Aside from wandering around looking at the temples, shopping in the open air bazaars & sipping some chai tea while talking with other travellers, life at Pushkar seemed to center around the sunset and watching it from the eastern shore of the lake. Even before the sun hung too low in the sky, the tourists would line up at the cafés near Moon Hotel and have some Indian food, some pizza or other fare and enjoy the singing of the local minstrels.
I came later to learn that the minstrels were Bedouins who lived outside of town in traditional tents or mud-brick houses. They clung to many of their traditional ways of life including only marrying with other Bedouin families. Later, I would meet some groups of Gypsies who maintained a distinct cultural tradition. They too only married within their own group and lived in traditional ways. But, unlike the Bedouin minstrels, the Gypsies primary source of income was in reading palms, painting henna on the palms and arms of tourists, and in selling bracelets and small jewelry. I”ll post more about the Gypsies later.
… my German friends as they sample local jewelry for purchase as we await the sunset…
For the rest of the week, while I visited Pushkar, I made the daily dusk pilgrimage to the lake. For the sake of brevity, I will combine the photos of the week’s sunsets into one post so as not to bore all of you. Each day I saw the same local characters and came to know them. My favorite family, the Bedouin minstrel with the yellow-eye daughter, came to play for me each day. Eventually I met his son (below) and his wife. I was surprised to learn that his daughter was only 10 years old.
I never grew tired of the whole “relaxing” atmosphere that the “sunset-watching” produced. The warm chai tea and traditional music against a warm mountain breeze made the memory of Pushkar indelible in my mind. Half of the fun was just watching the people from around the world as they congregated to this magic spot.
… “Photo! Photo! Ten Rupees, photo!” I made sure to get a photo with the young man who made an appearance each day. Every day he posed as a different manifestation of Shiva…”
Each evening I must have shot a hundred photos of the sun setting. It was so beautiful and still; the photos just can’t capture the beauty of it. One evening as I was snapping away, an Indian woman happened to walk through my shot. Looking at the photo some years later I find that I really like this photo. She is quite beautiful in her native clothing, a friendly smile on her face, and the contrast of her clothing and the fading sun in the sky…
The last set of photos is a just a collection that I chose showing the sun as it made its way behind the western horizon….
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