We were supposed to meet at ten but that turned into a bit later than that. Everything here obeys some incomprehensible rhythm at low bpm. My presence here is just another sound in the orchestral tapestry of this place. I have found my spot at a cafe close to the sign announcing an entrance to the sacred lake. I recall meeting Renault (not his real name ;)) and having Hari drop us off at the foot of the little mountain that was to be the first challenge of the day.
It was a fairly long steady climb punctuated by short breaks for rest. The view from up top did not disappoint. The Savitri Temple is dedicated to Savitri wife of Brahma. We took our time getting to the top and it was reassuring that everyone struggles a bit up the stairs.
The temple itself is not that big and I remarked that everything used to construct this temple was carried up here. We noticed a curious thing the construction of a gondola. The way it was being constructed slowly by hand was a sight to behold. From up here it is easy to understand the topography of this place. The town appears to be enclosed by the hills but behind it are plains dotted with a patchwork of farmer’s fields.
The main enclosure houses the inner sanctum that hold the statues of the deity. I rang the bell and stood there transfixed for a bit at the sight before me. There were four statues and one of them had mirrors for where the whites of the eye should be. It created a spooky effect when looking at it. I’ve noticed that the various representations of all the different deities always evokes some kind of a response. The alien faces starring back at me had such an effect along with the setting in which they are found. There was a courtyard by that inner sanctuary where the view of Pushkar could be absorbed. We ended up talking to a couple living in Belgium. They were here on a quick holiday driving from one town to another visiting the colorful cities that dot the landscape. He said that a lot has improved in the six years between his visits. We talked about our experiences so far and our respective plans for the future.
The climb down was obviously easier than the climb up. Renault still had a lot of planning to do. He had to figure out if he could get a train from here to Johdpur or maybe take the bus. Hari showed him and told him a few tricks about maneuvering through the fields of transportation options. He wanted to go back to his hotel so that he could get onto his computer in order to sort all of this out. We parted ways as we made contact on WhatsApp already and could get in touch later if necessary.
I found the Cafe in which I waited out the shower yesterday. I like the spot as there are a lot of things happening here. The slight bend offers a good view of what’s coming and going. The staff here are nice too and they recognized me. I spent a while here before deciding to find the Brahma Temple.
I kept making the wrong turn and tracking back until I finally found it. I got as far as the door and took the photo of the stairs leading up to it. Access is restricted it is a holy site. Only unmarried priests from a certain clan are allowed to venerate close to the place. It is however an important part of the town.
Lunchtime had long gone by this point and I decided to eat. I enjoyed my time at Out of the Blue and decided to go back. I sat all the way up on the top floor patio and waited a really long time for my food. It takes a while but everything is made from scratch. It imbues the place with a bohemian feel. I had a good session up there enjoying the view. The music played furthered the spacey ambiance with mellow electronic beats. I researched the best vantage point to see the sunset. The food was delicious once it arrived. Once finished I planned on wondering to a temple I spotted from my vantage point and then heading over to the photo spot.
I got a bit lost because the route I thought would work didn’t. I ended up finding the temple eventually but couldn’t take it much further. I had to find a way out and a young kid offered to show me. We listened to local music playing on his phone as the soundtrack to our journey through the back passages of his neighborhood. He got me pretty close to where I wanted to be. He didn’t even take any money that I offered him for his help. He said something about doing good deeds for people for nothing. I thanked him and shook his hand. His refusal to take the money took me by surprise a little bit. Most others in town would have taken the money with others asking you for some as well once they’ve seen your generosity.
I went through the ghat to the lake and proceeded to walk to my spot. I was taking photos as I walked along. I was trying to be discreet picking things carefully to frame. I noticed one of the priests following me as I approached the perfect vantage point for the sunset. I noticed the guidance to tourists regarding behavior around the lake which is essentially a holy place. I then noticed the “no photography” signs at which point the old man caught up with me. We engaged in conversation and he pointed through gesture that I’m also not supposed to be wearing shoes where I was. I got the feeling that I wasn’t going to get the time lapse I am hoping to get. I feel like I have to respect the place.
I ended up having another coffee at my favorite spot. There were still a few hours until sunset and I was having a few conversations on the go through different messenger services. I also started writing this post. I met up with Renault while leaving Out of the Blue. We were going to meet where the perfect vantage point for the sunset is.
As I got to the spot there he was walking along. We talked about our day. His was crazy as he was trying to book a ticket out of Pushkar. He had a crazy time at the train station involving a long wait for the one ticket that he found was available. We watched the people dancing and drumming. The drummers extracted a fee later as we sat drinking some fruity concoction. We were at the Sun Set Cafe but the one table we found had this view blocked by a young tree planted in its way. We also couldn’t log in with the password they provided us. This proved crucial as Renault was going to message someone he met online. We soon parted ways wishing each other a pleasant journey and I walked to meet up with Hari at our pre determined spot.