Travel Guide Asia India Rajasthan Pushkar



Pushkar is in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan and is a very holy place centred around a lake. It might not suit all travellers tastes when it is absolutely mobbed during the annual Camel Fair, but it has a special magic particularly down at the holy lake at sundown. It is a meat, egg and alcohol free zone officially, but there are some nice rooftop vegetarian cafes and restaurants to browse.

Probably the downside is that drugs are readily available to supply the certain kind of backpacker scene. I suppose this is an upside for some people too! The lake is circled by many temples and ghats where the locals and pilgrims from afar gather at the waters edge to take 'puja'or bathe. There is a near contsant cycle of worship and celebration around the lake. It can be a bit hectic at times for tourists who are cajoled and often bullied to pay large sums to make a blessing at the lake. Just go with the flow and play the game, only donate what you want to donate and then you will receive your 'Pushkar Passport':a red thread wound around your wrist to show that you have been through the almost compulsory ritual. Only then will you be able to fend off others trying to persuade you to take puja and your transit around the lake will become easier.

Perhaps the real bonus is that it is somewhere that you can largely explore on foot. You can do a complete circle around the lake if, you follow the right route, which is so beautiful in some lights and extremely atmospheric in the early morning.

Pushkar is a strange and exotic mix of mostly Hindu pilgrims, Sadhus, 'camel men', hippie style back-packers. Cows, pigs, goats and dogs and perhaps the odd peacock or donkey will also roam the streets. In Pushkar as in other parts of Rajasthan, you get that lovely contrast of neon-bright saris and turbans against blue-washed and white-washed buildings and almost glowing in contrast against the desert colours.

The camel men have such character with their big curly moustaches and turbans, with surprisingly white dhotis revealing brown legs and curly toed camel leather slippers.The camels have a lot of personality too! You can easily book a short sunset camel safari locally. It can be great fun just trying to get on and off your camel with some dignity and it is possible to get a little taste of the desert and climb a decent sand dune too. If you don't have the time to head all the way out to Jaisalmer this gives you a taste of camel trekking without having to get blisters where you really do not want them!

If it is not too hot you can while away hours on the streets, at the market stalls and small shops and cafes. Perhaps have a go at some yoga or just retreat to a roof top to watch the constant procession of colourful people and creatures.



Events and Festivals

Pushkarfestival - one of the biggest camel fairs in the world.
Thousands of people during this day go to the banks of the Pushkar Lake where the fair takes place and where livestock livestock, including camels, cows, sheep and goats, is sold. A camel race marks the start off the festival, and music, songs and exhibitions are held throughout the day.
Although the dates of Pushkar Fair depend upon the movement of the moon, traditionally it mostly falls in November.
It falls on the day of Poornima (full moon night) in the month of Karthika. On this day, according to legend, the Hindu god Brahma sprung up the lake, so thousands of Hindu devotees take dip in the Pushkar lake, washing away the sins. The water of the lake is believed to have healing properties.





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Keep Connected


There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.


India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 26.5
  • Longitude: 74.55

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