Started early from Jaipur so we could cover Ajmer and Pushkar and reach Bikaner for the night. Ajmer is around 2hrs drive and we reached there by 11am. The driver tells us that the Pushkar temple closes for the afternoon at 12:30pm so we better hurry at Ajmer and it takes nearly 1/2 hour to drive to Pushkar. That means we had only around 45 mins to get done with the Ajmer Darga and we had to walk from the parking for atleast 1 km with 2 kids and in the heat and crowd.
Boy! What a mis-adventure it was. There are hawkers everywhere and once they see a tourist they just surround you. BIL managed to strike a deal with an auto driver who took us through the narrowest and dirtiest gullies possible to get to the Darga.Since we were told that mobile phones are not allowed we left all of it in the car as well. The autodriver himself called ahead to someone, took us to some hotel there, introduced us to someone who apprently works for the Darga Trust and told us that we should be back within 1/2hr and he would be waiting for us at the auto – ask for Ghilani hotel he said and left. The other person just walked ahead and we had to follow him through a narrow walkway which was crowded that it was full of jostling and pushing. Chutku by then had begun to get irritated with all that noise and pushing and insisted that he be carried. Poor hubby put him on the shoulder and we just kept that other man’s head in sight and walked along.
I have heard that this Darga of Moinuddin Chisthi is very powerful and people give chaddar there but sadly it has become a business. We were asked to buy the chaddar and then 1 was not enough, we were rushed through the crowd to a person sitting there who prayed for us and immediately pulled out a reciept book where again we were asked to pay and then while we went inside, the first thing that you hear is people asking you to put money there. We were in and out of the place within 15-20mins and couldnt even absorb the feel of the place-just crowd and dirt every where 😦 And I need to admit that we were in a hurry too. The marble entrance and the structure is huge and actually very beautiful and that was the only thing I actually put my feet apart and stood there to see before the crowd pushed me ahead. Again, no photos allowed. Dont want to get into the details of the dirtiness there-suffice to say that its going to be a challenge to make that place as per Modiji’s “Swacch Bharath”.
We then went in search of that hotel and when were directed to another hotel with the same name! We realised that that was not the correct one, again asked around and walked some more to reach the hotel where our auto driver was waiting for us. It was a mad ride in the auto again in a narrow street barely 5feet in width where kids are running around, autos coming from both sides,goats strolling and cycles plying!! Reached the car parking around 12pm where the driver then tells us that the temple in Pushkar is open until 1:30pm.
We reached Pushkar at around 12:40, went to the temple which was nearly empty – a contrast to the Ajmer dargha, and walked towards the Pushkar lake. On the way, we got carried away by the shops and spent more than an hour shopping for colorful Harem pants and clothes for the kids! Saw the Pushkar lake-which again is very dirty with slippery green algae on the steps and people and cows bathing together, people washing vessels and clothes too. We managed to avoid the temple Pandas and walked in search of a restaurant for lunch. Luckily, we found one that was empty and he cooked fresh Chappatis and dal fry for all of us and we had a quiet and quick lunch before walking back to the car at 3pm. From there the long drive to Bikaner began and with one Chai stop and another pitstop to stretch our legs, we reached Bikaner and the hotel only by 8:45pm in the night.