As I walked into the train, the eyes of cultural folk met me by the seat. Each wearing a multicoloured turban and carrying a proudly rounded mustache on their face. Little did I realise the spiritual trip I was embarking upon.
Pushkar (a city in India) has this magic. It has this enchantment where it can attract and absorb soulful people from across the globe. Be it the cultural simplicity, colourful festivities, or spiritual depth, it offers an ideologue with oneself. No wonder people from the world over find themselves en route to this city in the process of self-discovery.
Do not get me wrong, every town or city has its positives and negatives, whether it be the harrowing dark streets of Pushkar or the deafening silence late at night. However, the welcoming vibe that the people of this city have to offer is unparalleled. One step into the central market you will encounter colourful shops competing for your attention, yet they unite under a spiritual umbrella to extend support to one another. This was my realisation one evening while conversing with a shopkeeper:
“How much is this shawl for?” I enquired.
“Only 1200 rupees!” came the response.
Not in the mood to bargain, I told him that I would visit his shop tomorrow and turned head to make my way when came a polite response which caught my attention: “Please feel free, whenever you visit buy it from anyone in the market. I want you to remember the goodness of the people here, not the competitiveness.”
This would have been brushed away as a one-off incident had it not been recurring (every alternate shop). At a time when commercial competition albeit capitalism is at its peak, there lies a global destination with a laid-back soul.
As per the mythology, when Lord Brahma (one of the three major Indian gods) slew a demon named Vajranabha, three petals from his flower (a lotus) fell on earth. One such petal fell where there is the Pushkar lake, giving birth to the lore and name of the city- Pushkar. The name itself is a combination of two Sanskrit words – Pushpa (meaning flower) and Kar (meaning hand), translating to the flower that fell from the hands of a god.
As much I contest mythologies, I must concur, it must be the spirit of Brahma that when you sit by the lake, it is not the people that you observe but the celebratory spirit around you. Alas, only if taking a dip in the waters of this holy land could wash away one’s sin, the world would have been a better place. Needless to say, the lake is not that clean either.
Meanwhile, if not for the camels or cultural fair, I would urge you to visit Pushkar for its deeply rooted spirituality and soulfulness.
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