Day #9: Little rainy Pushkar
Jess and I were super excited to visit the small town of Pushkar. It is located 10 km from Ajmer and it takes around half an hour to get there by bus for the ridiculous amount of 20 rupees. Pushkar is beautifully built around a lake and it's surrounded by green hills. This town is famous for being a pilgrimage location for Hindus (a bit like Varanasi but in smaller size). Hundreds of temples can be found across and around this village. My first observation was the amount of cows laying down in the middle of the streets like they made part of the decor. This is a symbol of how religious Pushkar is.
Usually, this is a very calm and peaceful town where we expected to be able to rest from the crowds. However, we arrived on the last day of a main Hindu festival dedicated to Ganesh, God of the good fortune. This meant hindus from all around Pushkar and Rajasthan came with their families so they could lay down their Ganesh statue at the shores of the holy lake and wash their souls. The lake is surrounded by 52 different “Ghats” or entrances. Each one of them is associated to a specific God. The most famous Ghat is "Brahma Ghat” where the story tells Brahma, God of all creations, was seen taking a bath. The entire river shore is only visible and accessible through the several big open doors taking people to the ghats. Once past those doors, everyone has to take out their shoes and act with due respect to each other. This is a place of worship and peace. No photos are allowed. We could also see many Brahmins walking around and praying to their five legged cow. Puffed rice and flowers were offered again and again to honour their Gods. We arrived on one of the busiest weeks of the year. This made me think how deeply religion is rooted in the daily life of common indians.
The two days we stayed in Pushkar were very rainy. We decided to take advantage of this situation to rest, launch our Instagram account and begin to work on our website. It was so good to stop for a while. We were staying at a modest guest house called Moonlight Hotel. Their service was warm and food was good. We thought the 300 rupees for a double bedroom was amazingly fair-priced.
Besides visiting Pushkar, we went for a 2-hour trekking to visit the Savitri Mata temple. We had to climb 950 steps to reach the top of the hill where it was located. Some of the steps were 60 cm high. I felt Jess had a hard time. She had to stop a few times before continuing to climb these stairs to heaven. I was very impressed with all the small old indian ladies climbing the stairs with the help of their arms, always smiling and chanting a few words on the way to Savitri Mata, wife of Brahma and Goddess of intellect, art and creativity. Reaching the top, everyone was stopped by groups of monkeys trying to steal anything they could eat. People bringing food offerings, like puffed rice, were their favourite target. Once at the temple, some people would rest, others worship Savatri Mata, chant and dance. The day was cloudy but the view was still beautiful. It was worth to share this climb with the locals and see how do they honour their Gods. We were proud and ready to leave Pushkar.
Before we got the chance to pick our backpacks and say goodbye to Pushkar, we met a man know by the name of “Magic Pinch”. This intriguing man seduced us to taste his special milk-free and black-tea-free chai. Something rare in India and I decided to explore this on a separate blogpost about chai. This brahmin wasn’t interested in living from praying and started his own business of chai. We were impressed by his sensibility and understanding of how his masala tea was so much healthier than the normal one in India. I got even more impressed when he shared his creativity by making 7 different teas out of the same tea base using only one small pinch of the magic pinch tea. The seven teas were all made under an impressive timing of 3 minutes. I loved this random experience where we were served a delicious tea tasting. His english was perfect and he knew how to connect with people no mater where they were from. I was happy to share time with him and learn how this modest and small tea maker was already selling his tea in the UK through someone he met just like us. I could sense a strength and passion coming from his heart and I knew he had found a bit of himself in the “Magic Pinch”. Everyone should find this.
We left the town inspired on a crowded bus where I had to standup for the entire ride of 30 minutes. Next stop Udaipur!