhams, or pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus. Dozens of white ghats, or bathing houses, surround the modest lake, and docks of staircases large and small led to the sacred waters from all around. One ghat was more recently renamed for Mahatma Gandhi after his ashes were scattered from the steps of the bathing house into the lake.
Some shimmering, bulbous domes cut through the skyline, but most of the crumbling, pastel buildings maintained a humble, boxy silhouette. "No Photography" signs were painted onto the walls of our rooftop and we were told that it was disrespectful to photograph pilgrims bathing in the lake, but that other photos of the scenery were permissible.
Other rules that are particular to Pushkar include the following:
2. No bare shoulders or otherwise indecent apparel
3. No hand-holding or public kissing (no PDA - sorry honeymooners)
There was still a bit of light out even after the sun had set so we decided to explore the market street below. I was on a mission for some new trousers, because my travel sewing kit could not stand up to the stressors of an Indian adventure and I was not-so-discreetly breaking rule #2. Embroidered textiles, jewelry, wood carvings, and slews of other beautiful things were on display in the shops below. We had dinner back at our hostel's rooftop restaurant, and began what was the first of many western-inspired 'safe' meals. For Erin, that was pasta, and Travis and I had some version of grilled-cheese with tomatoes.
That curry and special water from Jaipur was still putting up a fight and my flora was losing. All. Night. Long. Because I was unable to spare Erin and Travis, I will spare you, gentle reader.
We continued with a 'safe' breakfast, and I settled on a heaping plate of plain rice, Erin had her signature banana porridge and Travis decided to take it really easy with a Nutella and vanilla ice cream pancake
Some of the monkeys with the long tails ended up pretty much in our restaurant and the nice waiter boy was feeding them bananas. I gave a little laugh and attempted to curl further into my chair while maintaining a view of the creatures, like any college-educated kid who already had her rabies shots would do. Our heroes, on the other hand, needed to get that great shot. Admittedly, Erin has an eye for wildlife photos. The staff scared the monkeys from the rooftop and we planned out our day.
We figured it would make the most sense to reserve the room again, even though we planned on taking a night bus to Udaipur that evening. Having access to the beds, facilities, and just having a place to chill out was all I wanted that day. Travis was feeling healthy and the Temple on the Hill that overlooked the entire lake and city, only an hour from the base of the little mountain according to Lonely Planet, was calling to his inner scout. Erin and I took advantage of resting in the room for a bit. When Erin returned from checking out info at the bus station, we decided to shop and wander around the bazaar. I even found pants.
When Travis returned from his hike we had some rooftop lunch and decided to do a little walk around the lake to the Brahma temple. We were faced with a bit of a challenge when we came to a part of the road that was lined on either side by concrete walls and, to our delight, simply shimmering with water or sewage that was continuing to leak from some unknown source
The Brahma temple in Pushkar is one of only a handful in the world, so it was neat to be able to check it out. The shoe guard punk messed with us a bit, but we were able to give our flower offerings to the man in front of the altar and he gave us sugared nuts and seeds, which we then gave to the people begging outside the doors. The temple's upper balcony was a great place for a new view of the city and the woodcarving was nice and it seemed to have been recently painted, but there was nothing too notable about the rest of it
We went back to our hostel for dinner and another sunset and decided to stay the night because Travis wasn't feeling quite 100%. It was his turn to put up the good fight, or at least give us a show. Fortunately they let us push our bus reservations back one day, so we were forced to stay in the relaxing, peaceful place for a second full day. Of all the places for us to delay travel, Pushkar was probably the best.