Pushkar is famous both for the Pushkar Sarovar and the Brahma Temple. It is also well known for the Pushkar fare but I never got an opportunity to attend it till date. This was my third visit to Pushkar. It is a really special place for me because Chhavi and I have visited it together earlier. This time I was the guest of Pratap Palace in Ajmer. Pushkar and Ajmer close to each other. Once again no cameras are allowed within the Brahma Temple but cell phones are allowed. So all the pictures clicked in this post are from the Lumia 1020. This post is an attempt to show you Pushkar in pictures.
The Lake and the Temple
The custom says that you need to visit the lake first and then go to the temple. The idea is to wash your hands and feet in the lake, or better still take a dip and then go to the temple. In the evenings it is very pleasant to walk around the lake. The sunset from the lake is spectacular too.
The Brahma temple at Pushkar is one of the few temples of Lord Brahma in the world. There is an interesting story behind it. It is said that Lord Brahma wanted to do a yagna and he needed his wife, Goddess Saraswati to perform the ritual. She took a lot of time in getting ready and the auspices time for the pooja was getting over. So Lord Brahma married Gayatri to complete the poja. When Goddess Saraswati came down and saw another woman sitting behind Lord Brahma she cursed him saying no one would worship him anywhere except at Pushkar. And hence there are hardly any temples devoted to Lord Brahma across the world.
The mural if you notice depicts the same story. Photography is frowned upon within the temple premises. There are notices saying no photography but it is tolerated at the peripheries.
To go to the temple you have to go barefoot and you cannot carry anything else but your cell phone. Not sure if you can carry a wallet or not but ladies handbags are not allowed. There are stairs that lead to the temple. I have seen no accessible route.
The flowers are meant as an offering to the Lord Brahma. They give such a colorful look to the place.
Pushkar is a small city where you can walk easily around the temple and the lake area. What catches the eye are the colors. If you look at the lane, the lady in yellow lends such striking colors to it.
Then the Rajasthani Pagdis (turbans) for sale are colorful as well. When Chhavi and I were here I took her picture wearing one. Shopkeepers ask for a small amount of money to lend you the pagdis.
While walking to the sarovar (which means lake in Hindi) I saw not the Taj Mahal Palace with shutters and all! I wonder what the real taj Group would think of this?
Quite close to the temple I saw this gathering under a banyan tree. One day I guess I wish to go there and sit with them! I wonder what conversations would follow? Even after so many visits to both Pushkar and Ajmer, I guess I will happily go back again!
The recent Pushkar trip was the first daughter-mother trip. She has been with her father alone many times, the best their trek to Kareri Lake in Himachal Pradesh. The way the trip went, I think there are going to be many more daughter-mother trips. Here are some things I learned while traveling with her. It is my experience of traveling with a child in India.
Taking it Slow
Taking it Slow: When I travel alone I completely tire myself out. Seshadri and I last traveled together in 2009 before we adopted Chhavi. I have almost forgotten how it was when we used to travel together! With Chhavi I have to take it slow or else I would end up with a very cranky child. So after we landed at Pushkar we ate at the RTDC hotel itself. And then we went to sleep as we took the early morning Shatabdi. Now if I was traveling alone, the motto has always been- sleep be damned, that sunset is more important. When we woke up we headed to eat something. She took some milk and I had my tea and pakora. I would never do it if I was alone. I would have rushed to the lake to click the sunset. This way I have only one sunset but I think it was one of my least tiring trips.
What Works at Home … What works at home may not work on a trip. This was the biggest lesson I learned on the Pushkar trip. Chhavi likes to color and we encourage her. It is much better than watching TV all the time. She also likes to run around and play but sometimes we need quite time without TV and running around. And painting as she calls it always comes to our rescue. So I bought her a color set and a giant coloring book at Pushkar. Only she converted one of the white hotel towels into multi-colored hues! That was a big lesson for me. At home even if she splashes color over something accidentally either it can be cleaned or it is to be written off. The hotel staff was very nice but colors and white linen don’t mix well!
Pretending to Shout- When All I wanted was Sleep
When You Want to Take a Nap! In the Shatabdi Express train (which has chairs and not sleepers) all I was looking forward to was sleep. I do not take well to getting up early because I always find it impossible to sleep early. My daughter had other ideas. We had two seats, window and middle. I put her on the window seat thinking that I would wake up if she ever tried to cross and go out of her seat. She never budged from her seat but every three minutes like the Shrek’s donkey she would wake me up and ask- “mamma kaab aayega” (which would actually translate to- are we there yet)! I had it after 160 times. I made her sit down and within 15 seconds she was fast asleep. However, I was now wide awake. While returning I told her she is not to ask to ‘kaab aayega’. And surprisingly she didn’t. I still don’t know of an easy way of taking a nap while traveling with a child.
