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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 24: At last, some peace and quiet!

INDIA | Thursday, 29 November 2007 | Views [601]

Pushkar, Rajasthan

Pushkar, Rajasthan

Thursday 29th November

Pushkar is a pretty small town, reminding me in some ways of Dharamsala, but with less to see and do. Both towns have a considerable amount of tourists, with Pushkar possibly more heavy on the number of hippies floating about. I felt like an odd man out because my 'western' attire contrasted with the free-flowing cotton pants and dreadlocks of my hippy brothers and sisters. Not that I'm in anyway tempted to trade in my North Face and Adidas for a kaftan and more facial hair. In a way, I was the outsider in this town, going against the grain, sticking a finger up to hippydom in all its hairiness!

Pushkar is like one big shopping arcade (albeit with plenty of stray cows walking through it) and caters for every hippy need. It also has some decent restaurants and cafes which play Indian-inspired chill-out music, and the food is pretty good. It made a pleasant change to go to a restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere and relax, instead of just going to grab some food and leave.

Kristina and I paid a quick visit to the Brahmin temple, and at the foot of the stairs to which we were given yet another flower and asked for a donation, but we were wise to them this time and told them we wouldn't be handing over any money. It was obvious that whatever donations the temple was receiving didn't go towards the upkeep of the area: it was infested with wasps and generally dirty. I am constantly bemused as to why these places aren't maintained better, perhaps people have a different idea of what is really important when they go to worship at these temples. I really don't know.

The highlight of my stay in Pushkar was the 45 minutes walk up to the summit of a nearby hill, on top of which was yet another temple and the ubiquitous sellers of bottled drinks and snacks. The guide book suggested walking up to see the sunset, and it was the best advice it had given about the entire place. The view of Pushkar was impressive, looking a lot better from a distance than up close. However, once we got to the other side, we could look out onto the desert as the sun set, and with only the occasional muffled sound of music and people shouting in the distance. The contrast with the hustle and bustle of the town was so good, a really welcome change. I thought how much more beautiful it was to look out onto an almost entirely natural landscape than onto the town below.

I think I am going to appreciate quieter places on this trip than the bigger towns or cities. Nature has the capacity to make a much greater impact than anything man made, even the Taj Mahal. My last impression of Pushkar (or, at least, the area around it) was much more pleasant than the encounter with the phoney priest on my arrival in the town the previous day. I guess that was something to be grateful for.

Tags: Sightseeing


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