Every town has an aura of its own. A personality. A “Sthala Purana”, as Raja Rao says in his novel ‘Kanthapura’. Each place has a legend, a story or a myth attached to it. And one such town I recently came across is Pushkar.
This was the second time in my life that I stepped on the land of Rajasthan. And this time it was with my first cousin Mita, my friend Jammu & precious Kanwar, or as I call him, Monkaa boy or Chinka boy (he looks like one ;))
The town as per one of my knowns, Harsh Agarwal could be synonymous to religion, ‘Bhakti’, traditions & hashish. If you ask him why? He would say, “stay here for some days, follow my routine, and you’ll get your answer.”
We used to wake up early in the morning and walk towards the mela ground & the cattle's stable each day. It was as if, you have time traveled to the Mughal era! The smoky smell of burnt wood mixed with ganja would tingle your nostrils. You can see camels, horses, cows, being tied up at their stable. The remains of the campfires which were lit by the locals & the nomads to kill the cold at night would still be there and amidst of it all the constant grunting of the camels, & neigh of the horses echoed through the desert.
The Pushkar Mela is famous for its massive herd of camels & the best time to visit the stables is early morning when the camels are being ready for the day. Once we were done with clicking pictures, we headed towards the ghats to see the various tribes that come here each year for the famous sanan at the ghats.
You know? This is the only place where a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma is situated. Luckily, as we were there during the time of Pushkar Mela which is held in the month of Karthik (as per Hindu calendar), I could be a witness to the magnificent Maha Aarti which is performed by the priests of the temple on one of the ghats near the Holy Lake.
The whole Aarti scene is enchanting. You can feel the strong spiritual vibes all over the place as you hear the tunes dedicated to Lord Brahma being chanted around the ghats & the temple priests performing the rituals. If you are lucky, you might even find a few Naga Babas.
Once you cross ghats, the market and walk towards the Mela ground, you witness an intense amalgamation of culture, celebrations & chaos. There are stalls selling the perfect Daal-Baati-Churma, poha, Pani Patashe & kulad chai. There are huge, dazzling, colorful swings where everyone is having the time of their lives. There are stalls showcasing traditional Rajasthani clothes and accessories. Everybody is having a gala time.
It was a town where diversity is celebrated every day near the ghats or the market surrounding the ghats. A town where you can sit or stand at peace & stare at the setting or the rising sun & its reflection in the lake for an interminable period of time.