Saturday, April 11, 2020

Why You Should Visit Pushkar | Travel Tips Included

Pushkar Lake

Pretty much as soon as I arrived in India on the 3rd of February I made my way to Rajasthan. This was not my first time in Rajasthan, and the only place I was willing to visit again was Pushkar. Let me tell you why.


In the video below (which includes subtitles in English and Spanish), I tell you a bit about my lockdown situation here in India and all about that trip to Pushkar.  I hope you enjoy watching it.

Below the video, you'll find the full transcript with some additional travel tips like the restaurants I recommend, where to stay, and more Pushkar travel tips based on my own experience.

My next stop after Pushkar was Jodhpur so don't forget to visit TOP 7 Things to Do in JODHPUR in Just 2 Days to discover Jodhpur with me.


Why You Should Visit Pushkar




I have visited many places in Rajasthan before but the only place that I was willing to visit again during my recent trip to Rajasthan back in February is called Pushkar.

I even wanted to make sure that I would stay there not just a couple of days, but at least five days.

I don't know what it is, but there is something very appealing and magical about this place.

Sunset by the Pushkar Lake

Well, actually, I think it's the simplicity and the spirituality of this place.

On one side Pushkar is a very small and chill town that lays around the Pushkar Lake.

And once you arrive in Pushkar there is no need to take a taxi or a rickshaw to move anywhere. Wherever you stay you are close to everything.

Then you can spend your days just walking around the lake, getting lost in the small streets, and maybe visiting some of the many temples around Pushkar.

But if you feel the need to move around you can always rent a scooter so you can visit the villages nearby or even the dessert.

We rented a scooter for a day at the Ganpati Motor Bike On Rent. The owner was very polite, friendly and helpful. I can definitely recommend him.

Unfortunately, after we brought the scooter back I forgot to return the keys, so the owner got a bit stressed out cause we were leaving the next day.  Luckily he was able to reach us at our guesthouse. Lol.



What makes Pushkar really special


But in my opinion, what makes Pushkar really special is the spiritual energy.

You don't need to do anything to feel it. You just become aware of it by visiting Pushkar and by observing the devotion of the local pilgrims.

Pushkar sadhus

Life in Pushkar moves around the Pushkar Lake which is one of the holiest places in Hinduism. Hindus actually believe that a bath in this lake will purify all your sins, and they also believe that it has a healing power.

Pilgrims by Pushkar Lake

According to Wikipedia, there are about 500 temples around Pushkar.

I'm not sure how correct that number is but the most famous temple is the Brahma temple.

Brahma Temple Pushkar

This temple is very special for Hindus because it is one of the very few temples all around India dedicated to Lord Brahma.

This spiritual vibe in Pushkar is of course very conducive to practice yoga and meditation.

Luckily many of the guesthouses have a roof terrace that you can use to practice yoga or to practice meditation in the mornings, and you can also find a few schools around that teach yoga.

So you feel naturally inclined to have a daily routine including yoga and meditation, and just exploring this little town.

This was actually the main reason I was willing to visit Pushkar again and why I wanted to stay more than a couple of days.  I knew I could have a good daily routine, not only doing yoga but also working on my blog, while at the same time enjoying the spiritual vibe of this town.

But to be honest, February was a little bit too cold for me to wake up early to do yoga outside.

I would do my regular meditation practice at 5:30 am, no problem because I could wear my blanket around me. But right after my meditation, I would just crawl back under my blankets because it was a little bit too cold for me.

Yeah, what to do.  I really wanted to do asanas after meditation but it was way too cold in the mornings, and during the afternoons we were just exploring Pushkar.  But at least I had all my good intentions.  Lol.

The guesthouse where we stayed is called Hotel Bharatpur Palace. It was basic, like most guesthouses in Pushkar, but cozy and it has plenty of spaces in the terrace to practice yoga.  


My favorite moment in Pushkar


One of my favorite things about traveling is to experience one of those very unique and spontaneous moments. That's what happened to my friend Aly and me when we entered a small temple.

We were actually following a sign for a yoga class but then we entered this small temple while two priests were giving a special puja, a special ritual for a Hindu lady.

Pujat at Pushkar Temple

I love Hindu rituals and I love to listen to the recitation of mantras. So this is something that I could do for hours and hours, that's why we stayed there for the whole ceremony.

