This is the continuation of a photo essay documenting my travels through India! Grab a cup of chai and join me on my journey… don’t forget to visit the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, and Wagah while you’re here!
Welcome to Pushkar. As you can see below, the city of Pushkar, located in Rajasthan, lies next to a lake, Pushkar Lake to be exact. The lake itself is a sacred place for Hindus as it holds close association to Brahma, the creator. The holiest of temples dedicated to Brahma also lies in Pushkar and is an incredibly spiritual place. It is believed that a swim in the lake can cleanse both body and soul. While I merely grazed the waters with the tips of my fingers, I was enveloped by the sense of peace that surrounded those bathing in the lake; a feeling I will never forget.
The picture below shows the mountains surrounding Pushkar. If you look quite closely, atop the mountain farthest to the left, you can see the Savitri Temple, dedicated to the estranged wife of Brahma. My traveling partner and I decided to tackle the pilgrimage to the mountain top early in the morning. It was a beautiful trek, but unfortunately we hadn’t foreseen the sun rising so quickly and got caught without enough water as we reached the summit. The lack of hydration did motivated us to made a rather hasty descent and continue with our tour of Pushkar at ground level.
The contours of the lake are considered very holy and as a tourist it is difficult not to be approached under the auspices of being blessed before you step inside. And so it was that I, the tallest and whitest person within miles of the lake, was blessed, stamped with a bindi and granted a passport to Pushkar which included a nice donation to the family of the man performing the ceremony.
To be honest, I didn’t care if I was being scammed. I was in India and stopping a blessing (real or fake) was not an experience I was willing to forego. Once I received the green light to roam, I wandered into a group of woman who were seemingly just as curious about me as I was about them. Right away we started asking each other questions about family and culture, forming the universal bond that connects women around the world. It is a wonderful feeling and the best thing about travel to continually be reminded that despite location, culture, beliefs or status, people everywhere are just people.
We enjoyed a peaceful night in Pushkar. Downtown Pushkar resembles many cities in India, with market stalls lining the road selling shirts, pashminas and sweet or sour lassi. My favourite times were when I could hear the call of “chai! chai!”, beckoning me to sip on another cup of that spicy masala chai.
Our final adventure in Pushkar was a camel ride through the dunes!
I absolutely fell in love with my camel, who I later named Raj. Apparently I name all my camels Raj. I have no idea why, but this was one beautiful. He had me the first time he batted his ridiculously long eye-lashes: check these out!
As the sunset on our camel ride and our time in Pushkar, I will forever remember this stopover as one of the most peaceful places along our entire journey.