On to Pushkar to Take a Bath
If I knew only a little about the other places on our tour, I knew absolutely nothing about Puskar. Except that they host an annual camel fair, the largest in the world – an irrelevant fact given that the fair is held later in the year.
We soon learned that Pushkar is the second holiest place in India. Pushkar Lake is a place of pilgrimage because, after the Ganges, it is the most holy body of water for Hindus. The town is built around the holy lake and there are something like 50 ghats (entrances/stairways) that lead down into the water, where Hindus come to take a holy bath. A few miles away, the second holiest place for Muslims after Mecca is found. So there are lots of pilgrims from both religions roaming around, from all parts of the country and world.
Pushkar is also home to the only temple dedicated to the God Brahma. Brahma is worshipped as the creator of this world and is one of the primary Hindu Gods. We were told the tale about how Brahma ended up with only 1 temple in his name, in the whole world…something about curses being thrown back and forth.
Pilgrims flock here year round, and unfortunately so do foreigners who are into the drug scene. It’s a bit of a strange place. Alcohol and consuming meat is extremely forbidden in Pushkar, yet drugs seem to be quite available. I think that some hash or opium is used in some religious ceremonies and the junkies just come to take advantage of the availability. Anyway, it’s a tourist-oriented town – for both national and international visitors.
After a few days in Udaipur, where I felt we were in a bit of a bubble, I was happy to dive into the chaotic streets of Pushkar. It was intense….what I expected India to feel, sound and smell like. It is a small town that centers around the lake but I felt turned around a lot. We visited the Brahma temple, walked down to the lake for a sprinkling of holy water, walked around the markets and enjoyed some time relaxing by the pool of a nice hotel with a good view of the town below.
It was a quick stop, but one that I appreciated for some contrast.