This was actually one of my favorite moments in Pushkar because it was very spontaneous and also spiritually rich.

The temple is named Koteshwar Maharaj Temple and the yoga school we were trying to find is the Raja Yoga Training Center which is in the same place as the temple. The classes take place around the temple.


Same old Pushkar: Best places to eat in Pushkar


Now, I was surprised to see that not much has changed in Pushkar since my first visit back in 2012 I think.

You find the same popular restaurants, the same dosa corner, the same chai corner and even the same guy teaching Indian drums during the sunset in the same place.

Well, I'm not sure if he is the same guy but it is in the same place and at the same time.

They are actually called Nagara (or Naghara) drums and the main teacher that teaches there sometimes is called Nathulal Solanki. I guess there is always someone else to lead the session whenever he is not there.

I love to listen to the sounds of drums so this also something that I can do for hours and hours.

So I usually would go to this cafe, that is next to the drums session, and I would just sit there, order some drink, work on my blog, look at the sunset and listen to the drums.

That was the Cafe Lake View Pushkar. They have really good vegetarian and vegan western-friendly food like salads, pancakes, pizzas, and unique smoothies. Not the typical stuff you find at every other restaurant.

I can also recommend you to visit the Laughing Buddha Vegan Cafe Pushkar. They have pretty good vegetarian and vegan food in a nice small cafe, but it doesn't have a view, so it's best for dinner.


And for a quick bite, I would recommend the Ganga Laffa & Falafel Restaurant. You can't miss it. They are very popular. They have really good wraps. You should definitely try those fried potatoes.


Yes, Pushkar is really special, so don't be surprised if you see me there at some point in the future, meditating by the lake, practicing yoga on a roof terrace or perhaps working on my blog in one of the cafes nearby.


How to book bus or train tickets: Best travel agency in Pushkar


Because the trains in India get fully booked very early, we decided to make all our bus and train bookings to visit Jodhpur, Agra, Varanasi, and Haridwar in advance.

We found a travel agent close to the Ganga Laffa & Falafel Restaurant, Mr. Haldhar Parashar of Raghav Craft India Pushkar (also Pushkar Forex).  His office is also a music store.

He was very helpful and patient with us since we were doubting about days and which trains or buses to take. Finally, after a very long decision-making process, we managed to get everything booked.

Several days later while we were in Agra we got the notification that one of our trains had been canceled. We didn't know what to do. I didn't have his contact number but after a long search, I was able to find him on Google Maps.

He was again very patient and helpful with us. He was ready to send us our money back, but instead, we asked him to help us book another train, which he did, and all by phone.

The second train was a bit more expensive but he didn't try to charge us extra. So I can definitely recommend him.


How to get to Pushkar from Jaipur


There is only one direct bus that leaves from Jaipur to Pushkar. You'll need to get to the Sindhi Camp Bus Station and find the right ticket counter. Just ask for the bus to Pushkar. It's a government bus.

Be aware that many people will tell you that there is no direct bus to Pushkar, and they will try to sell you a ticket to Ajmer. Even your guesthouse will tell you that, or they will try to sell you a very expensive ticket.

Trust me, THERE IS a direct bus, you just need to find the right ticket counter and be patient. The bus was around 4 pm I think and it takes about 4 hours.

I suggest you go early morning to get the ticket or one day in advance.

We did have a 20 min stop on the way.  I'm not sure if that was Ajmer, but it is still very convenient to get this bus since you don't need to worry about timing or switching buses.


How to get to Jodhpur from Pushkar


There is only one direct bus from Pushkar to Jodhpur. It starts around 6 am every day from the Marwar Bus Station, which was about 10 minutes walk from our guesthouse.

I suggest you book your ticket from one of the local travel agents.

The journey was about five hours long on a small old bus and on a bumpy dusty road. But it was not too bad.

Once you reach the Jodhpur bus stand you'll need to take a taxi or a rickshaw to get to the old town which is about 20 min drive. I recommend you use Uber or Ola, but taxis can't get all the way into the old town, so you might need to walk a bit or take a rickshaw.


The next destination


The next stop after Pushkar was Jodhpur. You can discover Jodhpur with me by visiting TOP 7 Things to Do in JODHPUR in Just 2 Days.

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