A charming oasis on the very edge of the Great Thar Desert, Pushkar is one of those places where you come for a day and end up spending a week.

I still remember my first impressions of the place – a small jewel in the navel of India, all ablaze with its colourful mix of pilgrims, hippies, merchants and holy men, its outdoor menagerie of cows, pigs, dogs and monkeys, and most of all its unique blend of romantic mysticism and hard-nosed business practice. I first arrived in 1985, just as the tourists began trickling in, and found it wonderfully unspoilt. The ancient buildings were all whitewashed and flaky, the lake was peaceful (apart from a few leaping carp), and the sleepy marketplace was dotted with just a few browsing backpackers.

Sightseeing is probably the last thing on your mind when you come to Pushkar. It's a tiny, sleepy town which instantly envelops visitors in a calm embrace of inertia. The little activity there is – shops, cafes and rooftop restaurants – centres on the single long street which tracks round the northern end of the lake, parallel to the bathing ghats. There’s a regular parade of travellers trooping up and down this street – trying on hippy clothing, buying silver bangles, doing puja (prayer) at the ghats, or organising camel treks.

And they all end up at the same place – the Sunset Café below the Tourist Bungalow – in time for sunset.

At sunset, Pushkar comes into its own. The dry heat is relieved by a cool breeze, the glare of the sun dies away, and the fading desert lights turn the lake a fiery blood-crimson. As the time approaches for darshan (worship), the hundreds of little temples by the lakeside come to life and the air is filled with the clanging of bells, the beating of drums and the hypnotic drone of prayer.

For many westerners, this will be the nearest they’ll ever get to a ‘mystical’ experience of India...

Rupee Millionaires
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Published on July 02, 2014 08:57 • 556 views • Tags: biography, buddhism, india, mystical, travel
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message 1: by Craig (new)

Craig Sounds wonderful Frank. Your writing sent colourful images flashing through my mind. Amazing really, as I've never been to India. I wonder how the place has changed over the last thirty years. I'm lucky to live in a corner of Spain that has remained relatively unchanged - but for how long?


message 2: by Janet (new)

Janet I feel like I've just been there Frank, what wonderful imagery - I think that I might just have to dig out Rupee Milionaires and read it all over again :-)


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan Joyce So many colorful images. I've visited India twice and these strobe-like images still flash through my brain after decades. Great writing, Frank!


message 4: by Frank (new)

Frank Kusy Craig wrote: "Sounds wonderful Frank. Your writing sent colourful images flashing through my mind. Amazing really, as I've never been to India. I wonder how the place has changed over the last thirty years. I'm ..."

Thanks Craig, India never changes much, except in the cities. But it's only a matter of time...


message 5: by Frank (new)

Frank Kusy Janet wrote: "I feel like I've just been there Frank, what wonderful imagery - I think that I might just have to dig out Rupee Milionaires and read it all over again :-)"

Thanks Janet :)


message 6: by Frank (new)

Frank Kusy Susan wrote: "So many colorful images. I've visited India twice and these strobe-like images still flash through my brain after decades. Great writing, Frank!"


Thanks, Susan, you must visit again...I keep saying 'this will be the last time', but it never is!


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan Joyce Frank wrote: "Susan wrote: "So many colorful images. I've visited India twice and these strobe-like images still flash through my brain after decades. Great writing, Frank!"


Thanks, Susan, you must visit again..."


Frank wrote: "Susan wrote: "So many colorful images. I've visited India twice and these strobe-like images still flash through my brain after decades. Great writing, Frank!"


Thanks, Susan, you must visit again..."


Frank, I can relate to that. But at some point, we don't have to return. We've learned what we came to learn.
xo,

Susan


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