I woke up after a good night's sleep when Vasu told me that the guide Vicky had promised us was already here. I quickly got dressed and off we went with Ras Parasher for an early morning tour to the Brahma temple. Now Vela Resort is right behind the Brahma temple, a wonderful spot to be in if you are going to Pushkar.
And the program for this year's mela.
This temple they say is the only Brahma temple in the world and no pujas etc are offered here. Lord Brahma's idol is installed here with Gayatri Devi, his second wife. Which brings us to his first wife. Parasher told us that Lord Brahma's first wife was Saraswati (as South Indians call her he said) also called Savitri by North Indians. So at this time of the great yagna Narada went and told Goddess Savitri the wrong time thereby causing her to miss the time so Lord Brahma, not wanting to miss the yagna time which would not come for many decades and centuries, asked Gayatri to sit by his side for the yagna. Savitri was miffed at this and went up and stayed atop a hill nearby where there is a Savitri mandir, still miffed with Lord Brahma. I could not understand how Narada got away with so much mischief that caused so much trouble. And how the gods missed such stuff. Aren't they supposed to be gods?
|Vasu and Ras Parasher ji on way to the Brahma Temple
|Arrangements for the inauguration at the Brahma Sarovar
|Red carpeted Brahma ghat
|Vasu giving his offerings
Anyway we went around the mandir and then we came out to go to the Brahma Sarovar. This is the Pushkar lake which is famous for its healing powers and its centuries old heritage. Much religious import is attached to this lake. The lake has 52 ghats and 52 gates leading to each ghat and since it is not too big, doing a parikrama of this lake is not too much of a hassle. But hey, today is the big day when the Pushkar Mela is going to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at 4 pm. They told us that the police will start blocking the roads off and it may not be easy to move around after that. I think that put paid to any plans I had about going back to Ajmer - the barricades were already up.
|A view of the Brahma Sarovar
|Check out the plastic flowers
|No shortage of colour in Rajasthan
At the Brahma Sarovar red carpets were laid out and tacky decorations made with plastic swans and plastic flowers - all very nice. It looked like the town had geared up for the CM (but we decided it was for us). Ras took us and told us that it is very important that we do pujas there for our ancestors and there were three pujas - simple one (5 minutes), little more complex (ten minutes) and really long (an hour). He suggested we do the minimum. Though we had not bargained for this we bought a coconut and some stuff for 20 bucks from a desultory kid there. Then Ras took us to the priest who quickly convinced Vasu and Abhinay to do the 2000 buck puja. I somehow felt rather scammed and insisted that all I needed was gurujis blessings and that was that. They still scammed me for 100 bucks saying that the coconut has to be deposited at some place -and that guy will take the coconut and a donation. He took my 100 bucks and when I asked for a receipt he waved me off.
|Abhinay, our priest, Vasu and me
|The head priest studying some texts - he was with the CM in the evening
Anyway puja done we came back and took some pictures and then Ras took us for some breakfast at a kachori joint on the way back. Lovely kachoris - dahi kachori, dal kachori and plain ones. I ate the dahi kachori which was superb, tried some lassi, we shared fresh malpua and then we were good to go. Kullad chai was there too but I could not drink that after lassi. The market had opened up and we looked around for some trinkets and then headed back to ask Vicky about our plan for the rest of the day.
|That's how people go round ghats - taking dips
|Contrast Abhinay and Vasu and the two gentlemen to the right
|Vasu posing with the two gentlemen who were quite sportive
Barricades were being put up all around town, people had started coming into town, shops and eateries were spruced up. One could see many foreigners, photographers, youngsters on holiday. There were sadhus, people who came to sell stuff at the fair, snake charmers who thrust their snakes at you, cows with five legs, even a little kid who had some serious congenital issue being paraded on a cart like a show and collecting money. It was a mela in the right sense and boy was I glad I was there.
|Ras and Vasu waiting for kachori
|Kachori waiting to be eaten
|Vasu checking out if there was anything else worth trying
While returning to our hotel I had this street musician follow me with that instrument - playing some fine music. He followed me for quite some distance. I was happy enough to gift the artist 100 bucks - somehow feeling deep inside that maybe someone would pay me handsomely like that too for my art. But I realised I was not as persistent as he was. If I was him I'd sit in a corner and make music - I probably still do that. That's a lesson well worth a hundred bucks I think.
|Sadhus walking around the market place
|The market place
One sight that I cannot forget is that of a foreigner who has somehow got lost in time and place - he looked like a beggar - he had tied up cloth over one foot instead of a shoe, wore jeans and tattered clothes. And when I passed him he said clearly - chai ke liye dus rupaiya dedo baba. He was there all day, in fact all of two days. That said I did not see too many beggars there - everyone was trying to sell something or rather hustle you for something - from eternal deliverance to some small trinket.