Christmas in Pushkar

Jan 01, 2008 in

Our travel has begun. Our destination was Diu but we didn’t reach it till Christmas. Instead, we were in Pushkar during Christmas eve.
The atmosphere is unique… because it is so small, you don’t have to walk far to see a bit of rural India. It’s stunning that so close to a tourist centre, there are still these kind of villages. The town itself is built around a small lake like you would expect of an Oasis-town.
We spent Christmas eve at a restaurant which organized a Hindi devotional music group which I believe were some kind of gypsies. Otherwise, it was really funny and interestingly decorated: Balloons and other colorful stuff hang from some trees, some firework volcanoes were started and a big “Happy Christmas” was laid on the ground with orange flowers. It all felt a bit like “Happy birthday, Jesus!”. ;)
I don’t like Hindi devotional too much (a Christian chorus is singing of angels as compared to that) so I wanted to leave fast after we finished our dinner and drank our lassies.

We walked around the empty streets of Pushkar at night. The feel is completely different – it looks like another town, no, even another world or time. This applies to other Indian cities at night as well. Only without the noise, the sellers, tourists, beggars, the traffic and the light, one can experience this monumental and solemn athmosphere. Which looked so ordinary and normal at daytime, appears then so alien and exotic again. Esther wrote a very nice poem about that:

“She is another country by night.
She resists us,
Wrapping herself in her cloak of history.
She sings the silent songs
Of past lovers and lives,
Wars and wides of worships.
That have swung between the silence
Of her nights.
Her face regains it’s mystery
in with the inscrutable shadows;
moonlight on water;
a distant day; The echo of footsteps
The plash old sigh of the lake.
A private solemn dance with herself
And we are, again, foreigners.”

Later I talked with a Canadian and an Indian backpacker. The Westerner thought that bhang (blend of Marijuana) is actually not forbidden in Rajasthan. But the other one corrected him and said that it is illegal there, but no one cares. Actually, every family has a bit in their household. This is a very small difference, really.
This reflects in the way bhang is distributed in Pushkar: Many restaurant have “Special Lassi” or “Special cookie” even on their menu. When I asked what precisely is in there, the waiter replied “Well, do you know this plant,… Marijuana?” and added a little bit uncomfortably “… actually, it is illegal so we have to write ‘special’ instead of ‘bhang’.”. He seemed to be more concerned with not being allowed to write bhang in the menu than that bhang is illegal. ;)
The owner of the very small hotel we stayed in named his Lassi “Megic Lassi” (inclusive the spelling mistake). A very small and cosy hotel, the owner is very friendly.

What’s so interesting there?
Do you see a face over one of the buildings too?
It has been found, the cure for cancer!
Peace camels
Shanti cow at the lake