Brahmin on the Lake

“Here,” he said, pushing four flowers into my mehndi hands and clasping them shut, “go down and put these into the lake. Say a prayer whilst you do it.” And with a smile, this young gentleman, who left as suddenly as he came, walked back into the market that smelled of cinnamon incense, falafel and roasted nuts.

“Who was that?” another volunteer asked, as I ambled back towards her.

“No idea. He asked me where I was from and then gave me these,” I responded, holding out the delicate pink and yellow flowers. She put the silver rings she was holding down and carefully grasped the largest yellow flower.

“Pretty.”

I explained what the gentleman proposed we do with them, and after gathering the two other volunteers who came with us to Pushkar, we wandered down to the lake.

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Barefoot and having passed pigeons and monkey’s nursing their young, we settled on the edge of the lake, watching the water as the high sun warmed our faces. After a prayer and a 1,2,3 count, just as we were about to release our flowers into the water, a Brahmin approached us and introduced himself.

“Here, let me say a few words,” was the gist of his request, and after a period of chanting and repeating his song-like speeches, we placed the flowers into the water and watched them bob away. Pink and yellow on a bed of clear water, the Brahmin then wrapped a thread around our wrist and placed a bindi on our foreheads.

A mystical experience surrounded by beauty, the harmony was damaged by the next words that left this holy man’s mouth: “donation please, so Brahmin can eat.”

Stupefied, we turned to each other before unleashing:

“What?”

“But we didn’t ask you to join us.”

“What do you mean 200 rupees each!?”

“I’m so confused.”

Yet the Brahmin continued to push and push for a donation, and only settled and left us once we had given him 150 rupees altogether.

Whilst we were quite lucky in this situation (I’ve read scenarios of people paying out from anywhere between Β£50 to over Β£100 to these people), the atmosphere was a little less magical after the exchange, and so we left the scene with a good, if tarnished, memory, to go back and eat some fresh avocado from a falafel stall.

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12 thoughts on “Brahmin on the Lake

  1. Well that’s India now, not the same as it is used to be years back, you pick up any religious place whether it’s pushkar, mathura, haridwar etc these so called brahmins who are practically unqualified will be after preys to indirectly fool, trap and rob people in the open daily light! But I liked the way you put up in the post nicely..great share. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime. Well there are things that can’t be changed because the tourism itself its not strong and shaky law and order…but I still don’t know why travelers still go there when there are far better places in India to visit. I understand they want to see culture but then they need to touch offbeat places to have the real cultural feeling then.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is very true. But I think it’s a case that more people will go to places they’ve heard about, rather than speak to people who know more about the country/locals, etc. I’m guilty of this massively, but hoping to change, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha yes I used to be the same but I am changing the trend now..I always try interact in forums with travelers or maybe here on blogger communities to know more about the real places rather than the famous one…and that applies to anywhere around the world. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautifully written. Something similar happened with me! I wanted to enjoy the lake but couldn’t. I was told to offer prayers a thousand times. when I refused to, they asked me to make a donation at their counter for the children of Pushkar. I did that but they didn’t give me a receipt. I felt cheated and robbed. It is sad how everything’s become a business! I had heard so much about Pushkar and the Brahma temple that I drove from Bombay…only to be disappointed by these people. I do not know if I am ever going to go there or suggest the place to anyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ! That is such a shame. I can’t believe that. Luckily I was never asked to make a donation – I genuinely had no idea they did things like that. I’m sorry that happened to you. Did you like the Brahma temple though? I found it beautiful yet exceedingly chaotic! Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! Oh yes, the temple was nice but I agree with you, it was chaotic…But then again, which temple isn’t. I am thinking of writing a piece on the Brahma temple. Let’s see when that happens! πŸ˜€

        Thank you for your beautiful blog, I’m going to keep on coming πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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