Pushkar is unlike anywhere else in Rajasthan. This small, yet enchanting town has the right mix of mysticism, religious fervour, and magnetism that causes backpackers and new-age types to linger here for weeks, if not months. The town itself encircles a holy lake, thought to have been created when Lord Brahma vanquished a demon, Vajranash, using a lotus flower. The lotus flower fell to the ground, creating Pushkar lake. Even to this day, the town contains one of the world’s only Brahma temples, making it a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town that devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lives. Although Brahma may be the focus of much of the town’s devotion, there are actually 52 bathing ghats and 400 pastel blue temples surrounding the lake meaning that the town hums and vibrates to the constant sound of chanting, drumming and incense-fuelled puja. As magical as this sounds, Pushkar did leave me feeling a little cold. The town is heavily touristic, with one long bazaar stretching the entire length of the lake, selling trinkets, tat, and elephant print trousers. It was one of the few places in India that I felt hassled and harangued. Or at least the only place where it was enough to irritate me. Despite the commercialism, abundance of ‘beg-packers‘ and occasional scam-artists, the town is still so unique in Rajasthan that you cannot miss it from your itinerary.

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