Want To Know More About Pushkar, Rajasthan, India?
Uma and Vinod Wanchoo, who live in Pushkar,
Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of sketchandtravel.com is pleased to have as our guests Uma and Vinod Wanchoo, who live in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.
Uma is a geography teacher in a well-known private school in India and Vinod is in marketing. They are the owners of Wanchoo's Kamp Site and they are here today to tell us something about Pushkar, Rajasthan India.
Good day Uma and Vinod and thank you for participating in our interview.
Could you tell our readers where is Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, something about its people, climate and tourist industry?
Uma and Vinod:
Pushkar is located in Rajasthan, a state in the western part of India. The place can be called a green belt in The Thar or The Great Indian Desert. It is surrounded by one of the oldest ranges in the world-The Arravallis. The nearest city, Ajmer, is 15 kms, well- known for the shrine of Muslim Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Garib Nawaj. Ajmer is the most revered place for a Muslim after Mecca/Medina.
The legend goes that a lotus flower fell from the hands of Lord Brahma and the holy lake of Pushkar was created. In Sanskrit, the word PUSHP means a FLOWER and KAR stands for HANDS hence, the name Pushkar.
It is the only place in the world that has a Brahma Temple. It is believed that Lord Brahma selected Pushkar for a religious ceremony called a Yagya. He was waiting for Savitri, his wife, to join him. The auspicious time for the ceremony was ticking by and his wife did not appear. So, Lord Brahma married a local girl to perform the Yagya. Seeing this, Savitri got furious and cursed her husband that he would not be worshipped anywhere else, but here. The holy lake also attracts many a devout Hindus, who believe that taking a dip in the holy lake would cleanse them of all sins. After someone dies, the ashes of the person can also be immersed in the holy lake, per Hindu rites.
The main day of the Fair coincides with the full moon day of Kartik month (approximately November). The dates change every year as the Indian calendar follows the lunar cycle. On the main day called the Brahm Mahurat, or auspicious time, a large number of devout Hindus takes a dip in the holy lake early morning.
How did you become interested in owning a camp site? How long have you owned your site and where exactly is it located?
Uma and Vinod:
A swimming pool and changing rooms were added in 2003, and as we were encouraged by the response we received and pitched tents in 2004.
Presently, we have 4 large tents that accommodate double beds, and come attached with W/C. There are also 3 tents of single occupancy, without W/C. The showers and bathrooms are located nearby. We open the place from September to March (depending on the weather). Also, we are now living on the farm.
Our Kampsite is 3 kms from Pushkar, in a village called Bagolai on Dev Nagar Road. We provide transportation for our guests from Ajmer, as well as from the Pushkar Bus Stand. It is the only tented accommodation for nearly 7 months in a year. Our tariff includes breakfast and to and fro transport to Pushkar, but the other meals can be requested in advance and paid separately. Our specialty is authentic Kashmiri cuisine. Our tariff is very reasonable: $15 dollars per person, per day, and $35 during the Pushkar Fair. What our guests have most appreciated about our place is the peace and quiet at the end of an active day spent in Pushkar or Ajmer.
How does one travel to Pushkar from Europe or North America?
Uma and Vinod:
Regular international flights come to Mumbai and Delhi, which are close to Pushkar. Reaching Pushkar from both these cities is relatively easy and comfortable. Train is the cheapest means of transport.
Ajmer is the rail head for Pushkar and four major trains cross this city coming from Delhi, Mumbai. More information about the trains can be found at: Indian Rails Online.
It is easier to reach Pushkar by road from Delhi. The distance between the two places is about 422 kms. Private and government buses ply between the two places. AC coaches and deluxe buses for Jaipur are also available from Inter State Bus Terminius near Kashmiri Gate and from Bikaner House near India Gate in Delhi. There is a bus for Ajmer every 15 minutes from Jaipur and the same from Ajmer to Pushkar. The frequency of ordinary buses is more. Car travel is faster as it takes about 6 to 7 hours from Delhi to Pushkar.
