Strangers to Friends : Pushkar Mela

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“It is said that travelling brings you close to the person you are travelling with therefore this trip started with a group of strangers and ending up friends.”

The trip to “Pushkar Mela” was organised by a travel company called “EcoNomads”(https://www.economads.in/). I was picked up from the Jaipur with others and was taken to Ajmer via NH 48 covering a distance of 135 km. We reached our hotel by afternoon and taking a few hours of rest we headed towards Pushkar which is about 16 km from Ajmer. On reaching Pushkar the vibe of the atmosphere was full of life and colour.

About Pushkar Mela (Pushkar Fair), also known as Pushkar camel fair, is an annual multi-day livestock fair and cultural festival with unique exhibitions and events such as dances, tug of war, camel races and others. The fair is celebrated during the month of Kartik Purnima. Apart from the fair, an enormous amount of Hindu devotee does come to visit Pushkar lake to wash away their sins by taking bath in the holy lake and take the blessing from one of the rarest Brahma temples in the world. During the Mela (fair) you get to eyewitness vibrant urban life of Rajasthan and free-spirited people wearing a colourful and traditional dress, turbans, bangles etc.

To reach grounds of the Mela (fair) you walk by gullies (alleys) which are full of shops, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and cafes. These gullies are so crowded that sometimes you can even get lost but still it’s colourful, soothing and timeless. You will see shops of antiques, bangles, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, toys etc. Near the gate of Bharatpur Ghat of Pushkar Lake, there is a gully only with sweet shops I termed as sweet gully because at the entry of that gully only you will smell the aroma of sweetness in the air.

On reaching the grounds of the Mela, seeing the cattle fair for first time, two things came to my mind was bizarre and chaotic but in a good way after. Walking and roaming in the sand and activities happening around made me feel it is much bigger than what I expected. Selling and buying of animals (camel and horses), food stalls, different competitions and dances you get to see. You can also enjoy camel safari rides through the sand dunes and if you do in the evening you get to see a beautiful sunset.

Pushkar lake is one of the most sacred sites for Hindu pilgrimage and even considered equal status to the holy Ganga river, encircled by 500 temples and 52 ghats. According to Hindu Mythology, when Lord Brahma creator of the universe killed the demon Vajranabha Lotus petals from the hand of Lord Brahma fall and water spurted forming the sacred Pushkar Lake.

Spending evenings on the stairs of the Pushkar Lake is one of the beautiful and spiritual sites you will witness, music coming from all direction of prayer songs and bells from the temple, musical instruments played from the ghats, sadhus enchanting mantras and the aarti makes the surrounding energetic, pure and spiritual.

Visit this place in the evening during aarti time and spend some time by the ghats. Do remember not to walk by the ghats wearing shoes or chappals, else people or sadhus will shout at you for wearing.

Brahma Temple in Pushkar is one of the few and the major thriving temple of Lord Brahma, dedicated to the creator of the Universe. The vast entrance of the temples comes after the flight of long stairs and the architecture is full of canopy and pillars. once inside the temple, apart from the Brahma temple, there are small temples dedicated to other gods.

The temple remains closed between 1:30pm to 3pm. Photography from DSLR camera and the mobile camera is strictly prohibited if caught by the authorities you will be fined. You can keep your camera’s in the lockers of the flower shops near the temple and paying them by 100-150 rupees.

Savitri Temple is at the peak of the hill, it is a small temple and believe me on reaching the top you get to see the most mesmerising view of the whole Pushkar city (one should definitely come). There are two ways to reach the temple, one can either trek up to the hill trough stairs which is not hard and will take 45-50 minutes to reach or can take cable cars which takes 10 minutes to reach the temple.

The best time to go to the temple is early morning to see the sunrise behind the mountains. Don’t go in between 12pm to 2pm at that time temple remain closed.

Ajmer Sharif Dargah is one of the holiest and most sacred pilgrim places worshipped by devotees and followers irrespective of their religion, caste or faith. It is the resting place of a great Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti and is believed that person praying purely at Ajmer Dargah Sharif meets all his wishes.

On entering through the huge door called as Buland Darwaza you will see the crowd of people at the courtyard rushing towards a single room to worship and present an offering to the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti, carved out of marble and gold plating on top. I found peace and tranquillity at this place and felt connected to my spiritual self. Do visit this place and it’s about 15 km from Pushkar.

Don’t enter Dargah bare head, one should cover his/her head either by rumal or chunni and if you don’t have you can get from the shops outside the Dargah. As the Place has massively crowded with people be aware and cautions from pickpocketers.

For foodies, it’s a paradise you will find a range of roadside and rooftop cafes and restaurants serving Indian, Chinese, Israeli and Italian food from kachoris…samosas, malpua….raberi-jalebi, falafel, masala chai. Do try the delicious Rajasthani thali to experience the true flavour of Rajasthan.

After experiencing the chaos and madness of Pushkar Mela it was time to say goodbye and would like to thank EcoNomads (https://www.economads.in/)for organising such an amazing trip and opportunity to make new friends who at the start of this trip were strangers. I definitely recommend experiencing the Pushkar Mela once in life.

Strangers end up as Friends

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Surrounded by camel caravan a villager is preparing lunch and camel owners are chit-chating, who came from nearby villages of Rajasthan to Pushkar Mela to sell their camels

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

A colourful display of Different types and colours of Mala (string of beads) from the market of Pushkar Mela

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Cable cars to reach up to Savitri Temple and along to the right of it are the footsteps to trek up to Savitri Temple

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

View of the Pushkar city from the Savitri Temple

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

The entrance of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Hot and sweet Malpua

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Rajasthani Thali

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Devotees gathered for Maha Aarti

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Camel Safari in Pushkar

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das

Sadhu offering his prayers during Pushkar Maha Aarti at Varah Ghat

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Rathin Kumar Das
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