Madam, do you want a guided tour of the world's only Brahma temple. I'll show you the temple and tell you its story." I looked up from my lafa falafel (an Israeli street food item), amidst the busy street, to be greeted by the local lingo of a tout. I politely refused and walked down barefoot to the ghats of the holy Pushkar lake, revered by hippies and locals alike. As the crystal clear waters of the lake captured the crimson sunset, I could hear the nagadas (Indian drums) in the background.
Ancient texts refer to Pushkar as the centre of the world, and every year, thousands of tourists and believers come to take a dip in the holy waters on Kartik Purnima. If you are a nature lover, there is plenty to keep you busy for a week. Trek up to Savitiri Mata's temple on the Ratnagiri hill for a panoramic view of the place. During the day, take a drive through the lush green countryside and risk falling in love with the aamla orchards, pea farms and the sweet smelling rose farms. By the evening, experience royalty on a camel cart, and enjoy the expanse of the desert by the full moon. Take back from here the purest gulkand and rose water, itr (Indian perfume), incense sticks, Aamle ka murabba, clothes (Pushkar is a hub for garment exports), multi-coloured costume jewellry and silver belts, and, hand-woven shawls.
But just as scenic and peaceful it is during the day, the city transforms itself into a night club come sunset. Tourists throng in large numbers, adding a unique flavour to the city with their 'chai and chappati'. The local music is a connoisseur's delight, with streets filled with the sounds of foreigners singing bhajans in 'accent'. Satya pari, Prem Joshua, Tibetan incantations and even Pink Floyd is a hit here!
How to get there: The best way to get there is by road. It's 356 Km from Delhi on the NH-8. The closest airport is Jaipur. You can also take the Ajmer Shatabdi and take a bus ride to the main city, which is about a 11km drive.
Accommodation: You can get a double room starting anywhere from Rs1,000-Rs1,500 (Plus taxes).
Best time to visit: The best season to visit Pushkar is between November to March as the famous camel fair takes place during this time. It's best to go by March as after that the region gets too hot to enjoy.
Useful tips: Don't forget to carry light woolens as it tends to get chilly once the sun goes down. Beware of local tauts and con men!