Before I arrived in India, two of the places I was most looking forward to visiting were Pushkar and Udaipur.
When I booked the trip, I hadn’t heard of either of them before, but the more I read about them, the more I was looking forward to visiting them.
I was sad to be leaving Jaipur, but I was excited to see what Pushkar would have in store for us.
At the heart of Pushkar, lies a holy lake, the destination for thousands of Hindus each year. The lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats, where Hindu pilgrims bathe in its holy waters.
Having arrived in Delhi where the temperatures were much colder than expected, Pushkar gave us our first real glimpse of blue skies, sunshine, and warmer day time temperatures. Although the mornings and evenings were still chilly, it was time to unpack the sunglasses and sun lotion as well as those lighter layers!
Hotel New Park was completely different to any of the other hotels we stayed in on this trip. It was the only ‘resort’ we stayed in, but again, as with much of our trip so far, we struggled for any hot water to shower and the WiFi was non existent for the large part. However, the grounds of the hotel were beautiful and the food was pretty good too.
Having arrived at the hotel somewhere between midday and early afternoon, we had lunch outside on the lawn and then headed off into Pushkar for our orientation walk. Pushkar was the first place we would have a whole free day to ourselves so it was time to have a mooch around to see what we could do with our spare day the following day.
We were lucky enough to arrive at the holy lake, at the most beautiful time of day. The sun was starting to lower, and cast a beautiful, warm, glow across the lake and its surrounding buildings.
Pushkar had a very different vibe to it than anywhere else we had visited in India so far. Whilst it was still very ‘Indian’, it certainly had a European vibe to it, and at times, it very much reminded me of Ibiza, with its hippie stalls, bohemian laid-backness , and numerous ‘cafe’s’ selling an assortment of ‘mushrooms’! Pushkar attracts a high number of Israeli tourists each year, who take ‘bohemian’ to a whole other level. It’s also easier to buy European cuisine here than in many other towns and cities we had visited so far, so for those who were tiring of eating curry, there were plenty of other cuisines available in Pushkar.
After getting aquainted with this wonderful place, it was time to head to a local families home for a home cooked meal. Intrepid partner up with a local family, who are paid to cook for Intrepid groups. We sat outside the families home, in their courtyard, with a small fire going in the corner. The most striking thing about the service, was the fact it was the men of the household who served us our food. The women stayed in the kitchen to cook, and only one of them came outside afterwards to sit down whilst we waited for our taxi rides home. The men, including a young boy, brought out large trays for each of us. They then brought out a constant stream of food, which included different breads, rice, vegetarian dishes, meat dishes and chutneys. When we could eat no more, this was followed by a portion of Rice Kheer. It’s certainly an aquired taste, but having had it before in the UK, I was keen to try the true Indian version. I was definitely in the minority (as usually happens!) who liked it though!
Soon enough it was time for the other men in the household to return us to our hotel in their taxi’s, ready for a good nights sleep. Day 7 would be our earliest start yet, but we had a hill to climb in the morning, ready to see something truly beautiful.