Pushkar cultural show and fire breathers

Wow, talk about a goofy looking photo!  9 months working with interpreters 14 hours a day with no days off tends to wear on you.  Add in two weeks in India and questionable visits to the toilet and you get run down quickly.  Needless to say, India is not easy travel.  If you decide to come, fatten up a bit before you leave home!

Cliff and Tamala invited me to a “cultural show.”  It sounded really good so I agreed to come along.  I mentioned it to my Aussie friends and they said that they would come later.

There was a nice mix of locals and expats and everyone was enjoying some nice drinks and some hot chai tea as the show began.

Some magicians came out and did some tricks and amazed the crowd.  I only brought my little tiny camera and shot a few shots as best as I could.

Later, Rajasthan dancers came out and put on a variety of dances to different music and it was quite entertaining.  I thought that the clothing was bright and colorful and quite beautiful.  After Cliff and Tamala left, I found Claire, Bradley, & Jennifer and joined them for the rest of the evening.  They let Bradley go on stage and juggle his kerosine-drenched (flaming) juggling balls and I took a gazillion photos with Jennifer’s Nikon.  I’ll have to email her for some of those pics; Jen, if you read this, email me some of your SLR pics – LOL.

The grand finale was what everyone was waiting for; the fire breathers.  And they did not disappoint.  These guys launched flame-thrower sized dragon breath flames out of their mouths.  I was genuinely afraid that one of them would catch himself on fire.  The crowd oohed and aahed with each flame as it lit up the otherwise dark courtyard.  I had seen some fire-breathing before, but these were the largest flames I had ever seen.

I visited in Pushkar for a few more days and then worked my way back to Delhi by way of Jaipur.  But, I decided to compress the photos in these last few posts.  I could write a few more entries, but I think it would start to become a bit redundant.  And, I have 12 more years of travel-blogs to write…  so, with this, I close out India until my next visit.

And so I wrap up my short visit to India.  I vow to return next time when I have more time.  I will (next time) remember to bring, my Cipro, Pepto, SLR camera, & mosquito net.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time here – as hectic as it was.  The people were warm and friendly.  The culture was diverse and interesting and the landscape was stunning in its variation and beauty.  I can see now the popularity and allure of India and vow to return again in the future.


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Pushkar Gypsies

How do I begin about the Gypsies in Pushkar?  Hmm…  several thoughts come to mind; mysterious, exotic, enchanting, mischievous, and perhaps even a little “dangerous” amongst some others…  The Gypsies seemed a bit more “rough” than the other vendors, merchants, and entertainers in Pushkar.  It is really hard to describe.  Thinking back on them, I think of them as the “used car salesmen” of Rajastan; with a twinkle of an eye, your wallet is a lot lighter.

The woman above was a town favorite with the tourists.  Specifically the male tourists.  Even more specifically, the unmarried male Scandinavian tourists.  This woman always seemed to have a pack of fair hair – blue-eyed Vikings drooling over her and trying to find some way to impress upon her that they were the answer to her life’s woes.  Later, she told me that she had more than 50 marriage proposals from northern European men; primarily the Scandinavian countries and a few Germans too!

The and boy below were her younger siblings.  While she sold bracelets and did Henna painting on the tourists hands, the younger siblings just hung around and hit up the tourists for candy money, for candy, or for candy money and some more money.  I thought that the younger sister looked like Pocahontas:

I really enjoyed the antics of this young man.  He was always happy and smiling and kept saying, “Full power” while making this arm motion.  Apparently he saw it on some cartoon or super-hero movie and was imitating it to no end.  He was constantly asking the tourists for candy money and then he would run off to the store to buy more sugar; unfortunately to the detriment of his teeth.  The Gypsies seemed a bit “rougher” than the other vendors in Pushkar in that they seemed a little dirtier and a little less “conservative” in their demeanor than the rest of the Indians at Pushkar.

Most of the European men were more than willing to oblige the two younger children with some cash in order to remove them to the candy store so that they might have more courting time with their older sister.   I don’t suppose that they were listening when she said she had no mind for marriage; she didn’t want to end up like her older sisters – pregnant with children to tend after.  She wanted no such life.  I asked her if she had considered any of the men’s proposals and she said that she loved Pushkar, Rajastan, and India and would never leave.  Should they want to marry her, she said, “They can move to India.”  She seemed to have a defiant and independent streak in her.

However, she also had a temper and when her two younger siblings didn’t do what she told them, they got a good smack up the side of their head.  She yelled at them as though a demon might pop out of her chest.  And then, as quickly as they started crying and wandered off a few feet, she would smile and carry on as though nothing had happened.  I watched her and her siblings and cousin for a few days and it seemed that they collected more money from “fans” than they did by actually selling anything or providing any type of service.  It seems that they just put on an aire of charm and the tourists find it fit to give them money.

There was something quite bewitching about this woman.  She smiled and flirted and seemed to separate many tourists from their money.  I couldn’t help but think of all of the Gypsy stories and how they cast spells and wondered if she didn’t have a set of spell bags hanging from her belt that and each one had a name on it: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, & Germany.  I tried to imagine her in Norway in a long jacket in the snow… no, I don’t suppose that would work…

I ran into the cousin (below) while she was walking with the little Pocahontas sister (just off-screen to the right) and captured this photo:

… selling bracelets in the walkway near Lake Pushkar…

… some fellow travelers from Australia; Jennifer, Claire, & Bradley as we check out the bracelets at the Gypsy stall…


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Indian Bedouins

One morning while I was out exploring around Pushkar, I ran across some members of my favorite Bedouin family.  The young girl with the yellow eyes was with her older cousin and they were selling some silver bracelets.  I immediately noticed that the older cousin had similar striking hazel colored eyes and posed them for a photograph.

Each day as the father of the family came by my lunch place and sang for me, I was more and more fascinated by his stringed Ranatar instrument.  I asked him if he could make one for me and he agreed.  A few days later he brought it by and delivered it to me and I asked the restaurant waitress to take our photo.  I was always sitting down when he came by to play for me and I never realized how tall I was compared to him; I guess it shows in the photo – LOL.  I really took a liking to this family.  They were unassuming, never push, they always had smiles, and I found them to be warm and friendly.  I talked at great length with them about their customs and traditions.  I was told that they are Hindu and follow the Caste system.  Specifically, they only marry to other Bedouin families just as the Gypsies only marry to other Gypsies.  I thought of the history as he told me that his father and his father before them had been playing the Ranatar for 20 generations.

I saw this little girl often.  She was a Bedouin also but not related to the first family.  Her father and the man above were good friends and had known each other since childhood.  Just like all of the other Bedouin Minstrels, she was always happy and smiling.

One day the mother of the Bedouin family came out and she and her husband serenaded me in front of the scenic Pushkar Lake.  It was nice to see the whole family out together.  I thought how lucky they are to be able to be together every day.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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