Why do I like my city, Ajmer

Travel blog * das-Chrisha

My journey continued to the small town of Pushkar, known for its sacred lake. In addition to the lake, an early morning hike led us to a small mountain with a magnificent view ...

Off to Pushkar

That morning we had to get up early. The meeting point was at 5 a.m. and we went to the train station. From here we grabbed a train that should take us to our next destination. Our means of transportation in India was the train and we also tried different classes on our trip. Our first trip took place in the AC CHAIR CAR-Class place. There are 6 seats in a row - 3 on one side, 3 on the other, in the middle of the aisle. There is space above the head to stow your luggage. The standard was very similar to what we know from 2nd class on trains in Germany. There was even a small breakfast for us, which was too spicy for me (surprise!), But it was probably okay for meals.

Overall, the landscape here is quite dry, but beautiful!

I'm lucky and got a window seat. My gaze wanders over the landscape. The sun slowly rises on the horizon and the sky begins to turn beautifully. The drive took about 6 hours and during that time I watched life in the Indian countryside. On the way we see a lot of animals - dogs, pigs, horses, cows ... some of them roam the area. Here and there I see an apparently dead animal lying on the roadside. We keep passing small towns, villages, barracks, cities. Sometimes also depressing dwellings of very poor people. People walk along the tracks, look around and wait, or do their business too. OK. The landscape changes and we become a dry steppe with scruffy bushes. We left Delhi and are now in the state Rajasthan - it is one of the most popular regions in India. And our way led us to Pushkar ...

Arrived in Pushkar

With just under 22,000 inhabitants, Pushkar is not a particularly large city, but it has gained fame thanks to its historical and cultural importance. It is a pilgrimage town - believers come here from all over India to bathe in the holy Lake Pushkar! 400 temples offer the numerous Hindus place to pray. The city has also attracted a lot of hippies and other Western dropouts. Pushkar is located on the Aravalli Mountains and the foothills of the Thar Desert. After the busy and stressful Delhi, the calm and cozy Pushkar is a welcome change.

Pushkar is surrounded by mountains

There are camels to be seen here almost on every corner

Despite the desert and steppe, there are green trees and meadows here

After almost 6 hours our train stopped in Ajmer - a Muslim city about 12 km from Pushkar. I have to say that for the fact that we were prepared for the fact that the Indian railway should not be very reliable, it was punctual to the minute. I was impressed. We grabbed our bags and looked for a taxi, which then took us to our hotel in Pushkar. There is a small mountain between Pushkar and Ajmer that we have to cross. The path meanders over the mountain in serpentines and gives us a beautiful view. It's more rural here. I like it here. The view inspires me almost enough that I wouldn't have noticed the taxi driver's wild driving style. Overtaking just before the bend is no problem. Where else should you overtake him with so many corners? There are horns for that! But no seat belts - you just have to set priorities.

Quiet and cozy streets in Pushkar

Quiet, yes, but not unexciting - cow action in the middle of the street

We arrived safely at our hotel and were able to stretch our legs for a while. But since we were only in Pushkar until late morning the next day, we wanted to use the time on site and went for a walk. Our hotel is a bit outside the center and we walk through the quiet and dusty streets and explore the small town. Overall, there are not so many different sights in Pushkar - here you just have to go for a walk and go on a journey of discovery.

Bikes for Rent? Muuuuh!

At Pushkar Lake

The highlight of Pushkar is of course that Pushkar Lakearound which city life seems to revolve. A legend tells that the Hindu god Brahma once killed a demon with a lotus flower weapon and created the lake in the process. There are several tales of miraculous healings entwined around the lake. For many Hindus it is still considered one of the holiest places in India. A bath in this water is said to be just as cleansing as a bath in the holy river Ganges. The lake can be reached from all sides via ghats - a total of 52 - where the pilgrims can then take a bath.

Spring fever in India

Pushkar Lake in all its glory

That could be the Indian god Ganesha

Some of the most famous and important ghats are the Varah, Brahma and Gandhi Ghats. Here the pilgrims perform ritual washing, which, according to their belief, should wash them clean of all sins. If you want to go down to the water, you have to take off your shoes first. In principle, photography is not allowed, but if you can't leave it like me, just do it with enough distance. In general, many traders or smugglers should wait here to catch a few tourists - but we were lucky and there was almost nothing going on with us.

The lake takes its water from the many rainy days of the monsoon season

It is surrounded by numerous ghats

There is also a small temple in honor of Shiva

A cute figure and uh .. sponges (?) On a tree

We linger a little in this holy place and dip our toes in the water (it can't do any harm, can it?). After a while we move on because the next item on the program is waiting for us.

The dam in the southeast of the lake was (re) built in the 12th century

On the camel through the desert

Next we should go with a couple of camels into the desert, where we wanted to spend the evening. With TukTuks we went northwest, where we met our camel guides and of course the camels. Camels and humans formed pairs and off we went.

In Pushkar we see many camelas with a small car. In the background we see the well-known Brahma Temple

Pushkar was really pretty - unfortunately there were always corners where there was a lot of rubbish

The camels are waiting for us

Perhaps one or the other remembers that it wasn't that long ago that I trotted through the Moroccan desert with camels. Accordingly, this time I made a better figure when climbing up and down, but of course I couldn't help but compare. I always find tourism and animals a bit difficult and actually I try to avoid this - but it's always a bit difficult when this is included in a program item. Overall, however, the animals made a good impression on me and when they were thirsty on the way, they simply went to one of the many watering stations that we had passed on the way.

