It is said Brahma dropped a lotus flower on the earth and Pushkar floated to the surface. This town is a pilgrimage site based around a lake and one of the world's few Brahma temples. Consequently it is crammed full of pilgrims and hippies all trying to get that mystical experience assisted by plenty of bhang floating around!
Pushkar is away from the main cities and is surrounded by mountains making it for me, a really enjoyable place. Touring round the town we stopped at the temple to be shown how to make a prayer offering using red and yellow paint, rice, petals, a coconut and a special Pushkar bracelet. We were talked through the prayers and you should all know that I have now asked for good health etc for all my family and friends! (You can thank me later!). It seemed very magical performing the ritual by the lake - that is, until our prayer man started talking about money/donations. Oh well. Even religion needs money I guess! However, by wearing the ceremonial bracelet - proof of us having already taken part in the prayer ceremony and having already given money, it stopped the touts from pestering us further!
Our hotel had a lovely roof terrace which overlooked the town, silhoutted by the mountain ranges. In Middle Eastern/Indian style, extremely comfortable cushions were scattered across rhe floor. Waiters brought food upon demand, including an extremely nice egg plant curry. Mmm- very nice!
Pushkar is also a great place for silver, so I spent quite a lot of time haggling away for the perfect silver bracelet! - the joy of holidays!
On one of the mountains nearby there was a temple to the first wife of one of the many Gods. Being a glutton for punishment, we decided to trek up this mountain to watch the sunrise. Dutifully at 5.30am 5 fools met to walk in the dark towards the looming mountain. With chai in hand we started off on the first of many, many, many steps which would lead us to the summit. An hour later, with stops for gasps of oxygen and promises of future fitness (due to people running up past us) we reached the top just as the sun peaked out behind the mountain. We went into the temple where the priests were performing their morning rituals. Maybe it was an early morning grump, or maybe they just took offence to white women being there but when our leader suggested us joining in taking the fire etc the priests turned their backs on us and excluded us from the ritual! Quite amused we started laughing, which earned us a school teacher "ssh" from another priest. Oops!
To avoid further annoyance we wandered off to watch the sun climb it's path above the mountain. Enjoying the view we spent a lot of time taking photos, causing our leader to wander off outside the temple and also to further annoyance of the priests. Not to be deterred we stayed within the temple and noticed several monkeys now blocking the path back down the mountain. As we left to go and see them, the priests decided to let off a firecracker which coincided with us leaving the temple in fits of giggles due to surprise. Suspiciously our leader looked at us as if we were the ones which had set the cracker off and disturbed the peace. It took a lot of convincing otherwise.
The monkeys were swarming the path, enticed by people giving out food. Due to previous stories from within our group of monkey attacks we gave wide berth and slipped off down the hill, leaving the people to their fate as to when the food would run out! Towards the bottom of the hill we encountered an old woman bent over, grasping to the side of the path trying to pull herself up. She had only climbed 10 steps. We still wonder if she ever made it.
Due to the exercise we had earned pancake credit and therefore took ourselves at the early hour of 7.30 am for our reward. Slightly hysterical the nutella pancake was the best thing ever tasted and further enahnced by the environment. The cafe was run by the Doctor, a hippy Indian clearly high. The menu front page read "talking, joking, laughing, f***ing, enjoy" just about sums it up.
The rest of Pushkar was spent enjoying the shopping and chilling on the roof top terrace. What more could you ask from a place?