The next city on the schedule was Pushkar - a “hippie town” which is known as the city of Brahma, the Hindu God of creation. Pushkar had a very laid back atmosphere and you could feel the hippie vibes. We walked to the sacred Pushkar lake where the evening aarti (a Hindu ceremony) took place during sunset. The view on the lake, the houses at the lake and the sunset colors were just magical. In the background you could hear mantras, prayers and the sound of drums. A liturgy par excellence was created. We walked around the river barefoot, accompanied by drum beats and the scent of incense sticks. We spent the rest of the evening in a Israeli hippie restaurant and I decided to spend some time at the Brahma temple.
The 10th of December brought me to Lake Pushkar again were I received blessings from a Guru which included blessings for my friends and family and moreover past and future generations of my family. It was a very contemplative morning on the 2nd Sunday of Advent. Later the day we had a two hour camel ride into the desert were we got to enjoy a cultural show by the “gypsy community” which spent some time in the Pushkar area before moving on to other parts of the country.
On the 11th we stayed in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. We got to see the Amber Fort there which is known for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture. I felt happy when we left the fort because people were really pushy trying to sell things. Elephant rides up to the fort were a very popular tourist thing to do. Unfortunately they do not treat the animals well. So you can summarize that the actions of the people there turned this actually beautiful place into a quiet negative one (at least for me).
It felt quiet good to leave the very busy Jaipur the next day to head to the Ranthambore National Park. We visited a factory (village women crafts) there which empowers women by providing them fair jobs and later on of course the National Park itself. We got to see many animals and the breathtaking nature there. Unfortunately we missed out on only one animal - the tiger. Nevertheless it was a very good Safari experience.