Pushkar &
the Camel Fair 
पुष्कर & ऊंट उचित
"marvelous camera-clicking spectacle of colour, sounds, sights and experiences"
 
 
Images of  India -  PUSHKAR & THE CAMEL FAIR  - by Travel Tales
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
ACCOMMODATION:

Atithi Guest House
Address:
Just off Highway 89, only 500m (6 min walk) to Pushkar Lake
Phone:
    M: 0091-9829097973  L: 0091-(145)-2772503
Email:       pappuin@hotmail.com
Website:  http://www.atithiguesthouse.com

Travelin'Ted review for Trip Advisor:
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

During the annual Pushkar Fair decent accommodations are hard to come by and many establishments in the area increase their prices substantially. Atithi’s prices were increased by a factor of 5 during the Fair but still modest by comparison and they had rooms available.

If you consider Aththi’s short comings as “funky”; if you arrive without expectation and with the right attitude, you may see value in staying at Atithi; however, if you are looking for decent accommodations and thoughtful service you will be disappointed.

No matter which room you book it will require stair climbing.

ROOM 107 (same layout as the one below on ground floor) had 2 short beds pushed together, a small cabinet, two oversized heavy chairs and a coffee table too big for the space but praised by the owner, Pappu, as befitting a princess. The bathroom, which also serves as the full shower, had an extremely small unanchored sink which when touched, threatened to pull away from the wall. The size of the sink was in keeping with the dribble of water which came from the single tap. When we asked Pappu he said, “Turn it hard three times to the right”; when we did, we saw little difference. To get hot water we ran the shower tap into a handled cup and transfer it to the sink.

ROOM 106 was smaller in size with one reclining wood slat chair taking up precious space. The biggest drawback was the miniature size of the bathroom (serving as the full shower) which had no door. The bathroom floor is higher than the bedroom so any water from the shower flowed over the step like a waterfall and spread out into the bedroom. Similarly, when the sink was used the same occurred as the sink’s drain went down a pipe onto the floor. The room, when we arrived, did not have a light bulb in any of the sockets. We asked for lights and Pappu, after being asked a second time, obliged us with only one. We had to ask for towels for both rooms.

On the second day, after listening to his account of a terrible guest (his description) who complained about her room (no towels, no toilet paper) and saying all she had to do is ask, we asked for toilet paper and suggested rather than keeping it on a shelf in the café, it might be a good idea to have a roll by the toilet in each room. He scoffed at the idea.

Apart from peeling paint, crumbling structure and unkept décor (our photos are kinder than reality), the room’s floors and sheets appeared clean, however, at checkout we noticed one of our 2 rooms was occupied again within minutes of our vacating it.

The “café”, also run by owner Pappu, has limited selection (despite the length of the menu) dependent on his choice of supplies and the on again, off again electricity (as the electricity goes so goes wifi access). Pappu’s banana pancake was tasty but slowly made and delivered to the table one at a time. On several occasions, Pappu expressed his unhappiness with guests, especially during the Pushkar Fair.

On a positive note the location of Atithi Guest House was acceptable; within a 10-15 minute walk of nearly any destination in the small town. Outside of Pushkar Fair time the low accommodation rates are probably in keeping with what you receive for your money.

Would we recommend Atithi Guest House? Under Pushkar Fair conditions perhaps, yes, with cautions as stated. Would we book into Atithi Guest House if we were to go to Pushkar again? I would seek out alternatives first.


   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
SIGHTSEEING:
Many temples and Ghats around Pushkar Lake, which mythology says was made by Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. Pushkar holds the most prominent Brahma temple.

Pushkar is a small, walkable, intimate town with friendly people which host a number of festivals throughout the year.  

BE AWARE - and beware - of the “Puskhar Passport” scam. As with any place which attracts visitors, there will be people who want to part those visitors from their money. The 'Puskar Passport' usually goes something like this:  While walking Market Street someone will give you a flower or a flower petal; and so the scam begins.  Later a man will ‘befriend’ you (some even passing themselves off as “priests”), usually on a Ghat or close by.  They encourage you to experience a blessing (a customary tradition for newcomers they explain).  Next they separate your party with other 'priests' and begin the lakeside rituals.  “Repeat after me,” they tell you and lead you through a series of words/sounds.  They will ask you who you want to pray for … the more the merrier … because later they will up “the donation” for each person.  The amount they suggest, or demand, is exorbitant, leaving plenty of bargaining room which still extracts money from you.  It’s a scam.  If you are aware, you can either reject their offer of the experience at the beginning, or enjoy it and give them what you think appropriate for the experience of watching them “work”.  If they get annoying, start causing a scene yourself or suggest calling for the police and they will quickly disappear.

