Tuesday, January 30, 2007

India Travels #5: Pushkar: A Vegetarian’s Paradise

January 30th, 2007
Pushkar, Rajashtan, India

Mamacita and I are having our last foray in the sacred Hindu town of Pushkar, situated along a lake apparently created by the God Brahma when he dropped a Lotus blossom and then seriously pissed off his girlfriend who he didn't marry when she arrived late for the wedding.

We're staying in one of the most gorgeous hotels I've ever had the means to pay for. It's a haveli, or converted palace, that is open air and centered around a marble courtyard and fountain. Each floor has marble staircases decorated with winding ivy, paintings, glass art pieces, and porch swings decorated with cherry red cushions. The rooftop is capped by several sapphire glass domes. Foreigners from around the world luxuriate on fluffy cushions and chaise lounges, listening to Indian music, while they wait to be served plates of banana nutella filled crepes and entrees of penne pasta with homemade basil and tomato sauce.

Our room, decorated with a four-post carved wooden bed, Rajasthani tapestries, wall hangings, and mosaic tile bathroom, costs a mere $21.00 a night.

Pushkar is a vegetarian's paradise and mother's greatest nightmare. Because it's one of the most sacred Hindu sites in India, eggs, alcohol, and meat are strictly forbidden within the town's limits. Mom is so sick of chapatis and tofu that she has spent the last couple of nights describing the number of blood rare steaks she's going to eat when we get back to the states. She's even come close to offering big money to any street vendor who is willing to perform the sacrilege of finding and cooking meat for her, any meat. Mostly I fear for the cows. Hoping I don't catch my mother accidentally "pushing" one of them down a flight of temple steps.


Although this town is known for its holy temples and ghats, or cremation sites along the lake, we're pretty cultured out. Several aggressive priests wait by the ghat entrances demanding donations and gypsy women vulture around the steps of the temples looking for hand-outs.

For the most part, we just want to shop.

Our hotel room is quickly filling up with stacks of shoes, skirts, blouses, bangles, and bindis. I can honestly say that no mortal woman should get as much joy out of shopping as we do. Yet we soldier on. And dammit, the Thurston Girls are good for the Indian economy.

Tomorrow we head on the train to Delhi where we'll hang out with our friend, Aan, at Nehru University, wander through the Spice Market in the Muslim Quarter and go find Mom the kind of protein that doesn't grow on a tree.

all my love,
Rachel and Mama Chihuahua