Monday, 19 November 2012

Jodhpur to Pushkar - please remove your shoes!

Time to leave Jodhpur, its been a brief visit and maybe we should have stayed longer because it's a really likeable place that exudes character, but there's other places to see so on we go to Pushkar.....
Early morning we get to what we're told is the bus stand although it doesn't particularly look like one and show our ticket to the guys on the bus who hardly speak any English, and then sit down without having really cleared up whether the bus is going to the right place.  After travelling half an hour or so Bec was panicking that we were going to end up in an obscure town in the middle of nowhere and I was desperately trying to self teach Hindi so I could read the road signs.  I got up to try and confirm we were going where we wanted and got what seemed to be a yes but I certainly wasn't 100% sure everything was ok..... maybe 70% sure.  I Sat back down and told Bec "Yes we're definitely on the right bus, yes I'm 100% sure" and 5 hours later uncrossed my fingers and exclaimed "See I told you!, you should trust me more!".  We jumped off the bus at a place called Ajmer and got a tuk tuk the remaining 30km to Pushkar.  There was a line of taxis waiting for the buses and one of the drivers ushered us to his and eagerly bundled our bags into the back, a drawn out argument ensued on the price of the fare, he was asking for 2000 rupees and all the other drivers were insisting it was the usual price, I haggling for ages to get a price of 1500 which although it was 30km along a hilly road I was annoyed that I'd let us get ripped off and not gone in search of a local bus.
Pushkar is a fairly small quirky town, feels more remote and rural, and is sat next to a lake surrounded by hills.  Down by the river there are steps leading down to the water from various temples to bathing ghats where people bath in the holy waters of the lake.  We soon discover that it is hugely insulting to wear shoes near the water's edge after several people shout at us, "this is a holy place! you must take off your shoes!", I promptly remove mine but Bec has some cuts on one of her feet and tried to get away with keeping her shoes on much to the disgust of most people we walked past so she eventually had to relent.
bathing ghats
Later in the afternoon we wandered the markets, arranged a camel safari for tomorrow, ate Tibetan and arranged bus tickets for our next leg of the trip on to Agra.  Pushkar is relatively quite laid back, not much traffic and the place seems to belong as much to the animals as the people, there's plenty of cows, camels, goats, monkeys and pigs wandering about freely as well as the usual stray dogs of course.  Seems a cool place, good vibe and mostly no getting hassled apart from a couple of specific areas.  There's also a ban on meat, fish and eggs here due to the 'holiness' of the area so being a vegetarian here couldn't be easier for us.

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