Pushkar, Rajasthan: The Holy City

I was travelling in India since less than a week when I went to Pushkar, the only city where there is a cult of Brahma, the first god of the Hindu trinity. In Sanskrit, Pushkar means blue lotus flower and Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna, i.e. a worship. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar. It is said that more than 2,000 people come in Pushkar every day to pray.

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To reach my destination, I first took a sleeper bus from Agra to Ajmer: that was quite an experience! This is well known that the roads in India are not in a very good condition and when I took the bus, I fully realize how bad it was. The bumps on the road kept me awake the whole night and I was jumping to the ceiling from time to time. But this is definitely the cheapest way to travel in India even though it’s also the most tiring one. Besides, my spot in the bus was taken when I came in so I had to fit in the smallest sleeping place I’ve ever seen, my legs were almost touching the driver but that’s part of the adventure. After 7 or 8 hours, I arrived in Ajmer. There, I still needed to take another bus to Pushkar which took around 2 hours. This bus was definitely the scariest bus I took during my whole trip. Pushkar is located in the mountains so the combination of narrow roads, curves, high speed and traffic made it quite dangerous but don’t worry the driver had everything under control of course!

A rickshaw and a boy in the streets

Intense reflexion in front of the temple

After leaving my backpack at the Akash Hotel (higly recommended!), I started my exploration of Pushkar. The first impression I had about this city is the relaxing atmosphere that surrounds you when you are deambulating in the very colorful markets and wandering around the beautiful lake. Even though there was a lot of tourists when I was there, on the contrary of Delhi or Agra, you don’t have this suffocating feeling. Pushkar is one of these places where you have the impression that time is freezing. It’s a small city so it’s very easy to walk everywhere. So now you could ask yourself why did I entitle this article the Holy City and that’s a reasonable question. In Pushkar, there is a temple dedicated to Brahma as I mentioned before, this is the most famous one. But there is also an incredible number of temple all around. And most importantly the ghats, it’s a serie of steps going down to the Pushkar lake which is considered a holy place for bath ceremony every day and especially in the morning.

At the end of my first day in Pushkar, I walked on the other side of the lake to see the sunset on the ghats and the city. At that time of my trip, my shoes were really in a bad state so as it’s often happening in India, somebody came out of nowhere and told me he could repair them in less than 30 minutes. It cost me less than a dollar and my shoes were almost in a brand-new state! On the second day, I woke up early because I wanted to see the bathing rituals in the lake at sunrise. So, I went again on the other side of the lake and observe this religious ritual which gives the city this very special atmosphere. A very funny thing happened to me at that time, when I was sitting on the ghat, a guy came sit next to me telling me he was broadcasting live with his phone. So, basically, he wanted me to be on the video with him to bring him more likes as I was French. That was quite a surrealistic and unexpected situation! But I accepted and had a very nice discussion with this guy about Pushkar.

A pashmina shop at the end of the alley   img_5715   Through the temple door

I left Pushkar on the morning of third day there. I was really sad to leave this quiet and peaceful city where I had a very good rest and a wonderful insight of the religious Hindu life. But at the same time, I was excited to go discover the vibrant and noisy Pink City that is Jaipur which was my next destination.

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