एक ढोलो, दूजी मारवन , तीजो कसूमल रंग
पधारो म्हारे देस, पधारो म्हारे देस नि,
केसरिया बालम, आओ नि पधारो म्हारे देस|
Once a Rajasthani…always a Rajasthani! The most colorful and vibrant state of India that is rich in culture, heritage and it’s mouth watering cuisines. Among various beautiful places to visit in Rajasthan, a city that is a must visit is Pushkar. A small Holy city situated in a valley is abode of Lord Brahma, and the world’s only temple decidated to him is located in Pushkar. The holy city surrounded by hills has a huge lake commonly known as Pushkar Taal (Taal means lake).
The Brahma Temple is located in the bank of the lake with huge heritage monuments in the surroundings and a hundreds of stairs leading towards the lake, also known as GHAAT.
It was 21st of March when i left for Ajmer from Raipur by train. As there is no rail route to Pushkar direct, so the only way to each there is to first reach Ajmer. Ajmer is the most Holy city of Rajsthan as the pure shrine of Kwaja Garib Nawaz is situated here. Every year Ajmer sees around millions of tourists who come to visit the Dargah. So my first stop de’tour was Ajmer. After visiting the dargah for Ziyarat (prayers) my next stop was Holy Pushkar Raj. From Ajmer, there are various local buses and taxi services that takes us to Pushkar. A distance of 15 km from Ajmer, the route gifts you with a beautiful hill view through out the route. The roads crossing between the mountains gives a beautiful iconic view of Ajmer city from the height. The AC cabs charge around a 1200Rs and stays there for 4-5 hours and the local bus will take you to the holy city in just 50rs per person. There are various hotels and motels in Pushkar as well, convenient for them who prefer to stay there for couple of days.
Pushkar is famous for it’s temple and lake, but there are many more things that makes the Holy city a must visit for every tourist in Rajasthan. One of them is Pushkar Fair also known as Pushkar ka Mela. Annual five day fair of camel and live stock where the local people trade their live stocks also is an attraction of the city. The Pushkar fair happens in early winters in the month of October or November. I visited Pushkar on 23rd of March, just a day before Holi, the festival of colors. The Holi festival is again celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm in the city. The ghaat is rushed with local people who come to offer prayers to Lord Brahma and also take their Holy bath.
The ghaat looks so colorful with the local people in their traditional attire…..bliss! The best thing i liked about the particular place is that a comity id formed who particularly takes care of the lake. As the water has no exit points hence it gets polluted very soon by the worships, hence the lake is full of fishes who takes care of the cleanliness of the water. No outsider or visitor is allowed to feed the fishes, infact the comity takes care of the fishes very well. I personally had never seen such huge fishes in a lake. Big mouth with long moustaches are a delight to watch.
The Rajasthani attire always fascinates me to the core. I searched the whole market to get one for myself but couldn’t find the one which was worn by the local women there. Big huge lehengas with vibrant and colorful chunris covering the head and not to forget their traditional brass ornaments. The women their are absolutely gorgeous. I met few local ladies there and asked them hesitantly if they would pose for a picture. I was surprised to see their reaction, they were so happy to get clicked, infact also shared their local address with me and asked me for a copy. I have kept their addresses safe with me and shall soon post them their beautiful energetic pictures…. have a look.
The moment i finished my visit to the lake/ghaat and came out from the premises, i found myself standing in the midst of an extremely colorful market place, that had various goodies and food stuffs to offer me….hurray! This was heaven truly. The narrow lanes with shops all around was simply making me go crazy. Okay! so this was when i realized that i need to calm down now and take a deep breath. It was a long long walk and can be tiring too, so better to start with some energy booster. Now here in Pushkar, you won’t find and cold drink shops or juice corner. The only refreshing drinks u’ll get is either Shikanji/Nimbu pani or the very special and super delicious Famous Rajasthani Lassi. This is no ordinary Lassi. The specialty here is that fresh thick curd is whipped with rose essence, little sugar and a pinch of salt. The then serve this in a big earthen glass aka Kullhad , with lots of crushed ice and a scoop of fresh cream/malai and mawa/milk solids. Add a dash of rose syrup on top and garnish with a fresh rose and serve…….aha! so heavenly.
By now i was refreshed and all geared up for a long market walk to explore and loot. No wait, something was still missing, i had camera in my hand, and lassi in my stomach. But still couldn’t get the feel of the place so first bought a Rajasthani Safa/ Head gear worn by men in the place. Colorful 5 meter cloth wrapped and tied up on my head definitely made me look pretty. …lol
The traditional method of tying a safa is a task by itself and need experts for that. So we opt to buy the ready made stitched once that comes in various sizes and colors. Got three, one for me, my mom and my sonny boy as well. Now we all are finally set for the grand loot.
The Pushkar market is always crowded with tourists and loaded with lots of colorful goodies which are simply irresistable. The goodies tempt to to buy as them as much as you can. The prices are high but like any other Indian woman i was pleased to see that the shopkeepers welcome a nice bargain too. Colorful beads lined throught out the shops are the main attraction. Comes in various colors and designs and is a beautiful buy to all those who love to decor their homes in a traditional way.
