Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Travelling-India Pushkar

It seems that from now on i ll be writting in english.Greek is a great language but unfortunatelly not wide spokenAnd also many of my friends from around world are complaining that they cant understand what i m writting.Google translation does its best ,but is still far away from a decent translation.So... here i go,bloging in english, and ..making  more spell mistakes than i did in greek ....oh well!!!!!

I thought of continuing the "report" on India travel, so today i ll tell you about Pushkar.

From Rishikesh , (actually from  Haridwar)(i might tell you another time about Rishikesh) we took the train to Ajmer.Total time about 17 hours  if i remember well. The first part, till N.Delhi was ok, and i could even say that we enjoyed it.There were about 5 or 6 small mouses running between our feet and our laggage , so there was something to do to spent our time , since watching the view from the windows is almost impossible.Indian trains have a protecting film on the glass of their windows because of the strong sun, but this results in a strange yellow light inside the train that makes you want to sleep.In Delhi ,at around midnight,we had to change wagon ,and there was a big mess , a mistake with bed numbers that caused us to "sleep" with our backpack on us ,in order to keep them safe, since there were reports  of thefts during this trip.

Finally early in the morning we arrived in Ajmer.And from there is a 20 min way to Pushkar with a taxi.Now ,Pushkar is kind like Pokhara in Nepal for us. A chance to relax a bit, though there would be also  a lot of buys to be done.But Pushkar is a quiet place.And the rythms there are very different than in other cities. Vehicles are not allowed in the heart of the city, though this is a bit far from true.But still is relativly quite.

Pushkar is in Rajasthan,somewhere  in the northwest  part of India and is in the desert.Is famus for the camel fair that goes on every year but thats not a good time to be there, since there are about 200.000 visitors from around india and 50000 camels and cattle,so you almost cant find a place to sleep !

Pushkar is built around a very small lake that is considered  sacred.According to Padam Puran, the Hindu religious text, Lord Brahma was in search of suitable place for a Vedic yagna( a ritual of sacrifice  derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the Devas or to attain certain wishes ). While contemplating, a lotus fell down from his hand on the earth and water spurted from three places one of them was Pushkar . The whole city of Pushkar is a Holy place and one of the places to visit for the Hindus pilgrimers.They all want to come  and bath in the sacred waters of lake Pushkar.There is also one of the few Brahma temples.

There is wonderfull architecture style in the 400 temples, but also in the rest of the buildings.Actually the place reminds a lot the Greek islands in Cyclades.The dryed hills around city, the white and blue buildings touching the water of the lake,was a familiar scene to my eyes.

It is  place you want to visit again and again , and like me there were again a lot of people  that  were in Pushkar last year .For us was a chance to see some local friends ,like Veeru and Vimi that have a small shop and paint fairies and gnoms and anything you want on T shirts.It was also a good chance to see Babulan, the owner of the hotel where we stayed ,we used to call him "Don"cause he looked like some kind of a mafia big boss, but friendly and smilling, and also Berut, friend of Babulan , a brilliand guy that all the time fought with Babu (both were about 60  years old and arguing all the time!!!)

The best part of day was during sunset.At the bathing ghat in front of our hotel there was a gathering of people every evening, and with the sound of drums they were celebrating the sunset.People were dancing,playing with fire ,playing music ,while the sun was hiding behind the hills .It was a very nice atmosphere created by locals and turists.

At the same ghat during the day,pilgrimers were coming to make their "puja's" ,their prayers and offers to the gods.So this was the best spot for the brahmans (the priests) to play their game.They were waiting all day there, and the moment a turist or a hindu pilgrimer was arriving they were aproaching him/her with a small flower and start telling  that they will perform the puja for him/her only for a small fee of 100,200,300, 500,1000 rupies(depents on how rich the turist looked like)You have to know that the money , a worker earns per day, is about 60 to 100 rupies.As you see the priest  wants for 5-10 min 10 or 100 times more the basic salary.Not bad at all.!!!And the worst is that these priests sometimes  become especially pushy and aggressive in case you deny.We didnt have any troubles with them cause from the first moment, they got the hint in they way we looked at them,so they never bothered with us again.In stead we asked a friend brahman friend(that he has another kind of job ,not priest) to perform a puja for us.

As i said, Pushkar is very close to the Tar desert so it offers many camel safaris ,means you can rent camels and a guide and spent some time in the desert which i guess it would be cool ,but unfortunatelly we didnt have the time to do it.Maybe next time.

The city is a Holy place ,so there are some restrictions ,that means , you cant find any alcohol,no meat or eggs to eat,and also no expressions of affection allowed.So here you can find really vegeterian dogs !!Actually i ve seen many of them holding a fish in their mouth.It seems it is the only source of meat they can find .

The lake though it has a very small size, is unbelliavable full with life,means big fish, many birds,and other water creatures.But this year there were also many dead fishes near a small beach. Locals told me that the amounts of water are less every year,so i guess that oxygen in the water becomes also less.

Like in all indian cities you will see many animals going around in the streets ,such as  cows of course, dogs ,goats and monkeys that will try to steal anything they can if they get the chance, though this year monkeys were deffenetly less than last year.

Pushkar is really a small oasis  for the traveler.Here you can relax from the noisy big cities ,and breath some clean air,and also is a good chance to detoxify your body from meat or alcohol.There are many small or big hotels and the people are very friendly.So if you happen to be in north India, Pushkar is  a place to visit.


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