Land of Holy and Hippies

We are currently in the land of Holy and Hippies, also known as Pushkar. Pushkar is a desert town known for the Holy Lake where Hindu’s come from all over the world to bath in it’s waters as a means of purification. The lake is one of four main pilgrimage sites in Hinduism that draws thousands of Hindu’s each year to take part in this ritual. Pushkar is also the location of the first and few Brahma Temples in the world. It’s also known for it’s huge camel fair and festivities that take place in October and November. It is hard to walk around the town without seeing a camel.

In addition to the Holy, the town is also a place filled with hippies from all over the world. Some come seeking spirituality, some drugs, some yoga, some the experience, and some a combination of everything there of. So far both of us have really enjoyed the town’s laid back vibe, diversity, and amazing weather (it’s sunny and hot!).

Everywhere you look there are stalls selling clothing that caters to the hippie styles of Westerners dressed with lots of layers, dreads, and jewelry. The clothing is very interesting but it is also kind of funny to me because you won’t see an Indian wear the styles sold in the stores, but all around the visitors are decked out with hippie chic. If your style is hippie chic THIS is the place to shop! In fact, if you wanted to run a little stall at a music festival back in the states come here to load up on your merchandise.

Walking through the streets feels like an amalgamation of a music festival, spiritual retreat, and tourist destination. I’ve walked through the main market bordering the Holy lake many times already on my way to and from various eateries and sights and each time I pass through I notice new shops, goods to be sold, food, and small cafes and food stalls tucked away into alleys and courtyards. Of course the town wouldn’t be India without the neighborhood cow. In the photos below you will see the view from the cafe where we had the best coffee we’ve sampled in India so far, Honeydew Cafe, a hole in the wall where a delicious pot of Italian coffee was 50 rupees-just look for the cow.

After doing the puja (prayer) at the Holy lake, wandering the streets, and doing some window shopping we had a good night’s sleep and awoke before sunrise to climb the stairs to the Saviriti Temple overlooking the town to watch the sunrise. It was definitely chilly before dawn but in time the weather warmed up. On our way back down we stopped at a roof top cafe and enjoyed an espresso and cinnamon roll. The 20-min wait for the espresso (the power went out, a usual occurrence) was worth it.

At the end of the day we went for a camel ride. It was supposed to be through the desert, but in India you take what you get-half of the “ride” was on the main highway into town where we looked down on the cars and eye level with the bus passengers and trucks passing by, the other half was on the side of the dried up concrete canal system. But nonetheless it was enjoyable and we did see quite a few peacocks, monkeys, and a nice sunset. I didn’t realize how tall and goofy looking camels are. They are really interesting creatures and have beautiful eyelashes.

I could definitely spend more time here. And we just missed the Pushkar Marathon as we arrived the day after!

-Alison

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