Pushkar also displays a huge variety of swords. Available in all sizes the sword shops are a delight to see. Engraved swords definitely gives a Maharaja feeling. I just bought a small Kataari from there as a momento, but again for the home decor lovers, this place is indeed a blessing to them. The shops also has ethnic silver and brass hand crafted show pieces that definitely will add up more beauty to you favorite corner at you house.
The entire Rajasthan is also famous for its Laakh/Lac Bangles and Mojris/ Mojaris. Traditional Jaipuri Mojaris are pump shoes for both men and woman made with fabric or leather along with heavy and colorful embroidery done. The Mojaris come in all sizes and few designs are uni sexual as well. The best thing about these special Mojaris is that they don’t come with separate shape for left and right foot. They can be worn both in left and right feet.
The woman in Rajasthan love to flaunt beautiful bangles. When it comes to jewellery the most unique and authentic ornament worn by the ladies there is the Lakh/ Lac Bangles. The Lac bangles in Rajasthan is mainly worn by the married women specially during Karwa Chauth. Lakh bangles are made of natural ingredient called Lac (kind of wax) and is very delicate and breakable. With busy lifestyle these bangles are now designed with brass support also referred as Brass bangles. The production is mainly done in Jaipur and later supplied to various parts of Rajasthan, hence they are also known as Jaipur bangles.
Couldn’t resist myself from buying few pairs…
While walking through the market, i came across many people who grabbed my attention and volunteered to get clicked. I loved the way they stopped me and ask if i could take their pictures. The people in pushkar are really innocent and kind hearted. They speak softly and never debate with you on anything.
During my walk i also came across a corner where few foreigners had surrounded a girl and were dancing on the beats. Yes, a local girl named Asma, with a huge Dhol hanging on her neck and sticks in her hand, played the most amazing dhol and collected money to celebrate Holi. I had never in my life seen such a young girl playing outstanding dhol that even made me dance to her beats.
After all that dance and drama i again took a walk to the main market. The main market again had a lot of things to sell. Pushkar has many surprises in it’s kitty. One of them is Rose farming. Yes, you heard me right, the city produces the maximum number of red roses in the entire country and these roses are sent to Ajmer’s Garib Nawaz Dargah. The place has no greenery yet cultivates such a large amount of roses itself is a miracle. As it has a wide rose farming done here, hence Pushkar produces pure Gulab Jal / Rose Water and Gulkand/ Rose petal jam. The main market is flooded with shops selling the very pure Gulab jal and Gulkand. For me and my mother this place was no less than a paradise… in fact you may call it as a shopper’s paradise. We got 10 bottles of Gulab Jal and few kgs of Gulkand. I have no clue what are we going to do with so much of rose water but one thing is for sure here onwards my house is going to smell rose completely. My mom wanted to get more of it as she is desperate to have some rose water bath as well…hahaha!
From beads to shoes… from bangles to bags…from lamp shades to tea leaves… from shikanji to lassi the Pushkar market has almost everything to make one go crazy. A big market that keeps on taking you from one lane to the other has so much to offer. Shops loaded with varieties of tea leaves and tea dust captured my attention. The shop had all kinds of herbal and
aromatic tea to sell. Though i was a bit skeptical here hence, didn’t bought anything here.
After having walked for around 600 meters, there comes the Halwai Gali. Oh My God! the entire lane smells divine. The sweet aroma almost hypnotized me and the moment i reached the main Halwai Gali, it was heaven. Those having a sweet tooth, mark my words this place is paradise. Pure milk reducing in a big cast iron kadhai and flavored with rose, saffron or what ever you want is a must have. The milk which is reduced and almost tastes like a rabri is served in earthen glass/ kullhad and garnished with handful of chopped nuts is beyond this world.
Little ahead i came across a typical halwai frying pure mawa malpuas and then dipping it in sugar syrup and serving…..my Goodness, i never in my life tasted such delicious Malpuas.
Those who know me well also know about my love for Gulab Jamuns. I an a huge fan of this particular Indian sweet and have tasted almost in every part of India. But the ones i had in Pushkar were beyond my imagination. Huge tennis ball shaped Gulab Jamuns and purity at it’s best. Melt in mouth Gulab Jamuns were something i enjoyed the most there.
From dawn to dusk, Pushkar has colors, food and hospitality that makes one visit it back again and again. It took me 5-6 hours to explore the Ghaat and the market but still i feel i should have stayed there longer to explore the cultural heritage a little more.
Pushkar, the city adjoining the border of Thar desert, scared Hindu site with near about 50 ghaats for the pilgrimages to bathe. Having 100’s of temples including the oldest and the one and only 14th century Jagatpita Brahma Mandir that has walls inlaid with pilgrim’s silver coins is a place which is a must visit in Rajasthan. The small city showcases the entire culture and heritage of Rajasthan is indeed a foodie’s and shopper’s paradise.
My Pushkar tour was indeed the most beautiful tour of my life and i am glad the three generations walked in to the place together. Happy to have visited Rajasthan with my mother and my son!
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Love : Shaheen