Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Rajasthan Diaries - Day 3, Savitri Mandir

 We went back to our Vela resort and freshened up before we got the day's plan from Vicky. While walking to the room we saw a couple of tents on the lawns and Vasu wondered if he could actually live in one of those (that's Vasu for you - living on the dangerous side). When we stepped out a while later I saw a young foreign girl sitting there. When I asked her she told me she was from Spain and was in Pushkar for two weeks. I was surprised and said that it must be fun to stay on for such a long time and she said she could afford to do so because she was volunteering at the resort. Apparently there is an app called VolCar or something and she found this resort and voila, come with your tent, pitch it on the lawns, do some volunteer work, use the facilities and we're all good. Vicky apparently put up his resort on VolCar. She gave me some information about climbing the Ratnagiri hill which she says took her 30 minutes. 

Savitri mandir on the other side of 970 steps

Vicky came and we asked me what was best. Vasu wondered if we could camp out in the desert and sleep there and Vicky strongly advised us not to. I was certainly not going to. Anyway the fianl plan was this - climb up the hill to Savitri mandir and get back and then do a camel buggy ride in the little desert outside Pushkar and then in the evening check out the Pushkar mela inauguration and the lighting of diyas all around the lake from the Sunset point.

A rest stop early on

Rope way

So we set off in our car to the hill which was not too far from the resort. Vasu was keen to walk up and so was Abhinay. There is a ropeway and cable car if one wants to take them. I chose to walk bravely and felt I was in decent shape to do so which I realised I was not.  My thing was hey - this is Savitri mandir, and she is my mom (my mom's name is Savitri) so I will climb up! Having recently seen Deewar I also had this dialogue on my tongue - Main aa raha hoon maa! 

These two quickly outpaced me and about half way stage I felt the pressure on my lungs, my thighs and legs. I started taking more rest stops as the steps grow steeper and steeper and there was this bunch of old women who were climbing up and I just about managed to keep pace with them. One of them looked at me and said - jawan aadmi ko dum lag raha hai. I just about pipped them to the post. I think I staggered in in about 40 minutes (Vasu and Abhinay did it in 24 they said). It is about 970 steps to the top and pretty steep some of them are. 

Chappals left on the way up

At each stop I could see the Brahma lake at Pushkar look bigger and bigger. There were langoors all around and Vasu had to keep them off by giving them the bananas he bought. Half way up we saw asses with colorful sheets on their backs - we later realised they were used to transport good to the temple and the store up at the hill top. Also we saw people leaving their footwear on the way - maybe a promise that they will return by foot and not cable car. And the same stuff we saw with stones that they  do in Hampi where they place one stone over another - belief is that will get their houses built or something.

The town

I somehow made it to the top (Main aa gaya maa!) and had to really rest for a while to get my breath back. Going down was rope way for me without fail, considering that we had a lot more walking to do for the rest of the day. A quick darshan of the deity - Wikipedia says there are idols of Savitri flanked by Gayatri and Saraswati on either side.  That puts paid to our guide's theory that Savitri is called Saraswati in the South.

The old ladies who accompanied me

Anyway we took some pics after downing some water and a cold drink and Vasu and Abhinay decided to run down the steps (which they did in 9 minutes!). 

A better view of the town from the top

A bell, and Abhinay behind it

Asses carrying Bisleri bottles

Vasu and the Goddess Kali

I took the cable car and went down at a more leisurely pace. Down there we found this girl dressed as Kali mata and Vasu got a picture with her. Back to the resort and to Vicky bhaiyya for the next course of action. 


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