13.12.2009 - 15.12.2009
After all this sightseeing and dawn starts, we decided to spend a few days chilling in Pushkar. It's famous for its holy lake - the legend is that a lotus fell from the hands of Lord Brahma into the valley of Pushkar. Immediately after, Sarovar Lake appeared miraculously at that place but regrettably it has no water in it at the moment which spoils the effect and the views somewhat.
It has the only Brahma temple in India which we did manage to visit, followed by a visit to the water tank where we were seized upon by priests (or charlatans) who performed a ceremony with us and then tried to extort loads of money from us. We made the donation we wanted amid lots of mutterings about bad karma if we didn't donate the "minimum" amount. Must have been enough though as we survived a potentially life threatening experience two days later (more to follow). We also managed a steep walk to the top of a hill to see a temple.
Pushkar is a great place to spend time chatting to fellow travellers, reading, catching up on the blog or kite flying. Not to mention trying to plan Christmas and New Year - Christmas is sorted (Udaipur - a lake town with water!) but afterwards is still up in the air due to difficulties in booking trains to and accommodation in Mumbai. It also has great food. Because of the holiness of the place, it's strictly veg including no eggs and definitely no booze but it was like being back in Nepal with lots of non - Indian options so we scoffed pasta, pizza, guacamole, hummus (with really good pitta bread) and even salads.
The kite flying was hugely popular with all the local small boys and the bigger boys staying at our guesthouse. The locals are all practising for their festival in January and one of the aims is to cut down other kites with special cutting string. Unfortunately we were staying near an expert. Colin invested in four kites (all of 10 rupees) and borrowed a reel and string from another guest. After some instruction from one of the hotel boys, he got the hang of it but the first kite to go up was promptly chopped down. Then the string broke on the next two and the last was destroyed in a crash - but hours of fun.