Pushkar was our final destination in India for the famous camel festival. No cars are allowed in the town proper so Mr. Puri dropped us off at the hotel and we walked into the town to go to the famous Brahman temple (the only temple in India dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma or creator).
Something Goes Missing
As we walked into the town many people forcefully asked us to take flowers from them to dedicate to our family members when we went to the lake. This is another famous Indian ploy for tourists’ dollars as they then want to charge as much as 200 rupees PER family member or friend because “they’re worth it” as one fellow tourist told us. We politely said no and no and no again. We immediately noticed an “upping” of the pressure and brashness in the town as again and again we were approached.
When we finally reached the temple, E didn’t really want to see another temple so I took my sandals off and gave them to the attendant who put them in a numbered box. As I walked into the temple another man approached me pressuring me to take flowers even saying that I wasn’t respecting his culture if I did not. Again this is the dilemma you constantly face in India. He may have a point about respecting his culture (after all I’m taking my shoes off to respect his culture), but I also knew there would be a nice price tag to go with the acceptance (which somehow I don’t think is respecting overall culture in general). So I resisted and went into the temple with him yelling at me.
When I came out 15 minutes later my orthopedic Chaco sandals were “missing”. As I questioned the attendant he calmly looked at me and said, “the festival is happening and many people around – sometimes people take these. I cannot monitor everything”. The guy who before had tried to sell me a padlocked locker came up and said “should have gotten my locker” and many others just looked at me as I frantically searched the area for my sandals to no avail. We spent the next 20 minutes arguing about what happened, E even tried to “reward” a younger kid who worked there if he “found” the sandals. They finally took me to a local shop for “free sandals” which amounted to plastic flip-flops that could be had for around 100 rupees probably. (Later we watched a movie called “Outsourced” – which if you’ve been to India is a must-see – where I learned the acronym for INDIA – “I’ll Never Do It Again”)
The rest of my time in Pushkar was somewhat tainted by this last Indian dagger, but we did go and view the camel beauty contest and found a great restaurant, Little Italy, right near our hotel. Overall Pushkar seemed to be quite a bit more touristy than other places – probably because the fair was going on – but not one of my favorite places. We also found the camel festival to be somewhat camel scarce in our opinion and the famous Pushkar lake also was nearly dry because of a botched engineering project to clean it up. Overall not our favorite Indian place but definitely an “experience” (experience is often the word we get from other travelers when they describe their visit to India!)