You make up your mind; you book your ticket, you arrive at the place. A backpack filled with all sorts of things. You read Lonely Planet’s Guide, you think you know everything about the place. You craft your plan like a craftsman, with no room for error. The bus departs, you take a comfortable window seat overlooking the Aravalli Ranges. You take your first step in the mythological town of Pushkar, suddenly there is a man with an orange dress and even brighter orange tilak.
Welcome to Pushkar!
The land of legends, temples, and 52 Ghats for every wish you have in your life. But what if you are not charmed by the mythology of Pushkar, the town will feel worthless, maybe?
After 4 days in Pushkar, I realized one thing that this town is much more than a mythological destination. There is some other connection which it builds with you, even if you don’t believe in its stories.
Best Time to Visit
Pushkar is a town that is alive all around the year. Thus it is visited by backpackers all around the year, but every human being has their preferences. Thus I will tell you the best part about every season, and leave it up to you to decide for the best time to visit.
November – February
Directly coming onto the most famous time to visit Pushkar, the winter season. In fact, the whole Rajasthan is preferred to be visited during this season. It saves you from the unbearable heat, and you can walk around all day long while exploring the state. In November, Pushkar brings out all of its colors in the Pushkar Mela. The fair is famous all around the world, thus tourist visit in large numbers. As quoted by a local “The size of the town gets tripled, and there will be no area without humans.”
The rates of hotels, hostels, cafes, souvenir, and even buses gets hiked up during this season. There will be very little possibility of finding accommodation on arrival without prior booking. Temperature is around 8-22 degrees celsius.
March – June
The summer season, the long dry days, with sun overlooking you as soon as you get out. Thandai is your best friend while walking through the streets of Pushkar, during summers. But the famous Pushkar Holi will provide joy in the torturing heat. The splash of Gulal on your face will leave a memory of a lifetime.
Thus the summer season is famous for its torture, and its holi. The no. of tourists will decrease dramatically. So if you are visiting during summers, then you will be able to look at Pushkar, in much of its raw form.
July – October
Well, we all love balance in any form, in everything. Thus the monsoon season is the most balanced season of Pushkar, with no world-events like Holi and camel fair. The town is busy in its daily life, the hotels/hostels are cheaper than at any time, the food is much more scrumptious. Ghats are much cleaner, and the Aravallis are much happier.
Pushkar receives light showers during the monsoon, thus the humidity shoots up a little bit. But the decrease of humans around you will make up for it. The days are much calmer, and the nights are much clearer. Hills around you will be confronted by clouds all day long, as you drive through the stories of Pushkar.
13 Things to Do
Now coming onto the main reason why you visited this blog. Things to do in Pushkar, especially if you don’t connect with mythology and spirituality.
1. Drive to Aloo Baba
A scenic 9 km drive to meet the mysterious Aloo Baba is one of the best thing to do in Pushkar. During your ride till there, you will be blessed by the peaks of Aravalli on either side of you containing all sorts of myths in them.
Aloo Baba is famous for his commitment to only eat potatoes for all his life. In his uncanny smile, he told me that it helps him during his concentration. He added, that he has one less thing to worry about, in comparison to me. After some minutes of conversation, he escorted me to a trail towards the hills behind his residence.
The real adventure starts beyond this point: the tranquility of Aravalli will hold you in its lap. If you want more information then read my blog on Drive towards Aloo Baba.
2. Hike to Savitri Temple
A temple overlooking the town of Pushkar; sitting on top of the hills. Only after a hike for about half an hour, you will reach the Savitri Temple. As soon as you look back after reaching the top there will be a sense of satisfaction in your heart. The view from the top is absolutely wonderful. You will be confronted by lots of langur on your way to the top so make sure you are going with someone.
The place is absolutely delight for a sunrise lover. Although you will have to wake up a little early than usual to enjoy the sunrise from the top of hill.
3. Eats the famous dishes of Pushkar
Now coming onto my favorite part of Pushkar. Whether it is good Italian, Continental, or Rajasthani food, you will find all of them in Pushkar. It is because of the big hippy movement which hit Pushkar during the 70s and 80s that there is a lot of western influence on the dishes in the streets. Here are some of my recommendation:
- Falafel at Ganga Laffa and Falafel: Directly coming with one of the best street food to eat in Pushkar. Right from the first bite, you are in for a very long ride, which in the end will be a battle. The shop is on the streets and the food is prepared in front of you. Be careful to protect your falafel from cows roaming around you.
- Kachori at Ugma ki Kachori: Kachori is probably the signature dish of Rajasthan, and if you are coming to Pushkar then you can’t miss out on Ugma ki Kachori. They serve dal kachori and make sure you get 2 for yourself because one will never be enough.
- Pizza at La Pizzeria: I told you already that you will find all sorts of good food in Pushkar. Thus Pizza also makes it space in the congested battle with the evergreen La pizzeria in Pushkar.
- Malpua at Laxmi Sweets: It is time for some sweet to hit your tongue. It comes in its best in the form of Malpua. A heavy sweet dish which has been floating in chashni for hours, and then served to you with shine all around it. Make sure to buy only 1, you will know the reason afterward for this advise.
