Pushkar_Rajasthan

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A drive on the surprisingly improved Rajasthan highways left me with glimpses of barren landscapes seldom dotted with bursts of colour lent by traditionally clad women and eclectically painted trucks. Mid-way to Pushkar, I finally managed to capture one of these frames while waiting at a tea stall where the aroma of local street food – vadas and kachoris made sure every passes by knew that they were in Rajasthan.

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Mythology positions Pushkar at a very important crux of Hinduism with its creation associated to have been by Brahma – the Creator and its ponds being courtesy the tears of Shiva – the destroyer. These associated religious significances have resulted in hundreds of temples having mushroomed across the city since the 14th century. Even today the temple town holds annual fairs and celebrations attracting millions of devotees and a number of tourists as well. The neighbouring islamic pilgrimage of Ajmer adds to local visitors and also to the holiness and sanctity of the region.

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My winter visits proved successful finding some water in these holy tanks which are largely dry or artificially irrigated given the desert like conditions arounds. White and beige temples, houses and havelis clamber down the steps/Ghats leading to these tanks almost generating a homogeneity in this organic growth. Women dressed in festive coloured sarees, men dressed in crisp white kurtas and flocks of pigeons add the life and activity to the place. Priests running up and down the stairs add to the commotion as they coax the pilgrims into performing extensive rituals towards the various deities, the sun and the water gods and often towards their spouses also.

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If the lake front is combed with temples, so is the inland with more elaborate religious complexes and organisations. The narrow streets, often not wide enough for even a four-wheeler are always alive with Rajasthani crafts and food. Polka dotted orange turbans, earthy leather bags, patterned printmaking blocks, piles of coloured powders and aromatic spices make up the Pushkar markets.

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The wrinkles on the old mans face, the crumbling facades and the musicians song, all have a story to tell. Singing folklores and religious hymns, the local artists lend a surreal charm to Pushkar and Rajasthan and successfully carry on the rich tradition of the region which we as urban residents have left behind in these places where we come from. My visits to Rajasthan tend to take a retrospective note and think about what I have left behind, a imaginative note on what these princely regions would have been like and an appreciative note as to how the heritage still prevails.

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A long due post, this brings back memories of cherished holidays and family celebrations with the hope for many more. Closing this one with a thank you note to a buddy for pushing me to keep working on these snippets from my travels.

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Copyright Abhimanyu Prakash

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~ by abhimanyuprakash on July 3, 2014.

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