Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
46Trip End Feb 06, 2006
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I have so far refused to get a pushkar passport... They are basically 'blessings' from extremely agressive touts, who then tie a bit of red string around your wrist that is supposedly to stop you from being harrassed further... hmmm... no don't think so! The guy that invaded my personal space this morning told us we had to leave the town unless we got one right then and there, I politely told him to leave us alone and surprisingly he did
I sound a bit bitter but something happened this morning which really upset me. We went to the Brahma Temple on the Pushkar Lake (a bit simplified but basically Brahma is the creator of all in Hinduism). The legend is that Brahma dropped a lotus flower into the desert and Pushkar Lake was created, hence why some Hindus do make the pilgrimage here to bathe in the water. The temple however was something else. I have had experience of Hindu temples before, especially considering my mother's family are mostly Hindu.
I felt extremely distressed this morning when I entered the temple and had to be quite rude to two greasy touts trying to 'give me a tour' of the temple. There is no need for a tour. You go in, pay your respects (in silence) and come out again. We got rid of them but with all the people trying to take a chunk of us, I felt nothing. I felt like this was the worst kind of experience, where you can't even be alone long enough to think about the things you want to and should be able to in a place of worship. I wanted to leave asap so made my way to the front and collected my shoes from the entrance when another greasemonger tried to charge me for 'watching' my shoes!... I started ranting about profit from religion blah blah blah and was saved by marcus who said quite succintly "This is a temple not a shop, your behaviour disgusts me". Any other way of making money I can handle, but exploiting a temple for personal gain just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Anyway rant over. Everything in India is counter-balanced. For the hassle we recieved on the streets of Jaipur we experienced extreme kindness from the family we stayed with, and for all the ugliness I saw today we've also been treated very kindly by the people who work in our guesthouse.