Master Paradise Hotel was a welcome site out of the dusty roads and as soon as we checked in we were off to do a recci the streets of the town of Pushkar. We walked through the many market streets all the way down to the Lake. It was bustling with a very exciting atmosphere as we were lucky to be here during the yearly Pushkar Camel Fair (October-November).
Lake Pushkar is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats where pilgrims come in large numbers to take a sacred bath, especially around Kartik Poornima during the Pushkar Fair. A dip in the lake is believed to cleanse you from your sins. As soon as we arrived we were inadvertently dragged down to pray, and then hassled to pay for our karma, and someone else couldn't pay for you as you had to pay for your own karma. It also seemed that karma had a hermetic pricing structure as a token was just not enough! We all got marked on the forehead on our way back up to free us from further enhancing our good karma.
photo compliments of Jane Fenner
Every year the Pushkar Camel Fair draws thousands of people to enjoy many various entertainments and of course the camels. The Camel Fair was amazing. Apparently around 30,000 to 50,000 camels are brought in droves to this tiny desert town. This of course also draws many photographers with a very varied range of equipment, and even tripods, and it was hard not to get them in your beautifully composed dromedary shots.
Lots of very dusty little children came up to us asking for money and stuck like sand flies until we gave them something and even then they hovered reluctant to be put off by our waving them off and saying no thank you to the bangles or anything else they could find to sell. There were many market stalls as well and the bargaining skills in these tents were on a planetary level, never before have I seen so many crafty negotiating skills on display and persistence was certainly the key here and there was not one single objection that could not be answered or dismissed with a new option or deal or ad-on.
We were relieved to be able to take an auto rickshaw back to our hotel as we had walked much further than we realised. The first time you feel your feet are hurting as there is just so much to occupy every single one of your six or seven senses (the camera being one of them!).
The next morning we were up at 5:00am with anticipation to go and wait in the camels streaming in to the town. I believe that the year before was spectacular as there were no roads, but when we arrived in our jeep we found a beautifully tarred road being finished off with fresh road markings.
We enjoyed a bit of down time during our stay here and did some washing to try and get our clothes clean, or even just a bit cleaner from the red dust. The hotel's pool was a welcome site followed by the buffet. Pushkar is a 'dry town' which means no alcohol is served or drunk here.