Dreamy Little Pushkar
I’ve traveled quite a bit, but I have never fallen in love with a city the way I did with the charming, quaint, fairytale-like dreamy little village of Pushkar, Rajasthan. It’s almost as if I traveled back in time- small winding by-lanes that turned out to be main roads, villagers lazing around under closed shops, looking at passer bys while smoking their chillums, a kaleidoscopic maze that is the main market, foreigners every which way you look, and a beautiful ghat where saadhus pray- it all seemed like a part of a dream about some past life.
Curled around a holy lake, Pushkar is said to have appeared when Lord Brahma dropped a Lotus flower. At the end of the market lies the holy Brahma Temple, a must-visit for everyone who comes here.
It’s a great short trip from Ajmer (12km to be precise) But do not have high expectations when it comes to transport. You take a state government bus from the Bus Station at Ajmer, and after several winding roads and jolts you arrive in the cosy little town of Pushkar. It takes you all of 45min.
Situated in a small valley behind the “Snake Mountain” Pushkar is a unique blend of village and city architecture, culture and spirit. The colors in Pushkar are typical of tiny Indian villages while modern bungalows-cum-hotels dominate the skyline.
The first evening was spent settling down in our dormitories at Zostel. For 300 bucks a night the female dorm was quite a deal. Zostel has books, music, games, recreational areas, swimming pools and a restaurant for your entertainment. If you are too bored to do any of this you can also plan day trips with fellow travelers at Zostel.
The lakeside village of Pushkar is a holy site as many throng the tiny market streets to visit the Brahma Temple. A walk to the temple is through the tiny village market, which we personally thought was some brilliant city-planning. Colorful clothes, bags, ornaments, home decor items and a lot more make it almost impossible for one to leave the tiny market empty handed. If you thought street shopping in Goa was a steal you will not believe what Pushkar has to offer. True story.
Being a vegetarian town there is no cafe that will serve you chicken or meat in any form. Don’t let that disappoint you- I had the BEST pizza of my life at Pushkar. A pizza made of 4 different types of cheese at Cafe Nirvana had us drooling about it for ages. Strings of cheese as you bite into the soft pizza is stuff you see on Pinterest. Another GREAT find was the pita bread and hummus at Cafe Nirvana. Highly recommended.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the busy Pushkar market, Funky Monkey Cafe is something that every traveler to Pushkar must try out. It’s not too difficult to find, thanks to the hoardings on the street. It’s a humble cafe with 5 tables taking up the entire space on the road. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the cafe. The menu has a wide range of options available…at EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE PRICES! We ordered a banana pancake (8 inches of awesome in Rs100 ) a cheese omelette (the stuffed cheese was melting till the last bite) that was served with 3 slices of toast & costed somewhere around Rs.120, a banana coconut milkshake and a chocolate coconut milkshake. I’d highly recommend a large glass of their shakes, the guy there whips up a storm! The service is fantastic, and will make you feel like home. Great food, great service, healthy food- there’s nothing more that you need here. I’d highly recommend this.
Pushkar has well and truly opened itself up to tourism in recent years, especially with it’s fairs. If you’re in Rajasthan and craving a little peace and quiet without the price of an airfare ticket, perhaps this one is for you!