a curious glance

(little bit of what I see)

Tag: Rajasthan

Pushkar and Its Vibrant Shades

My last trip was in November, and if you have been reading my blogs, you would know how itchy my feet would have gotten without a trip for a little over 3 months. Well, you would also know about my soul sister and that she has been my most dependable travel partner (well only a handful of our friends are unmarried now and free to roam around!!). There was a long weekend approaching, and we could not just sit at home and let it go to the dumps.

Thus, began the contemplation for a place to go, and the idea was not just to explore a new town but to meet fellow travelers to share the experiences. Both of us have done solo tripping in the past and literally seen the transformation in us. Like, I can now easily initiate a conversation with any globetrotter; I used to be so damn shy earlier. It makes you more open towards the world. Now, Rajasthan is one state that attracts tourists in abundance, especially the foreigners who wish to absorb the true culture of India. In addition, I have already covered all major tourist places in Rajasthan. Pushkar was the only city left unexplored and the various travel sites are full of praises for the holy city. Trust me, there is much more to the city than the sheer holiness and that is the reason that the youth swarms the city.

Now, another friend of mine who went to Pushkar a year ago had mentioned about Zostel (India’s first backpackers hostel) and after a quick check on my best travel guide, Tripadvisor, we made a reservation for Zostel. Oh, and this reminds me that the same friend had introduced me to Tripadvisor years ago. Thanks mate, the site makes travel life very easy! I will let my verse and the pictures describe Pushkar. However, it’s worth a mention that Zostel is a cool place to stay and it made our trip successful because we befriended people with the same interest as ours- TRAVELLING. Nevertheless, a word of caution, if you volunteer for any of the treks organised by Zostel, please ensure you wear trekking shoes, even when they say that sports shoes and the kind are not required. The trek would actually turn out to be climbing a steep-barren-thorny mountain and you will continuously curse the guide en-route to the sunset point. However, once you reach the top, the view, the sunset and the breeze will literally cool you off.

The terrain of the trek for sunset

Pious, warm and much more

Its youthful radiance to allure

Sit by the lake for immense quietude

Or feel the thrill at an hilly altitude

The hues of dawn, incredibly aesthetic

Rays dazzling the lake, most artistic

Do not be confined in the holy charm

Mingling with people does no harm

Climb that hill for a picturesque sunset

Believe me; it serves as perfect day-end

Move to the much acclaimed roof top joint

Overlooking the city, chat away the night

And the endless list of rules to spoil the fun

That humankind always finds to overcome….

 

Waiting for the sunrise

Hues of sunrise

A prayer to the sun God

When lake acts as a prism

Savitri temple at hill top

The beginning of the trek

End of the trek to reach to the sunset


When I say do not limit yourself to the holy world of Pushkar, I intend to say that there is fun part to the city as well. You could either chose to relax or instead take the treks, go cycling to the outskirts of Pushkar, and more importantly, you could visit at the time of camel fair, and experience the true colours of Pushkar.

How did we reach Pushkar- We took a Shatabdi from Delhi to Ajmer. Pushkar is hardly 30 mins away from the city of Ajmer-e-sharif Dargah. You could take a bus or a private taxi, depending upon your budget. We even hired a Scooty to travel in and around Pushkar, it was as cheap as 200 bucks for a day. So, a stay in Zostel, train tickets, taxi, and food (Rajasthani food never disappoints you) would have not costed us more than 5k per person (we have not done the math yet, so can only give you an approximate figure :D)

We took a short stop over at Ajmer to pay our visit to the Dargah and capture the Ana Sagar Lake:

Also, follow the pictures below to know the legends about the city of Pushkar:

These pictures are from the walls in Zostel…


Kuldhara Village: Haunted Or Not?

Ghost, does the word and stories around it cause twitch in your body? Do you fear ghosts or are you the unflinching one? When I was a kid, I was always frightened of paranormal stories. I was never a fan of Zee horror show or Aahat. Sometimes, when I watched an episode because of my brother’s interest, I would then sleep in my parents’ room. I considered them as my heroes who would act as shields against any kind of ghosts. I remember my father used to tease me, “What if it comes through the widow of our room?” I used to say innocently, “You would deal with it first and make it run away.” I never openly admitted to my friends that I am not fond of ghost stories. You see, they would talk about it even more, and try to have fun at my expense. That is what friends are for, right?

