Please be careful, particularly women travellers.
As you may know, lassi is a favourite drink in India which is yoghurt based. It is delicious. However, in Pushkar, a local variation on this drink is called Bang Lassi. Basically a lassi with loads of dope etc in it. It is "weapons grade" and people we have spoken to who have had it, all tell us about the amount of days they lost after having it.
It has been known for some shopkeepers and waiters to give women customers this super-charged version of lassi instead of the regular one, and then the women have been sexually assaulted.
Please be careful. Pushkar is an amazing place, don't put yourself in danger by being tempted to try some.
Now cows are holy - AND they are aware of that, meaning they do what they want, even taking a rest in the middle of the main road, so that the cars have to see how to get around them.
BUT it can get quite dangerous when two bulls start quarreling for the same girlfriend (yeah, since the bible it is always the same reason for bad blood - wars started and kingdomswere destroyed because of.....ok, we get off topic now). Ok, but these two bulls were already famous for destroying complete stands on the market (according to locals) and you dont really want to get between these two fellows, do you?
But if you have the bad luck to stand in a narrow alley when these bulls meet.........
This is a very big problem in Pushkar, moreover in the Gaths area or in the old city part.
Everyone will offer you every kind of drugs, simply avoid them and there will be no problem.
There is no reason to get worried about that...simply take it easy...
The Savitri Temple is located on top of the Ratnagiri Hill which is about 1km south-west of the lake. I got to the top after climbing the hill for about an hour and there's a little snack shop selling drinks and snacks. I bought a packet of biscuits and sat down at some plastic chairs and started eating them. All of a sudden, along came a very large monkey who startled the living daylights out of me and who was, of course, after my biscuits. I leaped up and chased him away with one of the plastic chairs. In fact I through it at him and made a roaring sound to get the message across that his company wasn't wanted! Be warned that these monkeys are big and can attack you without warning.
It happends a very strange thing to me.
I book the bus ticket for the route Pushkar – Jaipur and I paid normally the rate.
Once we were dropping on the bus, the man told us “you do have to pay for looking forward your bags”…and what tha hell does it mean?!
So, despite the normal rate they will ask you for some Rupee for looking forward your bags…When this will happen, DO NOT pay anything and go stra8 to the manager, he will settle the matter…
The main attraction of Pushkar is his holy Lake,fullfilled of Gaths and people praying. Is a very beautifull place to visit, but keep in mind to bring respect. Remember you must remove your shoes before you reach this sacred lake (at least 15 metres) and not allowed to take photographs of the pilgrims bathing and worshiping in the ghats.
If you travel by camel cart you won't be going very fast. As such, you will get people walking along with you either trying to sell you something or beg.
However, on 2 occassions I caught people trying to steal from me as I was travelling on one. One of them even tried to pull the trainer off my foot!!!
Good fun though, and don't let it put you off...just keep an eye on your stuff.
If there is one thing you have to learn as quick as possible is this: Bargain! Regaurding whatever, from stuff, to food, to drinks to also the Guesthouses. When somebody is asking 100, you gotta pay not more then 30!
There are only few items that has a fix prices, like BIRI, which costs 5Rs!!!
Reguarding tghe GH you should not ask for the 30% of the inquiry, but for sure go down to the first price called by the owner.
The Savitri Temple is located on top of the Ratnagiri Hill which is about 1km south-west of the lake. The hill is about 750ft high and is quite a hard climb to the top which can be undertaken by following a path and then steps up to the top. It took me an hour to reach the top but it's well worth it. Take my advice and make the climb in the late afternoon when the sun is beginning to set as it bathes the lake in a fine orange glow.
I am not saying don't have a blessing by the lake - however I will say be careful of the water. Part of the blessing is to dip your fingers in the water and annoint yourself with it. I'm sure this is fine, but I would really strongly recommend when the holy man says "touch your eyes with the water" that you don't!
I have never seen water so poluted in my life. Through my kayaking over the years I have paddled in the most poluted rivers the UK has - but these have nothing on Pushkar Lake. It was bright green and looked thick! Like washing up liquid!
You might experience some shortish powercuts whilst staying in India. However, be warned that Pushkar, and a lot of other places in Rajasthan, have daily powercuts that last a couple of hours. Pushkar's last 2 hours between 9am and 11am. I never quite understood the reason behind them so if anyone can shed some light on it then let me know!
The people of Pushkar are hell bent on travelers following their rules. Some seem a bit ridiculous, but so many travelers have been really negligent in behaving themselves that the rules are now posted all over town.
The last thing we saw about this "rule breaking" was a Sweedish woman who went skinny dipping in the holy lake. She said that the priest said it would be okay. If you know Indian customs, you would know that that is an absurd statement. The girl was arrested.
As usual our sly guide excused himself midway to Pushkar saying that another guide will take over for this tour to Pushkar.
The new guide was a local and had connections with syndicates that offer prayers for your ancestors at the Lake, and demand exorbitant sums with threats that giving poorly will effect your future prospects. When we approached the lake to have a look , a troop of imposters just marched towards us with much approval from our new found guide and announced that it is good to pray and that the fee would be only a token sum.
Family members were separated to conduct individual poojas even to pray to the same ancestors?? We played along just to see how far they would go and found that the impostors could not even chant basic mantras properly! And then made a token sum and exited while being threatened with ill luck and misfortune . Later , some members of the tour who gave much more than others ( range of contribution 100-1500 rupees) confronted our sly tour guide for setting us up, but he just smiled and said "'You shouldn't have given, nobody forced you!'
YUP that the way things are here , be warned , live and learn.
So when you walk through the streets in Pushkar you have to be aware that there will be a lot of young men trying to convince you to go with them to the lake so you can be blessed. Be aware though that the holy person will try and get you to repeat several phrases in Hindi which will basically mean you owe them some money- the amount of rupees varies. After they get you to give them your money they will tie a string around your wrist. This means in theory they will leave you alone from then on. But that doesnt mean they wont try again! I recommend avoiding this situation at all cost. It is never a good idea to follow strangers anyway even if you can see the lake at the end of the path.