This place was quite different from all the other places that I visited in Rajasthan but also India as a whole. It was a very quiet, quaint and spiritual place, but not necessarily just for religious people. To me it seemed the perfect place for those alternative/hippy minded people, and a great place to have break from the chaos around the rest of the country or just life in general.
Now one of my favourite parts had to be the trek up to the temple on the hill. This does require a bit of effort as it sits at the top of a few hundred very uneven steps. And they are steep at times so bring good walking shoes with grip (trainers should be fine though). What is waiting at the top is amazing though and although I will try to describe it, seeing it in person is so much more.
One of the best times is by far sunrise, which may require you to wake up early (we started our journey at 5am). The steps took about 30-40mins (with a small 20min walk from the road) to climb but I would factor in at least an hour so you have time to catch your breath and appreciate the hike and sunrise without blacking out! If you’re not quite the athletic type it may be slightly longer again. I’m not saying don’t go, but as I remember I wish that I had left more time as the sun rose earlier than we expected so we had to run some of the way! At the top though is a small temple often with a solitary monk watching over/praying, the temple overlooking the slumbering town and countryside beneath. You aren’t allowed to talk inside but the open arches surrounding it give plenty of room to view the sunrise. Around the corner from the temple is a ledge were you can sit to watch the rise instead if you feel staying quiet or a temple isn’t for you.
Now I know I said I had to run some of the steps, but in the end the sun actually took a while to show itself, and after sitting on the ledge for 20 mins admiring the dawn we got up to go and get a cup of chia tea. I don’t know if this is always there but just like most places there was someone making a brew. This of course was when the sun decided to rise so we pelted it into the temple (shoes off) and watched in awe, cup in hand as the sun (a deep orange) rose over the mountains. It was amazing. I am not that religious/spiritual as previous said but this was definitely enough to make anyone feel something. It made me feel so at peace and blessed to witness such a simple part of nature and time.
I would suggest taking with you:
- Good grip/walking shoes
- A jacket or coat (before the sun’s up it can be very cold)
- Some money for the tea!
- Water for the walk
Wrapped around a small (holy) lake, the town is full of small winding streets with colourful buildings, shops and homes. Something you’ll definitely notice is the beautiful blues that majority of buildings are painted which at colour to the town no matter when or what the weather is. This is spiritual town and is significant to devout Hindu’s who are said to at least make the journey here once in their life. The lake was said to have formed when Brahma (a god) dropped a lotus flower, and the town is home to one of the few Brahma temple’s in the world. This explains why you may see a lot of religiously dressed Hindu’s or hear chants/prayers around the town. Yet it is a background hum that you probably wouldn’t notice unless you look for it. It feels almost like a background song you’d expect at a spa.
Pushkar is a great and balanced mix of tourist and locals, with a long bazaar stretching down the middle. I found this a great place to find jade, buying a few necklaces for myself, and the bartering wasn’t too difficult here either. Another thing that Pushkar may be known for is a magic milkshake, and all I will say is to be weary if you try this local cuisine. I personally didn’t try it and alcohol/drugs are band in this district. So although there are loop wholes and may be written on the internet as a must try I wouldn’t rush into anything. And that’s coming from my tour guide who’s been there many times with tourists from all countries…
So if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax Pushkar has a lot to offer. From temples, restaurants/café, markets/bazaars, I loved the atmosphere and it seemed the perfect traveller’s paradise. The only thing is that it is relatively far into Rajasthan and may take a while to get there. Saying that there are plenty of town’s to visit along the way. After all it is part of greatest Hindu Pilgrimages!