Zomato has also opened its services in Pushkar. For all of you who don’t know Zomato is, I will leave a link for you to understand it.
4. Learn the Kalbeli dance from the legend itself
There is a hidden Basti in Pushkar, alongside the railway tracks which connect to different parts of Rajasthan. The hidden Basti has some of the most charming artists of the world-famous Kalbeli Dance. What better way to understand the dance by learning it fro them only. The living condition of the dancers is getting bad, day by day. Thus they teach their dance to outsiders on a pay what you like basis. You can spend the whole day with them and you won’t be bored with their stories.
I confronted them during my exploration of Pushkar for some of the interesting stories behind the commercialization of Pushkar. Read my blog on other stories as well.
5. Relax and watch the sunset from Jaipur Ghat
There are 52 ghats in Pushkar, and only one had the privilege of being marked on google as the sunset point. Jaipur Ghats is probably the biggest ghat around Pushkar Lake. Every evening all the tourists of Pushkar come here to watch the sunset either by sipping a coffee in sunset cafe or sitting ideally beside the Pushkar Lake.
6. Hike to Vishwamitra Waterfall
Vishwamitra waterfall is a hidden treasure of Pushkar, and it is not known even by many locals. You can only be blessed by the waterfall during the monsoon season, thus you have to be present during the right season to enjoy the experience. You will reach the waterfall after half an hour hike inside the hills of Pushkar. The feeling of taking a bath below the waterfall is spectacular.
Read my blog to know more about Vishwamitra Waterfall.
7. Talk to Locals
This will be certainly one of the most important things to do if you want to learn about Pushkar. Even though I wrote initially that what if you are not connected by myths and spirits. But if you are visiting a place and want to understand its society. You have to learn about its myths, which in Pushkar’s case are infinite.
The stories it carries within its colors are uncountable, but catch hold of some of them to learn about the place.
8. Nathu Lal Singh Nagada in Evening
Another little secret that only comes out in the evening on the Ghats of Pushkar. Nathu Lal Singh’s Nagada will carry you during the relaxing sunset of Pushkar. Generations of his family have been playing Nagada on the same spot for decades. You can visit him to even learn his art. His smile is another delightful thing which shimmers around the Pushkar Lake.
9. Hike to Pap Mochani Temple
A short hike of about 15 minutes will take you on the foot of Pap Mochani Temple. The breathtaking view from the top almost feels like a bargain to the amount of effort. As you hike up you will see a bright pink temple, along the way you will be confronted by many people sweating, laughing, or sleeping on the hill. From here you can see how the whole Pushkar is developed around the Pushkar Lake.
It is the best spot for watching the sunset in Pushkar, as you sit ideally to watch sun drown beneath the horizon. It will leave only its purple hue until you reach the Pushkar town.
10. Buy neon art from Shaitan Singh
Who knew that in the chaotic market will be a neon warrior, who only duel with his paintbrush. He eats, sleeps, and breathes with his colors. The world is his canvas, shiva is his inspiration, art is his life, and neon is his Kohinoor. This will be a fitting introduction to the neon artist Shaitan Singh Rawat. His paintings will catch your eyes even if you catch them by the slightest of margin. The finesse of his work is truly wonderful.
His art shop is near Brahma Temple, and even if you want to request someones else’s portrait, he will prepare them for you. If you are visiting Pushkar Market then do visit his Art Shop.
11. Dive into Yoga
The spiritual vibe of Pushkar welcomes the breeze for meditation and yoga. Traditionally Pushkar is known for its yoga centers. You can learn Yoga from the Gurus or learn by yourself and practice them around the Ghats of Pushkar.
12. Attend Pushkar Mela
What more should I say about this? Pushkar Mela is one of the events which is now famous all around the world. People arrive from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of this holy fair. The Mela runs for about 7 days, the whole Pushkar is filled by humans, cattle, and camels.
13. Visit Badi Pushkar
This one is more of an interesting activity to do, rather than exploring the much commercialized Pushkar. I will suggest you make out time for Badi Pushkar as well. It is a little offbeat and away from the tourist part of Pushkar. It gives you a glimpse of life in Pushkar before the eyes of Instagram stuck on it.
The tranquil hills in the region are best for you to escape the noise and chaos of Pushkar. Talk to the locals in the area and they will show you all around.
Where to stay in Pushkar
Pushkar is turning into a backpacking hub so there are many cheap stay options in Pushkar. But the main thing while choosing the accommodation is that you want to stay near the ghat/lake. This is the place with all the action and charm of the town. The cafes near the lake are awesome and you can visit many rooftop cafes around the area. I will only recommend hostels because I stayed in one and I don’t believe in spending too much on accommodation.
- Moustache Pushkar – It is a great choice to stay in Pushkar since the hostel is in the prime location and you don’t have to walk much for exploring. They have good beds, and great service to go along with it. Plus it is cheaper than other hostels in comparison. They even have a rooftop cafe overlooking the Pushkar lake.
- Zostel Pushkar, Madpackers Pushkar – Both of them are also good hostels in Pushkar, although I didn’t stay at both of them. But the ratings and reviews from previous guests were good enough.
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