It starts!

Otherwise, I have to admit, I found the camel tour a bit difficult. It took forever to get out of the urban area and the landscape became more attractive. There was sometimes a lot of rubbish lying around on the way - well, that might not be surprising in India, but it just doesn't look particularly nice. If I hadn't just recently done the tour through Morocco, I might not have noticed it, but the sandy Sahara with its golden yellow dunes is somehow more beautiful than the dusty steppes around Pushkar - which I don't mean to say, that the landscape is not beautiful here too. Morocco remains my top camel tour, but if you are in Pushkar and want to do a camel tour, you will certainly enjoy it here.

A sandy path through the Pushkar steppe

The distance that we had to cover was a little longer and it goes through a dusty steppe with a few grasses and mountains in the background. Then we suddenly have to stop because the regular route is closed. The alternative route is a bit adventurous and at some point it is so bumpy that the camels (at least with us behind) cannot go any further because it breaks off a little too steeply. Our camel guides begin to straighten the path with shovels and hoes. My camel feels unobserved and begins to look for food, apparently wanting to take on an adventure for it. I can actually see myself flying off the camel (can camels stand on their hind legs to hunt for food? I think it wouldn't have taken long and I would have found out) and hold on tightly. But the camel means well to me and at some point the path is finished and the tour continues. Phew

Dry bushes, mountains and camels

A small plastic tarpaulin (?) Village on the outskirts - unfortunately, many people in India are very poor

Dance, music and food with sunset

We reach our goal - a small square in the middle of nowhere. Shortly after we arrive the sun goes down and bathes the horizon in a beautiful light. A small show by the locals including food should be waiting for us here. The show starts with a little magic insert. I remember the show in Fes in Morocco and I'm afraid that the show will be rather embarrassing, including being ashamed of others, but I am positively surprised. The magic show is simple, but actually really good. We couldn't see through the tricks. Towards the end our magician conjures up two pigeons from under a piece of cloth and nobody knows where these pigeons came from.

A nice quiet place in the middle of nowhere

Our magician shows us a few simple but impressive tricks

There is also a small fire

Then it goes on with music and dance. The music consists mainly of drums, to which women in pretty costumes dance. Of course we couldn't avoid dancing with them. During the show there was a good thali - unfortunately most of it was too hot for me, but the rest tasted very good. When it is really dark, fire elements are added to the dance interludes. The ladies carry burning pots on their heads and we are impressed. The show ends with some body fire and fire spitting. Shortly afterwards the evening ends for us and we take a taxi back to the hotel.

Since I didn't have a tripod with me, the photos turned out to be rather bad,

.. but the ladies performed a beautiful dance

The show ended with some body fire and fire-breathing

Hike with a view of the Savitri Temple

The evening didn't end too late, which was fine with us. The next morning at 6 o'clock we were back on the mat because we wanted to do a little hike to the sunrise. A little outside of the city center is a Hindu temple on the small Ratnagiri mountain, from which one should have a magnificent panoramic view of the lake and valley.

Early in the morning before the climb - there isn't much going on here

Pushkar is still lying there calmly

With a couple of tuk-tuks we went to the hill from where we started hiking. Our hotel was on the opposite side of the lake and we were - admittedly - a bit too lazy to walk in the morning. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk to this hill from the lake. Except for a few other hikers, we were completely alone. During the day you can also take the cable car up, but it opens a little later - after sunrise. The route does not even amount to 200 meters in altitude with around 1200 steps - the incline, however, is steep. These stages are tough - so early in the morning. Maybe I've been a little lazy about sports lately, but I've been panting a lot.

From up here you have a great view of all directions

A delicious chai tea in the early morning

Once at the top, however, we will be rewarded for our efforts. The view is amazing and we treat ourselves to a delicious, warm chai tea, which we order in a small cafe upstairs. At first the sky still seems quite cloudy, but punctually with the sun it disappears and we can enjoy the sunrise. Very nice. We watch the landscape, the sun and sip our tea.

The sun rises for us

Then we will also visit the Savitri templewho is enthroned on this mountain. The temple itself is very simple and not particularly spectacular. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Savitri - the wife of Lord Brahma. The temple was built in 1687. But we found it much more exciting that the monkeys came with the light. The temple or the hill is known for its many monkeys, some of which can also become very aggressive. So that they don't even get the idea that we can get something, we shouldn't reach into our pockets and get something out of it. Otherwise the monkeys might think there is food in our pockets.

Labeled floor plates in the temple

The short but steep climb to the temple

There are monkeys everywhere here - even on the cable car

After we had celebrated hills, temples and sunrise enough, we went back down. On the way we see some monkeys again, but we pass them unmolested. Once at the bottom, Tuk-Tuks take you back to the hotel. We still have to put our feet up for a moment and pack our last things before we went back to Ajmer to the train station and our journey should continue ...

The donkeys seem to already know the way and are on their own

After bustling and bustling Delhi, calm and laid back Pushkar was just the thing. I liked it here - a nice stopover for 1-2 days.

See also:
Part 2 of my India travel report: The capital Delhi
Part 4 of my India travel report: The pink city of Jaipur
Overview map with all mentioned points and route