Pushkar was one of our favorite cities out of everywhere we traveled. It was a holy city where before entering the border they had a sign asking us to please be modest (which means no shorts for men, and no calves/ankles/shoulders showing for women) and also that no animal meat is eaten or served in the city. Everywhere could be walked by foot and it was bazaar heaven. It was very small and I think it still might be my top favorite place, it's hard to differenciate when 2 amazing experiences happened here...
Our first night in India we realized that it is loud/noisy every second of the day. There never seemed to be quiet time unfortunately meaning, that we were never really getting the sleep that we needed. Every night was a celebration/holiday/wedding... and when we say every night, we mean every single night was blasting loud music with firework after firework, simply going back to saying that "India is more."
1.) Midnight Dancing: Our first night in Pushkar we found a hostel that was backed up to a little alleyway. We ended up getting the room at the very end backing up into the alley, which we were more than pleased thinking we would finally get good nights rest. All of a sudden at 11:30pm our room started shaking and vibrating with the loudest music we have ever heard. We had no clue what was going on and ran out into the alley finding a wedding celebration for the groom. They had parade floats with separate car generators following behind, lots of flashing lights, and tons of color. The women were only allowed to stand on the side watching, while hundreds of men were in the parade dancing before the groom seated high on a colorfully decorated elephant. Before I knew it the ladies were all pushing me down into the parade to dance with the men. No one spoke English, I was barefoot, I didn't know where Landon was, and I had no clue what was going on.
I was quickly surrounded by at least 50 men all dancing with money in their hands, my stomach dropped and was completely lost of what to do. I quickly pushed my way through the crowd and found Landon. The older women were very upset that I wasn't dancing down there and kept pushing me back in, so this time I took Landon. Once we were in the crowd we started dancing Bollywood style or what I thought was Bollywood, and we were really able to take in the experience and enjoy ourselves. They are such a fun-loving people that it was hard not to enjoy ourselves. After we were finished dancing we bowed with our hands pushed together to show them respect that we were done and went back by our hotel door. We then were surrounded my several ladies all wanting to simply shake our hand, see us up close, take videos and photos of us.
Looking back at the situation, it is so funny how they honor and love us because of our skin color. No other woman was allowed to dance in the parade but because I was a foreigner I was treated like a God to them. It sounds vain to say that, but that's how it really was, they were honored to have us participate and stop the entire parade for us, just as we were honored to be able to take part in their celebrations. It was one of our top experiences that was so surreal and really once in a lifetime opportunity that found us while in India. We felt like we were blessed along our way with amazing experiences like this, this being the very first one.
2.) Sunrise Camel Safari: Anyways, one of our other top experiences was our camel safari! We first found a camel group that took 12 other tourist but charged way too much, and when we were about to leave they tried to scare me saying the other camel safaris steal white women and don't have insurance if you fall off and break your bones! It was kinda scary introducing me to those new ideas I had never even thought about, but they were just so mean that we didn't want to go with them anyways. So we set up a sunrise safari through our hostel. They told us to come to the lobby at 5:00AM.
That morning we got up while it was still dark and walked out to the lobby. All the lights were off, there was a man sleeping on the floor, and we were locked inside the building. We saw a man with 2 camels show up and I started to get a bit scared thinking this all seemed sketchy. He kept telling us to wake up the sleeping man to unlock the door...to make the long story short... everything worked out and we were on the camels before we knew it. I got to ride through the sleeping city while it was still dark, side by side with my love. It was one of those times where I wanted to take everything in, knowing that I would never probably get this opportunity again.
As we got to the desert the sun slowly started to rise and started to warm our cold bodies. We got to talk to our camel boy, Uogma, who was one of the nicest people that we met through our entire trip. We were entertained by a man singing in Hindi to his horse-hair instrument, which really brought the whole experience together. In the end it was one of our top highlights of the trip and really made our India experience come to life!