A Journey through the Land of Kings- Rajasthan II.
India truly is a country with diversity. The multifarious culture, religions and activities are her bent. The twin cities of Pushkar and Ajmer affirm this statement.
Around 146 kms from Jaipur, Pushkar is a Hindu pilgrim place. The drive is exhausting as the smoldering sun weakens the spirits of the travelers. The wait is made wearisome by the parchedness around. Trees are a rare sight and those that are there are covered with a blanket of dust. The green of the leaves look convincingly brown. However, on reaching Pushkar I realized what the wait was worth. Looking at the wide lake in the middle of the dead dryness is refreshing. Built in the 14th century, the temple and this place is said to carry the curse of Lord Brahma’s wife, instigated by Narada. The Brahma temple is one of the very few of its kind. Well, as they say, “Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.” It is ironical how a curse made the place one of the holiest spot for an entire religion. Quite out of human reason!
People take dips in the water of the lake which they believe is cursed, to stay forever blessed. Such is the ‘Love’ for God. However, what is truly inviting is the market. Blinding colours meet the eyes of the sweating travelers as they walk through the narrow lanes trying to keep the cow dung off their feet. That is a characteristic of the place. One would think that the place digs a hole in the pocket. Well, certainly the pockets weighs less but only enough to leave one satisfied. The narrow lanes create a confusing maze and if misfortune befalls one, he or she is very likely to lose direction and walk around in circle without being able to find a way out with the sun sinfully shining at its prime.
Leaving Pushkar the trip moves on to Ajmer, the city which is home to the Darga of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and is next to the Mecca in priority for the Muslims. The crowd starts at least 1 km from the darga. Walking through the sea of people I, for a moment, reconsidered going all the way to the darga. But as I stepped inside the gate something took over me. For a moment I saw scenes from the song ‘Kun Faya Kun’ playing in front of me. But the very next moment I stood there, wondering why I hadn’t been there any sooner. Whether it was the white marble flooring or the grandeur of the darga, the devout faces of the visitors or the silent sound of faith, I do not know. I was taken over by admiration. There was faith in that place, not religion. I saw people from varied religions there. They all had the same expression on their faces: that of satisfaction. There was peace in the din of the place. The tired faces of the devotees were brighter as they visited the place and brighter still as they sat on the marbled floor, staring at the golden tomb that points to the heavens, for those who believe and at infinite space for the sceptics.
I do not know which category I belong to. Never tried to figure that out because that would mean an end of a quest. However, the point being that what I believed did not matter that day for I had been blown away by an unfathomable power. And as I write, I can feel the positivity, the enigma of the two places. That day I realized that feeling absolutely puny and powerless in the face of infinite possibilities and the untamable universe is a feeling much greater than feeling in-charge. Reaching out to the inner self is as important as reaching out to the world. While the latter is a channel into other people’s lives, the former makes way for self-realisation. With a renewed faith in the existence of everything, I moved on with my journey that took me places and still will.