Pushkar (Part 1/3) — Going Without Knowing

Pushkar was the first place I fell in love with in India. The atmosphere, the people, nature and adventures I had there were way above my expectations, which were none to begin with. I’m guilty, like many of us, of using my imagination against me. I picture all kinds of scenarios that would make my life more enjoyable, but more often than not, reality couldn’t care less about where my daydreaming takes me. It happened when I came to India and it wasn’t easy to overcome those emotions. The India that existed in my mind prior to visiting it, is a place that does not exist in the real world, but that’s a story for another day.

Pushkar

Pushkar Lake

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India and it lies in the shore of Pushkar Lake. Legend says it was formed by the tears of Shiva after his wife died(until reading this I always thought Shiva was a female). After another uncomfortable and long overnight train, that makes up for the slightly traumatizing experience by taking me to my next destination and allowing me to sleep(both for free), I arrive in the city of Ajmer and quickly get in the next bus to Pushkar.

The sun was out for no more than an hour, I had just woken up from a deep nap in a bumpy and noisy bus to find myself in the middle of nowhere. I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place… But my map said otherwise. Where are all the other tourists? What am I missing? Where’s the Pushkar everyone loves?

Pushkar

Pushkar Lake

I knew I could count on an old friend of mine to answer all these questions. I’m sure you’ve heard of him, he knows a lot about India, martial arts, all the uses of coconut oil & baking soda and everything else you can think of, we all love you Google! Someone told me that I could find wi-fi if I followed the road that leads to the temple. And that was my eureka moment. Temple means tourists, tourists means money, money means shops, hostels, people, restaurants, street​ food and boy was I hungry…

Aside from the typical ingredients of an Indian road: street dogs, cows, wild boards and tuk tuk drivers that won’t hesitate to ask you for a ride. There were also some stands selling beautiful swords, shields, knives and all kinds of other melee weapons. I don’t know why they were selling this in such a religious place, but I didn’t make much out of it. My mind was like the landscape around me: Dry, empty, lazy and could definitely use a little make over.

Pushkar

Pushkar Lake

Suddenly there it was, a small, but crowded temple, leading to the main road. The street was full of shops on both sides: Jewelry, handicrafts, clothes, food, the usual… There was a lot of people, but they didn’t seem desperate for money, which allowed me to peacefully enjoy my stroll until I found, to my great surprise, a beautiful lake in the core of this little town. In this lake there were Indian people only, taking baths, for religious purposes, I assumed. Tourists were admiring the view and there was a girl. We were standing close to each other and when our eyes crossed paths, she smiled, said hi and introduced herself, with a French accent. I replied with a hey and smiled back at her.

Part 2 here!

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