This is great. We’re almost caught up but it is still “yesterday we arrived at” etc.
Yesterday we drove from Ranakpur, backtracking part way towards Jodhpur and then headed East to Pushkar, a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town where devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lifetime. The town curls around a holy lake which is also surrounded by 52 bathing ghats where the pilgrims bathe in the sacred waters. We arrived around 3:00 pm, found a nice hotel and decided to relax and update the blog with the plan being to sleep in and tour around the sacred waters of Pushkar today!! Our first stop was to take the ropeway to the hilltop Saraswati Mata Temple. This is a very small temple with some resident Southern plains grey langurs and fantastic views of the edge of the Western Desert Plains and to the East the Aravalli mountains. Arriving back to the base safely, we headed over to town and made our way to the lakes edge just in time to be de-shoed, sat down at the lakes edge by a fly by night guru and blessed through a series of chants, hand washing, more chants, throw a flower into the water, more chants, hold a coconut and chant and finally get a red bindi smudge on our forehead before saying goodbye to 1,000 rupees that will definitely go to the local heritage fund and help save all the starving children and teach everyone to read and the bindi combined with the red cotton string wrapped around our hand will fend off any further gurus wanting to bless us and ask for money. We were so blessed to experience this. All kidding aside it was a serious ceremony meant to bring good karma to us and our loved ones and also grant us a wish. It was actually pretty cool and we weren’t bothered by anyone the rest of the day….except of course once we left the lake side.
We stayed at the Puskar Fort Hotel, a very nice property a few km’s from town because (a) they serve alcohol as it is not allowed in Pushkar proper and (b) it is a really nice quiet resort for a very decent price. Just outside of the rear hotel gates is a Kalbeliya village, known as gypsies in the lower caste system they live in make shift tents, tend to their cattle and camels and live a semi nomadic desert existence. The Bopa are another group in the area and are known for their music and fire dance shows.