B - A beautiful small town surrounded by hills on the eastern edge of the great Thar desert. So still v hot! Not many western tourists here at the moment, but tons of Indian hindus who travel here as pilgrimage. The town is renowned as a spiritual place with over 300 temples - as its such a small place that means about every other building is a temple! The focus of the town is a large lake surrounded by ghats, or steps, where people bathe in the holy water at the edge of the lake. The lake was said to be created by the god Brahma, who happened to drop a lotus petal that landed here in Pushkar. The only Brahma temple in India is also in thistown, and I think that is why so many hindus visit, as well as to bathe.
Didn't find Pushkar as quiet and peaceful as it's made out to be. Lots of people trying to sell us stuff, lots and lots of children begging. Having said that, we visited some beautiful Hindu temples tho we were'nt quite sure what the protocol was - we think we were meant to go and make offerings like the locals but were too shy so we sat and watched but then people kept coming up to us and talking in Hindi, i think they were urging us to take part instead of just watching. Like the streets, you can't get much peace and quiet in a Hindu temple either!
We did sit and watch the sunset a few times over the lake - that was beautiful and peaceful. As the light started to go, people started lighting candles, ringing bells and singing or chanting around the lake and lots of people head towards the temples for their evening prayers. One evening, as we sat on the ghats (steps) watching the sunset a young boy came up to us and I thought he would ask for money or try to sell us something, but he just lit a candle for us nearby and sheltered it from the breeze then went on his way. It's quite sad, after a while in India you expect everyone who approaches you to either beg or try to sell something.
Bear - We stayed in Puskar for 5 nights in, we visited a Hindu temple, with feet burning marble floors (You have to take your shoes off), we ate lots, slept lots and craved air con after 4 days and changed hotel. We also got harressed by the same street girls lots. We kind of made friends after some altercations and i relented into giving her a pound coin after the fourth time of her following us begging for'just one chapati'. Not the best thing to do really but its so hard.
The most exciting thing we did was on our last day we got up at four in the morning to walk up a small mountain to a Hindu temple devoted to Shiva to watch the sunrise. This was recommended in the book and sounded like a great idea, however the heat is so strong that even at 4am the temperature was still hotter than a hot thing on a hot day and after walking two steps even in the pitch black we were both swaeting from everywhere including our ears, knees, scalps and noses forming small puddles at our sweaty feet. However we perservered and of course got lost in the dusty back 'roads' of the town to even get to the mountain. Through some miracle we found the base of the hill and began our climb. Not being the fittest person in the world i realised that mountain walking is not my strongest point but in heat with slightly dodgy belly, at 4am the 'Bear' came out and poor Birgit was at the recieving end. All was not lost however and we managed to get about half way up , by then the sun had pretty much risien of course but we found a small rock to sit and watch it, and its was indeed worth the climb.
Feeling slightly less ill and able to continue we hauled ourselves to the top were there was the temple and a small cafe, which was beautiful. All seemed like it was improving untill and enourmous ferocious doberman dog came suddenly rushing round the deserted temple, teeth bared and sprang onto my leg! Dont panic. it didnt, thank GOD, sink its teeth into my leg but rather head butted it in a painful and scarey but less bloody fashion and then yelped away as my bag fell off into its head. After some chai, a peanut butter sandwich and a check over by the temple preist all returned to calm and the dog was locked away leaving us to enjoy to fruits of our labour.