Ajmer is home to a variety of sweets, but none more popular than the Sohan Halwa. Though there are many shops that sell the famed sweet, shops opposite to the Ajmer railway station are said to offer the best of the lot. In our quest for the best, we ventured into the congested old part of the city. Madar gate is gate that lies in utter ruins, standing in testimony to a glorious past. Beyond this gate is a shop which has been selling sweets for more than a century and a quarter. Moolchand Buddhamal Halwai was the shop we zeroed on guided by references and we were not disappointed. The sweet of this old and unassuming shop was pure and fresh and amazingly tasty. After having purchased a kilo of the sweet treasure, it was time for us to return back to Pushkar.
It was quite chilly in Pushkar that evening as the wind gained speed. We decided to take a stroll along the narrow lanes of the holy city and to explore it at night. On the way were many old buildings that showcased the architectural splendor of an era gone by. We stopped by at a sweet shop and had glasses of hot milk and some unique chocolate ball sweets made of many ingredients like beetroot, mawa, sugar besides chocolate. After thus having finished our mini-dinner we kept walking towards the famed Brahma Temple, the temple dedicated to the Hindu God of creation, the only one of its kind in the entire world. Enroute, a poster caught my eye. It proudly proclaimed that below the very place the poster was pasted sat the famously eerily familiar named painter, Kikasso, who paints, as it was proudly claimed, as well as, if not better, than Picasso. With a smile on our faces we continued our walk till we reached the imposing gates of the Brahma Temple. The temple though was closed for the night and we turned back towards the Lake Sarovar, another not to be missed destination in Pushakar, having made up our minds to come to the temple again, the next morning.
The sacred Lake Sarovar is surrounded by beautiful Ghats all around. When we reached Gangour Ghat, one of the many, the scene was mesmerizing. The ghat was desolate, with only the sound of the waves hitting the embankments and a soothing trance music being played in a restaurant on the other side of the lake, being audible. We sat there admiring the haunting beauty of the lake at night.
We walked back to our hotel and slept blissfully.
We followed our routine of the day before for our breakfast, but with a change in the breakfast menu. We had vegetable cutlets with buttered toasts and cornflakes with milk, this time around and it was filling. We went to our rooms and got dressed up to check out. Checking out, we asked our driver to take us to the Brahma Temple. The narrow lane of our previous night’s rendezvous with the temple, was out of bounds, as no vehicular traffic was allowed through it, during the day. So we had to take a longer route that passed the venue of the famous Pushkar Cattle Fair that is held every year and is part of the event’s calendar of the state of Rajasthan. This fair draws tourists from all across the globe every year and is a big crowd puller amongst the rural folks who trade cattle in this fair.
During the day, the desolate stairs and the entrance of the Brahma Temple of our stroll of the night before were jam packed with devotees. We climbed up the flight of stairs of the temple and reached the orange domed main temple of the Lord of Creation of the Hindus. To find myself in front of the deity, whose temple, is probably the only one in the world, was an overwhelming experience. There are quite a few underground chambers within the premise of the temple that are dedicated to gods from the Hindu pantheon, especially Mahadeva or Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Though bereft of any exquisite carvings or artwork, the Brahma temple exudes an attraction that is way beyond words and thus as we made our way back to Udaipur, I was lost in a reverie that was a concoction of religious and spiritual bliss with the places that we were leaving having already left an indelible mark in my mind forever.