After a month of being in the cold Northern mountains of India we decided to move into Rajasthan for a change of pace and a warmer climate. Pushkar was our first stop after Delhi. The bus journey was seven hours long and costed 800 rupiah ($12). It wouldn’t have been too bad, but unfortunately I got hit with the infamous Delhi belly an hour before leaving.
Pushkar is the home to Pushkar Lake and Brahma Temple, two very sacred Hindu sites. Citizens from all over the country come to pray at this lake and visit the temple. The history of Pushkar and Brahma, the god of creation, intertwines and continues to pull people in from all over the world.
You can walk around the lake to observe the rituals, but do be aware of the lake scam... As you walk around in Pushkar men will try to hand you flowers and take you down to the holy lake to bless you. They will sit you down and pretend they are working for charity, do not listen to them and do not give them your money. Too many people have been ripped off by these scammers. Look out for the monkeys too, a local was attacked by one as we passed by.
Pushkar’s markets are some of the best you’ll find in India so make room in your bag to buy some things for yourself or do as I did and just ship a box home! These markets are much less hectic and some of the cheapest you’ll find in India. You’ll be able to find anything from jewelery to purses to apparel and much much more. I spent a couple of days shopping around and playing the bartering game.
The best way to see the sunsets and the villages around the town is to rent a motorbike. You can find them for as little as 200 rupiah ($3) per day. Drive to a nearby mountain and climb up to the top to watch the sun slowly set over the horizon. The villages near to Pushkar depend on the flowers to pull in their monthly incomes. You can enjoy the expansive farms of roses, marigolds and other various types of flowers along the way. You’ll also notice the women carrying water buckets on their heads. Everyday the women of the villages walk up to five kilometers just to get water. It’s the little things in life that we take for granted...
DO NOT MISS THE BEST FRESH DELCIOUS FOOD AT CAFE NATURE’S BLESSINGS AND HONEY & SPICE. Honestly the best meal I’ve had since being away.
The locals are lovely. Many of them offering friendly chais in order to sit and talk with you for a few minutes out of their busy work days. Everyday I sat at Sonu Juice Shop, in the center of Pushkar, to enjoy a cold refreshing juice and glorious amounts of people watching. The owner sat and talked with me many times telling me about his life in Pushkar while the variety of colorful sarries passed by on the street.
If you visit during wedding season, October to February you’ll see multiple Punjabi weddings. Follow the sound of the drums and walk on in to check it out. They will most likely pull you in for some dancing and delcious food! These weddings last up to five days and can have up to 5,000 attendees. Many of the marriages are still arranged marriages in smaller places like Pushkar and now I have a better understanding of why they still depend on their families to choose a spouse for them. The Punjabi weddings are immaculate to say the least.
We visited Funky Monkey near Zostel almost every day. They had delicious Indian cuisine, breakfast and salads. The owner was very sweet and happy to see us each day. He gave me a handwritten note each time I would come in with a little mantra for the day. At night Funky Monkey transforms into either a sports bar or a place where you can enjoy a boogie on the dance floor! Their outdoor area is a perfect place to chill away from all the madness of Pushkar.
Things to do:
- Aloo Baba - Visit the Aloo Baba Temple. This Baba only eats potatoes and resides just outside of Pushkar. Feel free to drop in for a chai and a chat!
- Sunset - There are many mountains around Pushkar to climb for good views of the sunset.
- Markets - Shop til you drop!
- Brahma Temple
- Rent motorbikes to drive around the town and through to the surrounding villages.
- Visit the lake - Do not give any money to anyone!
- Crash a Punjabi wedding! They love having western visitors and you’ll most likely be pulled in for a good dance, some delicious food and lots of photos.
Where to eat:
- Honey & Spice - Unbelievably fresh food! Salads, healthy bowls, bakery, sandwiches and much more! Give the garlic peanut butter a try.
- Cafe Nature’s Blessings - The brother in law of Honey and Spice’s owner puts his own fresh twist on similar dishes. Big salads, delicious toasts, healthy and filling meals.
- Sonu Juice Shop - near the Falafel stands in the main town you will find Sonu Juice Stop. This is the best juice place in town! Great muesli bowls and refreshing juices. The owner is lovely as well.
- Honeydew Cafe - Great Lavazza Coffee and savory Indian dishes. Family owned and very quaint. Reasonable prices and lovely staff. You’ll find a lot of ex-pats chill out here!
- Funky Monkey - Near the Baba wall... Great atmosphere, sports bar, live music, dancing and great food! Big salads, unbelievable malai kofta and delicious ginger beer! Try the special chocolate balls.
- Falafel stands - It’s hit or miss with these stands. I steered clear of them, but my friends ate them everyday and loved every bite. The stand next to Pawan is meant to be the best.
- Restaurant at Zostel - Delicious parathas and Indian dishes. Lovely staff and great atmosphere!
Where to stay:
- Zostel - 400 rupiah ($6.50) per night - Great facilities, amazing staff, beautiful tours for sunset and fantastic rooftop restaurant. Bonfires on the roof, a pool and pool table downstairs.