The holy, and therefore very laid-back town of Pushkar is not to be missed on any visit to Rajathstan. The small town is built around the even smaller Pushkar Lake. Surrounding the lake are many ghats and temples, making it so holy. As a tourist its a great place to relax, take a break from the massive crowds (warning: it can still get crowded) and see some of the countries culture and religion at a slower pace.
The picturesque town is set in a valley next to the Thar Desert. Small ridge mountains encompass the town making it feel very protected and peaceful. So if you are up for some hiking, camel riding or just want to wander the bazaar like streets. This town will certainly be worth a look.
I spent two nights and one full day relaxing in Pushkar. Here’s what I did with my time in the tranquil city.
(Instructions on how to get to Jaipur by bus, scams to look out for and food tips at the bottom of post)
I arrived by bus from Jaipur at around 430 pm. I was met getting off the bus by touts asking me to stay at their guest house. Typically, I dislike doing this but I’ve found in India a lot of times they will offer to take you to their hotel, usually situated near many other hotels in walking distance, and offer to drive you there for free if you just come take a look. I took the offer to be driven the five minutes by moto down the hill and then decided to take the offer on the guy’s Hotel. I’m easily sold.
My hotel didn’t have a lake view but I’d say it’s not really as necessary in Pushkar as it would be in say Udaipur. The other rooftops and the rolling mountains are what you want to see, plus you will likely save a bit not having a lake view.
Savitri & Papmochani Mata Temples
That night I enjoyed dinner on my rooftop and made the short hike, only about 30 minutes, up to Papmochani Mata Temple to catch an incredible sunset. I went to bed early so that I could get up and see sunrise the next day from Savitri Temple.
I was out the door by 6:15 am the next morning. I quickly picked up a friend staying at another guest house and we began to make our way through the quiet morning streets and up the mountain. I was told the climb has 350 steps. But I didn’t count. However many it was it was a solid trek up. The view was stunning and it was so peaceful up there. Just one group of around a dozen people or so. I imagine this may change soon if the new gondola they are building there is open at sunrise hours.
Once the sun was completely up the viewing point became filled with monkeys or limas, didn’t find out what they actually were, and many dogs and puppies. Was a cool site to see the puppies and monkeys playing together.
We made out way down to grab some breakfast. There is a place on the main road called Laughing Buddha Cafe. It’s very small and don’t eat there if you don’t have a lot of time but it was a good place to have a decent breakfast and a coffee and watch the town come alive.
Pushkar Lake and Brahma Temple
After breakfast, I went to the Brahma Temple, Pushkar’s most famous temple. There is said to be only a few of them in the world. Next, I made my way down to Pushkar lake to visit some of the surrounding ghats and temples and watched the locals bathe themselves in the waters.
In the late afternoon I walked the main market road, here you can find all sorts of handy-made local crafts, rip off DVDs, hippie wear and chai tea. I finished the day off with an Indian feed and a sunset view on the rooftop.
Like I said before, make sure you check out this cool little town. You can also take camel rides from town. Each November the town holds a two week Camel fair that brings in 10,000 camels to the town and 100,000’s of people.
It’s worth mentioning that Pushkar is a completely vegetarian-friendly place because of its dedication to being holy. That said, I was offered eggs and other non-veg things as well as beer for a price. The falafel shawarma on the streets is something to taste. Cheap, filling and delicious.
Getting to Pushkar from Jaipur
There is a train that runs to Ajmer which is 20 minutes outside Pushkar or you can take one of the buses leaving every 20-30 minutes from Jaipur. There are a few buses that run direct from Jaipur to Pushkar but most terminate in Ajmer where you can either take the local bus for around 10 rupees – 30 minutes or you can take a rickshaw or taxi for roughly 250 rupees – 20 minutes. If you decide to take the local bus you will need to walk down the hill or find a tout willing to take you the few minute drive.
Scams in Pushkar
When walking around the lake near the Ghats people may approach you telling you it’s a special day or ask you to throw a flower pedal into the lake as a sign of respect. Ignore these people. They will drag you around aimlessly and ask for a donation that isn’t not necessary.