According to legends, Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the Universe, dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then decided to name the place after the flower, and that’s how the city got its name.
Pushkar is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the whole world. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be the ultimate pilgrimage that must be undertaken to attain salvation.
We booked a non AC train ticket from Udaipur to Ajmer at a travel agency across our hotel, for 300 Rupees per person. The Non AC cabin is very cosy, which means you sit 3 in a row on a hard wooden bench. The train left at 6 am in the morning and arrived around 11.30 am in Ajmer. From Ajmer train station we took a tuktuk for 80 rupees to the busstation which is not far away and hopped on the local bus to Pushkar (15 kilometer, 15 Rupees p.p.). From the endstop in Pushkar we walked the last 1 kilometer to our hotel and arrived at 12.30 pm.
We stayed at the Pushkar Heritage Hotel, which is a short walk away from the city. It’s at the end of a long street with several other hotels, little shops, lot’s of cows and cheeky monkeys. The great thing about this place, is the open field/garden they have in the middle. And their lovely dogs who always knew to find us for some cuddling.
The rooms are spacious, no airco (at least not in our room) but we surely didn’t need it because it was warm during the days and cold at night. The staff is friendly, they have a good restaurant with both Indian and Western food and the prices are fair. Great place to stay when visiting Pushkar.
** You can find them on booking.com
During the time we were in Pushkar, the Indian government made a strange move. They demonetized all 500 and 1.000 Rupee notes in a battle against black money. And all we had, were 500 and 1.000 notes. You could change them at the banks, but the lines were huge! People stood in line for more than 6 hours. Luckily, they still accepted the ‘old notes’ at our hotel so we didn’t have to worry about the payment there. It was a bit of a shame that we could not really buy souvenirs but it was really good for our budget because you think twice before spending your cash money.
This festival started at the 8th of November and ended at the 14th. These are the official dates stated by the government and that’s when all the activities take place. However, the camel traders already start arriving a few days before. There are several activities and unfortunately we missed the camel racing. We did see the camel dancing (a bit strange and we felt sorry for the camels because it looks so unnatural), dressing up the camels (again, a bit strange..) and we saw some holy ceremonies at several ghats.
During the festival, the streets are filled with people, there are little souvenir shops everywhere, you can go on camel rides or take a camel taxi (a cart behind a camel), there is an amusement park with a ferris wheel (didn’t look that safe to us) and people are doing tricks trying to make some money. It’s really interesting to see and a joy to walk around. It does get a bit smelly, especially there where all the camels and their owners are for the market, but it was great to be here during the festival. Something really different from what we’ve seen so far in India.
We have no idea how Pushkar is without the Camel Festival going on. Maybe it's more quiet, maybe it's always this busy because of all the pilgrims visiting the Brahma Temple. The temple is visited by pilgrims and also by the holy man and sages, after taking a ceremonial sacred bath in the Pushkar lake. We did not go in to the temple because it was extremely crowded and we were tired after strolling around the festival terrain for a couple of hours.