THE WEEKLY #53: PEACEFUL PUSHKAR AND ANCIENT MERTA
The holy lake in the center of Pushkar creates a peaceful atmosphere, which spreads throughout the entire town. However, there is a rule that made for some sticky situations. Because of the holy nature of the lake, shoes are not allowed to be worn on the ghats of the lake, surrounding paths or footbridges. Everybody even tourists respect this rule and locals politely ask tourists (probably on their first day in Pushkar) to remove their shoes. However, as is commonplace in India, cows are also holy and they roam free. So if you can piece together the puzzle what you have is a large area where you must walk barefoot and in the same large area, cows are shitting at their leisure. I will leave the rest to your imagination but let’s just say a torch may be a necessary item when walking at night. It’s not a big problem but something I laughed to myself about while dodging and weaving my way back to my hotel.
If you follow me on Instagram (@jackson.groves) and tune into my Instastory you will know I stayed at a pretty unique hotel in Pushkar. What made it so interesting is that the property is home to incredibly old tortoises who roam free …. even into hotel rooms. I spoke to the owner and he said they wander up from the lake and he puts them on the property, feeds them and is a nurse so he fixes any wounds or problems. I found it slightly questionable but he suggested that if locals found the tortoises they would catch them and eat them hoping to acquire some of the so-called sexual powers the tortoise possesses.
I trekked up to several different viewpoints and was able to get a great view of the small town from both sides. Pap Mochani and Savitri temple were the two hikes which I wrote short little reviews on, which you can see below.
I was out of the big city and decided it was time to man up and fly my drone. I was pretty nervous and only had youtube tutorials to rely on. I flew the first time from the top of Savitri temple and didn’t crash but struggled to land. I’ve since flown five times and am getting a little better and learning a new thing or two each time. Practice makes perfect.. or at least practice makes you not suck.
With my new hobby of droning, I decided to head out of Pushkar on this awesome looking vehicle for the day. I had read about an ancient town called Merta, which was 35 miles (1.5 hours) drive from Pushkar. The journey to Merta was great with perfect roads although at times I had to dodge cows, herds of goats and camels.
Arriving in Merta, a guy called out to me as I drove through the main street and said he knew me from last week. He didn’t but we began a conversation and I then followed him on his motorbike to a temple and a lake where he told me I could fly the drone. He then toured me around Merta to ancient ruins, temples and other sites I would have never found. He was not a tour guide purely a university student wondering what the hell I was doing in Merta, considering only several foreigners visit each month. This was evident from the stares I received from everyone as I drove through on my red bike down the main street!
We went back to his house, met his mother, grandfather and little brother before half the kids in the neighborhood popped their head in to say hello. Praveen was my new friend’s name and his mother had brought out chai tea, some snacks, and an iced coffee in a matter of minutes. Guests are god they told me in India. His little brother collected coins from around the world so I gave him all the US coins I had to his delight. He wanted to see the drone so we went up to their rooftop and went for a fly as the mother and grandfather looked on in surprise at what they referred to as the helicopter.
I put together my first drone video, and Praveen told me it’s the first drone he has ever seen in Merta. I’m not sure of this but it’s definitely the first drone video featuring Merta available on the internet.
The day was topped off after Praveen took me to try a local ice-cream only available in Merta apparently. Or at least the specific cream is only in Merta. It was 30 cents each and a good refresher before the 1.5-hour drive back!
It’s funny because often I feel like I am not doing that many adventures but when I look back on the week it appears I have been all over the place.
Next week I’ll be in a different country! Thailand! Why? Find out in the weekly in 7 days or follow my Insta-story. I will be back in India on August 1st for the last 24 days of my 3-month road-trip.
Hope you all had a great week. Here are a few more random snaps from the last 7 days. Some were taken by Praveen’s little brother who borrowed my camera for half an hour.