I arrived in the city of Ajmer on a beautiful February afternoon and took a tuk tuk straight to Pushkar, only 15 kms away, ready to begin my camel safari. Pushkar is a holy city with a rich history and a picturesque lake, where the tuk tuk dropped me off. I was delighted when I arrived in the small town, already enchanted by the charming streets and stunning scenery.
On the edge of the lake, I decided to participate in a traditional Hindu ceremony called Pooja. I washed my hands in the holy water, recited a few sacred phrases, and made an offering of money and a coconut. As a Hindu it’s very important to do the Pooja in such a holy city. When I was moving around near the lake, there was a “Poojari” (priest) who told me about the lake and advised me to do Pooja, an important worship ritual to show respect and bring good luck for the great life ahead.
There are thousands of temples across India, but there is only one temple dedicated entirely to the creator god, Brahma, and it’s located here in Pushkar. For this reason Pushkar is a spiritual destination and a very special and sacred place for Hindus.
On the way to my 2-day camel safari tour, I met two other travellers from Austria, Lisa and Ina, who were taking the same tour. I was very happy to meet some like-minded travellers and hear about their adventures in India. We got introduced to each other and then we went to Camel Safari office to pick up our camels (Puppy the camel for me, Bablu and Romeo for my new friends).
Our guide Ankit had arranged for us to ride camels into the vast desert around Pushkar. The hour and a half ride into the desert was dreamlike. We passed through the mountains and numerous rose gardens into the brilliant sunset. It was amazing to travel by camel, the ancient form of transportation in this region, and to see the majestic sand dunes. We arrived into our camps, where we would stay overnight in a tent. Our camp was situated far away from the buzzing street and the roads. The place so quiet and peaceful.
In the evening, we were treated to a full Indian meal by the campfire with food brought out to the desert by our guides. After the dinner, we spent the evening stargazing at an incredibly clear night sky and watching the moon rise over the desert.
The next day morning, we woke up early to see the amazing sunrise, and captured the beautiful, scenic view into our cameras. We had breakfast and got our bags packed to depart from the camp. We decided to take jeep ride back to pushkar instead of continuing on the camels, and our guide was extremely accommodating. The views as we flew through the desert back to the holy town were nothing short of amazing.
When we arrived back in Pushkar, we took a tuk-tuk back to Ajmer city, where I had time to kill before my afternoon train back to Delhi. Our guide had told us to visit Ajmer Shariff Dargah Mosque, as it is a popular place of pilgrimage in India. It is a Sufi Muslim shrine which encloses the of Garib Nawaz, a Sufi saint. Built in the 13th century, the shrine is popular among people of all faiths who flock here to have their prayers answered.
On our way to the mosque, we wound through the narrow and chaotic streets full of people, cars, bikes and cattle. After 15 minutes of walking, we reached our destination. We entered after taking off our shoes, and encountered a man wearing traditional clothes and a small black cap on his head, who offered to guide us around the holy site.
First, we washed our hands and feet, as is traditional before entering a Temple or Mosque. Then he came with us to the main tomb, where everyone goes to pray. Here, among the worshippers, the priest gave us a blessing. Then we came out and enjoyed the view of the ornate lobby where more visitors were sitting on the floor to pray in this sacred place.
I walked to the railway station, enjoying the view of the vibrant city, streets, and markets, reaching the station just in time for my train back to Delhi.
Ride a camel deep into the Rajasthan desert, visit local villages and watch the sunset over sand dunes while you get ready to sleep under the stars on this exciting 2D/1N overnight trip!