Another early morning, we left at 5am.
I’m shattered now and starting to feel a bit ill.
The train station was a short tuk tuk ride away. We arrived in the dark and made it onto our train. This time we had assigned seat numbers.
6 people in a crowded small pod. It was really uncomfortable.
The train left at 6.15am for the 7 hour ride to Ajmer. The train got really crowded. Some old woman tried to sit on me. Everyone was staring at us.
It was horrible, uncomfortable and boring. And we have still not completed the journey.
It was still a 30 minute drive further to Pushkar.
But at least without being surrounded by a million people.
The scenery has changed – now mountains! And loads of monkeys. Pushkar is a scared Hindu city.
The name Pushkar is derived from the words push – meaning flower and kar – meaning hand. Here, many flower offerings are made. The city acts as a pilgrimage site and all Hindus, if they can, should try to make a visit here during their lives.
The city is full of over 400 temples and the whole town is considered sacred. So much so that meat, eggs and alcohol are not allowed to be consumed in the city.
And a swimming pool! So a few hours of relaxing before exploring.
The town is centered around the main feature lake. This lake is said to have formed when Brahma dropped a lotus flower here. We walked down to the lake. It was so pretty, the sun setting in the background over the old buildings – scattered with small temples, arch ways, pretty windows and a lot of pigeons.
No photography is allowed near to the lake.
You have to be covered up – no shoulders, no knees and no shoes.
Unless you are making an offering, you have to stay a certain distance away from the scared water.
We sat down next to one of the ghats (ghat meaning steps leading down to water), there are 52 here, and watched as a ritual took place. We could take part if we wanted to. I decided not to. The priest gave everyone some flowers and some tikka. After chanting various words and praying, they threw the flowers into the water. You make a wish and if your wish comes from the heart, it should become true before the next November festival.
Away from the lake is the market. The market was busy, so many stalls selling lots of cool touristy things. As well as snacks, tea and cow food!
At the end of the market is the site of one of the world’s few temples to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma. No leather and no cameras are allowed inside. I was surprised at how small it was. The floors and walls were covered in tiles with various people’s names on. And the centre shrine was surrounded by worshippers.
For dinner we went to a pizza restaurant. I was expecting Indian pizza. But this was western pizza! And it was so good. I shared a vegetable one. And then a sweet one – with Nutella, ricotta and almonds. It was so tasty.
On the long 30 minute walk back to the hotel (no tuk tuks here!) I started to feel really sick. And all night I felt sick and barely slept. The annoying thing being I wasn’t sick and I don’t have a bad stomach.
Thursday 25 April 2013
Up (again!!) at 4.30am and still feeling sick.
But I don’t want to miss out. We got tuk tuks across town over to the hill that is topped with the Savitri temple. I’m not sure where the tuk tuks came from as they are not allowed in the town and I hadn’t seen any at all yesterday!
The walk was difficult. I still felt really ill. Ready to give up at every single one of the 620 steps up. But I wasn’t allowed to give up. And I got to the top just as the sun poked out from the surrounding mountains. The view was lovely.
All across the small town with the pretty buildings radiating out from the small lake. The orange ball of the sun rose up over the mountains lighting the town. So pretty. Slightly ruining the view was the troop of monkeys. I don’t like monkeys.
And these ones were desperately for biscuits. Hissing and spitting and running all over the place. A couple of babies too.
These monkeys are different to the ones in South East Asia. Here they are Langurs – a lot bigger, have black faces and really long tails. After a long rest at the top, all the way back down. And it felt long on the way down too!
Then we walked into town, back through the markets, back to the lakeside for some breakfast. I had porridge, hoping it would make me feel better. All around the lake was full of colour (colourful sarees) as people bathed in the waters.
Then the long walk back to the hotel. I was totally shattered. It was about 9.30am by the time we got back and I went straight to bed and straight to sleep. Only waking up later on the afternoon, feeling slightly better. So time for the pool!