Pushkar

PUSHKAR TO JAIPUR

We left Pushkar and rode 100 miles northeast to Jaipur, “The Pink City”.

320.jpg
Whenever we stopped for gas, a small crowd always formed around Scott. I don’t think a lot of New Zealanders frequent these gas stations.

Whenever we stopped for gas, a small crowd always formed around Scott. I don’t think a lot of New Zealanders frequent these gas stations.

Red eyes, full hearts, can’t drink the water.

Red eyes, full hearts, can’t drink the water.

Pit stop.

Pit stop.

Arriving in Jaipur.

Arriving in Jaipur.

326.jpg

Hawa Mahal, built in 1779.

It was built for Rajput women (a social class that adopted the custom of “purdah”, the practice of female seclusion). The women were not allowed to appear in public places but could hang out in the fort be able to watch the royal processions and see what’s going on in the city from the windows and small balconies. It was said to give the women a sense of freedom, without appearing in public.

327.jpg

The city was painted pink in 1876 for the arrival of the Price of Wales, who later became the Emperor of India.

I think it’s actually more of a “terra cotta” but what a welcome.

PUSHKAR, INDIA

Pushkar is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs (along with being a major destination for the Holi Festival) and is also well known for the Pushkar Camel Fair which brings over 50,000 camels from distant places to be bought and sold.

Bordering the desert, it’s a dusty place and has a holier vibe than anywhere else I visited in India with it’s temples around every corner, ghats for pilgrims to bathe in and the sacred Pushkar Lake glistening beneath the hills.

305.jpg
291.jpg
Monkey meet-up

Monkey meet-up

288.jpg
287.jpg
Scott, blending right in.

Scott, blending right in.

Town gossips.

Town gossips.

312.jpg
316.jpg
311.jpg
317.jpg
301.jpg
CVS

CVS

313.jpg
314.jpg
318.jpg
315.jpg

My favorite moments from Pushkar include:

  • emerging from the darkness of our hostel room after 12 hours of throwing up to be greeted by hordes of stoned Israeli’s, covered in rainbow paint

  • hearing a vehicle approaching from behind and turning around to see a giant camel cart being driven by a 7 year old

  • the bull and monkey duo hanging out near our hostel

  • discussing app development and startup ideas with Kapil and Sunil, 2 young students from Jaipur we shared momos and fried rice with at the local Tibetan Restaurant

  • realizing an elaborate, multi-person effort to get us to pay to put flowers in Pushkar Lake was pretty much just a well organized sales funnel

  • thinking that this dusty little town was cited in the Mahabharata (a 2000 year old text that I read in Asian Studies class in high school) as the oldest religious hub in India… and here I was rolling through it’s purple stained alleyways on the back of a motorcycle in 2018.

HOLI IN PUSHKAR

170 miles later, we rolled up in Pushkar — just in time for Holi.

But then, a few hours later, Scott and I both fell deathly ill.

Like, yacking in an alley way… can’t eat for 24 hours kind of sick.

It hit me first and then Scott soon after. I think some “bottled” water we bought on the road was the culprit. It was rough.

So unfortunately, the closest I got to Holi was seeing mini-parades of people heading to the center of town from the hostel window while I took small sips of ginger ale. From the thumping techno I could hear echoing from the main square, it sounded like it was quite the dance party. Though I’m still not sure what trance music has to do with Hinduism.

But 24 hours later we were both fully recovered and ventured out to see the aftermath — it looked like a purple powder bomb went off — and we got a solid recap from 2 lovely Indian students from Jaipur who joined us for momos at a Tibetan Restaurant.

holi-pushkar.jpg
View from the hostel.

View from the hostel.

277.jpg
pushkar-holi.jpg
after-holi-pushkar-india.jpg
282.jpg
280.jpg
Post-festival street clean up.

Post-festival street clean up.

So, that was a bummer — but these things happen, especially while backpacking in India.

But I will experience you one day, Holi.

One day.

UDAIPUR TO PUSHKAR VIA MOTORCYCLE

While we were on a boat cruise in Udaipur, we met a nice Australian fellow who said that Pushkar (a town bordering the Thar Desert) would be a great place to celebrate Holi, an important Hindu festival that was coming up.

So we mapped out a trip, rented a Royal-Enfield motorcycle and rode 170 miles to Pushkar.

271.jpg
IMG_20180301_183310_600.jpg
Shout out to my Auntie Donna for giving me the scarf Scott’s wearing as a face mask a few Christmases ago. It really completed the look. And protected his lungs.

Shout out to my Auntie Donna for giving me the scarf Scott’s wearing as a face mask a few Christmases ago. It really completed the look. And protected his lungs.

Uber pool

Uber pool

Gas pit stop.

Gas pit stop.

265.jpg
I think these decorated cargo trucks were my favorite things in India. They’re everywhere on the highways and they’re decorated with the enthusiasm of a 7th graders locker. From what I learned, they’re owned by families and are decorated so beautifully because they ensure the entire family’s livelihood. So, the owners decorate them with “jewelry”  kind of like the way you would adorn your wife  for all of her hard work. These are the trucks where you would see the “HORN OK PLEASE” written, as referenced  here , too.

I think these decorated cargo trucks were my favorite things in India. They’re everywhere on the highways and they’re decorated with the enthusiasm of a 7th graders locker. From what I learned, they’re owned by families and are decorated so beautifully because they ensure the entire family’s livelihood. So, the owners decorate them with “jewelry” kind of like the way you would adorn your wife for all of her hard work. These are the trucks where you would see the “HORN OK PLEASE” written, as referenced here, too.

Curious on-lookers.

Curious on-lookers.

269.jpg
Fellow commuters.

Fellow commuters.

260.jpg
Jay walkers.

Jay walkers.

258.jpg
All about the accessories.

All about the accessories.

I had never been on a motorcycle before (only scooters) so I sort of accepted my death prior to hopping on the back (“It’ll be unfortunate, but what a way to go”) but we arrived in Pushkar safe and sound and only almost hit a cow once. Okay, twice.