Am I still scared of such stories? Yes and No. Well, I do not anymore sleep with my parents if I have had discussions on ghosts or watched any such movie. I now have the courage to watch spine-chilling movies (No, I do not mean the best of horror flicks, no way!) or listen to “Ek Kahani Aisi Bhi” on radio. Well, the latter is most of the times not that scary. It is a part of growing up, I guess. However, I do continuously chant Hanuman Chalisa on such nights before I fall asleep…..

I recently went on a trip to Jaisalmer. While I was booking my safari to the desert, the itinerary mentioned a visit to the abandoned village of Kuldhara, which has paranormal activities linked with it. The word paranormal caught my eye and a simple Google search revealed the history of the cursed village. As per legends, the King of the state had intentions to marry the daughter of the Chief of the village forcefully. He threatened the villagers of dire consequences if they do not agree to the marriage. The villagers did not wish to surrender to the King, and therefore one night abandoned the village and vanished. The belief says that before leaving, they put a curse on the village, that no one would be able to inhabit it ever. Post the incident, anyone trying to stay in the village has hurtled out experiencing strange phenomena.

I would have considered all this hearsay had I not come across an article mentioning that the Delhi Paranormal Society acknowledges the presence of supernatural powers in the village. Umm, this made me nervous about my trip to the village. They say that no one can survive the night. However, this team did see the light of the day. (Ever wondered, why all such stories are related to darkness and night!?) Moreover, I would have my shields, my heroes with me in the trip, and we would go in the daytime, so it was a mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement.

Kuldhara is about 15 kms away from Jaisalmer and falls on the way to the desert dunes. We shared our jeep ride with a couple from Australia and to stimulate the excitement, I narrated the story of the village we were about to visit. The woman was too thrilled to hear the history and was all set to hit the haunted village. As we entered the premises, only after paying the entry fee (for the jeep as well), what we saw was a dilapidated village. The place will definitely give you an eerie feeling, it was all deserted and in complete ruins. Paranormal or not, anyone would be psychologically frightened to spend a night in such a place.

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As we went deep into the village, our driver cum guide told us something that stole my thunder away! Yeah, he said all these stories about supernatural powers are nonsense. The villagers abandoned the place due to scarcity of water. As the river nearby dried up, it affected the trade and cultivation and villagers decided to settle somewhere else. I was like, but I read it, they conducted experiments with scientific techniques and all, to which he replied, “Your wish, what do you want to believe, false stories or reality.” We got out of the car (a bit dejected) to explore the place. As you wander in the village, you would definitely wonder about the sudden end of inhabitancy. The shattered houses and the missing idols from the temple would increase your curiosity even more.

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It is said that the temple stands at its place intact

 Idols missing in the temple but notice the engravings on the wall

There were a few locales of the state sitting around and observing the tourists. My inquisitive mind led to the following conversation with one of them-

“Bhaiya yaha bhooth aate hai?” (Do ghosts exist here?)

“Hamare poorvarj rehte thei yaha, aajatak toh nahi suna ya dekha.” (My ancestors lived here; never heard or seen such a thing).

“Toh sab jhooth bolte hai” (Do people lie then?)

“Aap ghum lo pehle, phir baat karna” (Go roam around the place and then talk to me)DSC02254

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I did not attempt to go down further for obvious reasons

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After I finished the tour of the village, he asked me-

“Dikhe aapko bhooth, aapko lagta hai yaha kuch aisa hoga” (Did you see the ghosts, do you think such incidents occur here?)

I smiled to this and his next words had a powerful meaning

“Asli bhooth toh insaan hi hota hai” (Real ghosts are humans themselves)

What he told me thereafter was another story about the sudden disappearance of the villagers. After the discovery of a lot of gold in the area, the governing body forced the villagers to leave the place. The governors wanted all the treasure for themselves and thus the place now stands in ruins. Are you as a reader, disappointed with the not so haunted outcome of my journey? Think of me, who visited the place with all the anxiousness. Me, who unnecessarily built up all the excitement for the Australians too. It is up to you to believe or not in supernaturalism; it is up to you to believe in any of the above legends about the village. We continued with our journey and the picturesque sunset in the heart of the desert made us forget about all the spookiness.

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