What is there to do in and around Pushkar?
Uma and Vinod:
As Pushkar is a holy place, it has more than 365 big and small temples. The main ones are Brahma temple, Old and New Rangji temple, Savitri temple, and Shiv temple.
The mail street is a shopping paradise, from clothes to silver jewelry to antiques, incense sticks, local rose water, and paintings. The Baijnath temple, Panch Kund, sand dunes, camel safaris, camel cart rides, folk music, application of herbal henna, and hiking on the surrounding hills are other options available.
Ajmer has a ample to offer. The Shrine of the Muslim Saint, Ana Sagar Lake, Bara Dari, Foy Sagar Lake, Taragarh Fort, Mayo College, Jain Temple, and Akbars Fort are some of the main attractions.
It is a lesser known fact that the foundation of the British Empire was laid here. The British emissary, Sir Thomas Roe, from the court of James I, came to Ajmer to seek permission to start the East India Company from the then Emperor Jehangir, who resided here. 30 kms from Ajmer is Tilonia, where there is a Social Welfare Research Centre, started by an NGO called as The Barefoot College.
If you had to choose six of the most romantic venues in and around Pushkar, which ones would you choose and why?
Uma and Vinod:
***BAIJNATH TEMPLE: A quiet place hidden in a hilly area with a small spring flowing close by.
***DESERT LANDMARK: After sunset the sand dunes are cool and compelling. Especially on a full moon night, it is a sight to behold.
***PUSHKAR LAKE: In the evening, the view of sunset on the lake and the bells ringing from the surroundings temples leave you spellbound.
***PRITHVI RAJ SMARAK: In Ajmer, this serene garden on a hilltop gives an excellent view of the city on one side and the Arravalli hills on the other.
***BARA DARI: These marble embankments on the Ana Sagar Lake remind you of the glory of the Moghul Emperors who lived here in the past. A walk along the embankments, just looking at the ripples in the water or a boat ride is pure joy.
***HAPPY VALLEY: A beautiful valley hidden among the hills and trees. A lively place to be in as the name suggests.
How safe is it to travel around Pushkar?
Uma and Vinod:
It is fairly safe to travel around Pushkar. There have been a few unpleasant incidents, but they are not the norm. One has to be careful and understand the culture of the country. In small towns there is still segregation between the two sexes. Fair skin always attracts attention, unknowingly. It is necessary to wear clothes that cover you well, especially young single girls. A cordial distance should be maintained from the male members of the society and to not be gullible. It is sometimes a challenge for a person from the West. Pushkar is certainly not Goa, a beach resort. It is a holy place and certain social norms have to be taken into consideration. At times things have gone out of proportion due to media publicity, but we can assure you that Rajasthan is by far the safest state in north India.
Could you tell our readers what to expect in the way of lodging and dining in and around Pushkar? How expensive is it?
Uma and Vinod:
There are hotels that suit every budget. The range is from $3 in a rented room with hardly any facilities to a good hotel, which can cost anywhere around $25-30. The expensive ones can cost around $40-50. The rates for the winter months and the Pushkar Fair are different for each hotel.
The food served in Pushkar is only vegetarian and no liquor is allowed. Popular dining areas are Sunset Café, Honey n Spice, and many a shops on the main market street that offer multi cuisine menus. Most places are not very expensive-a sumptuous meal can be bought for around $3 and it can go up to $15 in an expensive restaurant. These are all approximate rates and only a few hotels and eateries are mentioned.
When is the best time to visit your area?
Is there anything else you care to comment on that we have not covered?
Uma and Vinod.
Check out OUR WEBSITE for more information.
Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge about Pushkar.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norm Goldman is the Editor of the Book Reviewing & Author Interviewing site bookpleasures.com. Bookpleasures.com comprises over 30 international reviewers that come from all walks of life and that review all genre. Norm also offers an Express Review Service. You can find out more about this service by referring to the Express Review Section