   



















































FOOD & DRINK:

food ...
To the palate of many Westerners, the highly flavourful, spiciness of Indian cuisine can be unagreeable.  But even for those who prefer a blander diet, India is still doable.
 
India's population has the lowest individual consumption of meat in the world and animal based ingredients, other than milk products and honey, are seldom used in traditional dishes.  Ghee (clarified butter) is the traditional cooking medium.   For the traveller who wants their animal protein most restaurants have meat options unless they advertise themselves as vegetarian.  Most popular meats are chicken, lamb and goat as religious practices forbid beef products to Hindus and pork to Muslims.  Finding truly fresh fish in Northern India may be challenging.  In place of animal protein most of India turns to dhal (curried lentils or pulses).   Yogurt and other dairy products also play a big part in providing protein.

If a steady diet of Indian spices and dhal are not appealing the traveller will find, on most menus, an oriental style noodle dish with influences from Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.  

In Northern India, flat bread and rice are the staple starches.  Bread, more commonly referred to as roti and chapati (the latter being a thinner unleavened, whole-wheat version).  They are often used as a vehicle to get food, such as dhal, from plate to mouth.  

Vegetables are plentiful and inexpensive.  Other than in American style hotels, salads are a rarity and the savvy traveller would be best to avoid anything which is not cooked or, in the case of fruit, peeled.

Vegetable pakoras are a popular finger food in India and can be ordered spicy or non-spicy.  Made from chickpea flour and a variety of vegetables, then deep fried, pakoras are a tasty option for the non-spicy traveller and can be accompanied by yogurt or sweet & sour sauce for dipping.

For some excellent recommendations on restaurants consult a Lonely Planet guidebook - money well spent.


drink ...

It is advisable for travellers in India to consume only bottled water.  A nice change, when available, is bottled carbonated water.  Buying water in large two litre bottles from a small vendor is usually the least expensive.  With the proprietor watching check the cap to ensure it is sealed.

Chai (tea) is a much consumed beverage often accompanied by heaps of sugar and generous pours of milk.  Although tea is by far the most popular drink, coffee is gaining in acceptance. 

Street stands offering fresh squeezed juices can seem tempting however lax hygiene practices - reusing cups which have been sloshed through a basin of tepid water - can ruin a vacation.

Lassi is a traditional drink of blended yogurt and water available 'savory' or 'sweet'.  The savory contains spices such as ground roasted cumin, whereas, sweet is made with sugar, honey or fruit.   Sweet lemon, a variety of citrus, tastes more like orange to Western taste buds than lemon.
   







































GETTING AROUND:

Train travel is a great way to experience India.  Day travel will allow you to see the countryside as it whizzes (sometime plods) by.  Night travel can get you to where you are going and provide an inexpensive place to sleep. If you have limited time in India it may be best to make reservations prior to leaving your home country.  

For valuable information and helpful hints check out:
www.seat61.com/India.htm
Indian Railways www.indianrail.gov.in
Lonely Planet India 
Note:   There are very convincing scam artists at railway station entrances ready to 'help' you by telling you the ticket office for foreigners has changed locations, after which they put you in a rickshaw and then hop in for the ride to their 'travel office' some distance away.  The real foreign office was exactly where it should be, inside the railway station.

The motorized auto-rickshaw provides an exhilarating experience and offers a wonderful way to get around a city while affording some protection from the elements.  The driver is supposed to use a meter but generally a bartering exchange is carried out before you get in ... if the price is not agreed to BEFORE the cost at the end of the ride could be substantial.  We were often able to squeeze four people and four backpacks into an auto-rickshaw. 

Bicycle-rickshaws offer a slower paced view of a city and are good for short distances. They have limited protection from poor weather.  The pedal-drivers work hard for their money. 

Taxis are best for longer distances, wet weather conditions or for transporting  over-luggaged tourists. Like the auto-rickshaws, taxis have meters which are seldom used. Before getting in, or putting luggage in the trunk, agree on the total cost to get to your destination.

Threatening to get another cab or rickshaw usually either "fixes" the meter or lowers the price. If your hotel offers to make transportation arrangements for you, it may be cheaper to decline and walk out to the street and flag down a rickshaw or taxi. 

If you like your driver you can make arrangement to have him pick you up at another time and/or place; most often they will be there, particularly if you paid them fairly or tipped above the agreed price.  For sightseeing you can arrange to be taken from place to place for the day at an agreed price payable at the conclusion of the day's travels. Drivers may also be a good source of information as to where to go and what to see.
Photo by Bernard Gagnon
Photos by Thorne  www.traveltales.ca
Photos by THORNE  www.traveltales.ca
Photo by THORNE   www.traveltales.ca
Photos by THORNE   www.traveltales.ca
Photos by THORNE   www.traveltales.ca
Photos by THORNE   www.traveltales.ca
Photos by THORNE   www.traveltales.ca