Simple Things: Traveling with Chhavi makes me appreciate the simple things. She will not judge the room and so what if the TV was small and not mounted on the wall. She was happy because she could watch her cartoons. The lawn behind the hotel was big and she didn’t care for anything else, she would go running around it and have a jolly good time. For her the market was a treasure trove and not just a few small by-lanes. The lake was where she spent most of her time. But while walking out of it for the last time even she said- “isko thoda saaf kyon nahin rakhte” (why can’t they keep it a little clean)? If I had not seen Pushkar through her eyes and pranks I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much!
Daughter Mother Trip
Traveling with a Child is Fun: In the end I can’t remember when I had so much fun on a trip! I am thinking of dragging both Chhavi and my niece Vasu on my next trip. I would get hassled with Chhavi but in the end she is an accommodating child on trips. She has this fascination with tissue papers (since we took her on our first trip to Rishikesh) kept on the table. She can play with it for hours without getting bored. Now did you ever noticed tissue papers in a restaurant? Well, neither did I! She surprises me as well. I told her that on the last day we were not going to do much as we were going back. I expected that she would protest. But she told me- tihk hai, nahin tou hamre train chut jaayege (that is fine or else we will miss our train). She likes to travel but in the end she is happy to go back as home is the familiar territory.
These impressions are based on just one solo daughter-mom trip. I am eagerly waiting to travel more with her and to update my wisdom list!
Pushkar Lake (Rajasthan, India) is a beauty, more so at the sunset. The sunset can be seen from the lake and everything around it becomes even more magical. However, the lake itself could be better maintained. As of now the ghats are dirty. The water too looks green and full of algae. Pushkar Lake is of religious significance to the Hindus so on the main ghats you can walk only barefoot.
Pushkar Sarovar, Rajasthan, India
I got serene blue skies in the late evening. The lake by now was a beautiful mirror. Sarovar means lake in Hindi and the banks are known as Ghats. The lake attracts a lot of tourists both pilgrims and people who are there just to enjoy its beauty. I belong to the second category. Many Hindu priests would ask you if you would like to perform a pooja (prayer) by the Pushkar Lake. I have always declined and the pandas (priests) have never troubled me. I have been to Pushkar Lake twice.
Puskhar Lake, Rajasthan, India
The lake’s origin are traced back to 4th century BC as it has been depicted on coins from that era. Otherwise according to the Hindu Mythology it is as old as creation itself. Pushkar has a temple devoted to Lord Brahma and this lake is also said to originate from his lotus petals that fell on the ground in a fight with Asuras (demons). The water of the lake is said to have healing properties.
Chhavi Playing at the Pushkar Lake at Sunset, Rajasthan, India
For me the trip was doubly special as it was the first daughter-mom trip! We had a great time and I am already planning the next trip with her! She hates posing for the camera and with great difficulty I manage to click a few decent pictures of her.
This post is part of Sky Watch Friday. Do check it out.
After buying the colors, Chhavi and I were walking towards the market. On the way she spotted the Narayan Cafe Pushkar. They had a big display at one of the walls and Chhavi spotted juices there. So, she wanted a glass of juice. I asked if they made it in mineral water and they assured me they did. So we sat down, I ordered a watermelon juice for Chhavi and a chai for myself. As Pushkar receives a lot of foreign tourists all the cafes I went to had wifi.
Narayan Restaurant and Cafe, Pushkar, Rajasthan
In a while our drinks came. After five sips Chhavi told me, “aab nahin peena” (I don’t want to drink anymore). As I was drinking tea I didn’t want to have an ice cold drink after it. So I requested the guy in the blue shirt above to keep the drink in his fridge. I would finish it once we came back. I think he and his father owned the cafe.
We went off to the lake and spent hours there, Chhavi running around and I running after her. By afternoon we both were really tired. We started walking back, looking for food.
We crossed Narayan Cafe again and we looked no further. We asked for a bottle of water and pasta for lunch. We also finished that watermelon juice between us. Chhavi was tired and hungry so she ate like a good baby. There are days when she can test the patience of a saint while you try to feed her. No such tantrums for this meal though. In fact she climbed in my lap, opened her mouth and ate all what I fed her. Stomach full, she went and sat on her own chair. Then she told me, “mamma ice cream chahiye” (mummy I want ice cream). While I finished off the pasta, her ice cream arrived. After three bites she told me again, “mamma aab nahin khana” (mamma I don’t want to eat anymore). I fed her a few more spoons and ate a few spoons myself.
Fast forward to the next day. I liked the tea at the cafe so I told Chhavi I wanted to have a cup of tea there. She told me she wanted a white cold drink. I asked for a Limca for her. The young boy in blue shirt told Chhavi then, “piti tou kuch nahin hai tou” (but you don’t drink anything really). Then he turned and told his friend who worked with him, “bhai isko ice cream kharid kar di, woh bhi na khaiye, kilana pada!” (her mom bought ice cream for her and she didn’t even eat that, she had to feed her).
So that was the reputation Chhavi earned in three visits at Narayan Cafe! And that cold drink, of course she didn’t finish it. As I don’t drink cola I had to let it go.