As soon as I stepped inside the gates of the Westin Puskhar Resort and Spa, I knew I was going to have a tranquil time! The resort is huge, green and away from the bustle of the city! I was invited to the resort as a travel blogger.
I was staying at the Royal Villa with its own plunge pool! The pool will feature in this post a little later! My room was huge, it was comfortable and I got some time to enjoy it too!
But let me start at the beginning. To reach the resort I took a Delhi Jaipur flight and then a 3 hours road transfer! So when I reached, the open lobby was a welcome sight! This year the monsoon has been one of the best in the region, Pushkar was greener than I ever remembered!
Check-in formalities were over soon, and as I was walking towards my villa, I spotted the high tea area. My day was already looking bright. I went to my room and quickly headed back to have my cup of tea. I had a free evenign to enjoy my room followed by the dinner!
The next day I got to experience the spa, rightfully called the Heavenly Spa! My signature treatment was bliss. They also let you choose a stone to focus on during the therapy, I picked up ‘gratitude’ as my theme! I thought after a good night’s sleep I was well rested but the pains and aches that got relieved during the spa session tell a different story!
While food in general was delicious, two food experiences at the Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa were outstanding! The first was their vegetarian Rajasthani Thai! I loved the bati and ker sangri!
And then there was the floating breakfast in my own plunge pool, it was a first for me! I loved the concept, I only had to be careful not to splash too much water in excitement as it would land in my tray! If you are staying at the royal villa, do try the floating breakfast!
Panorama is their rooftop restaurant with beautiful views all around. It opens only in the evening!
The resort has a tranquil vibe with water ponds and lots of trees! It can easily accommodate weddings and functions!
Overall I had a relaxing time at the beautiful property! And before I sign off, I was invited to the property as a travel blogger!
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!