Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

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Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

Pushkar is one of the most sacred towns in India. Built around a holy lake, it is one of five major pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus and attracts an interesting mix of Indian pilgrims and Western tourists.

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

This is a shot of the rooftops of Pushkar, taken from the Everest Hotel, where I’m staying. Dozens of monkeys appear at sunset, lounging around, wreaking havoc and eventually being chased off the buildings by the local inhabitants. The sacred lake is hidden behind buildings to the left.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

It wouldn’t be India without cows and they roam the streets here at will. While they certainly act as if they own the place, shop keepers are not above giving them a whack on the nose with a cane when they try to sample the merchandise.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

And, of course, there are monkeys. Dozens of them patrol the rooftops, occasionally raiding outdoor cafes for salt shakers and generally looking adorable while plotting their next crime spree. Occasionally, monkey wars break out with the alpha males chasing each other as they leap across the narrow streets.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

I love the textures you find here. Everything is painted in cheap water-based paint, which fades and bleaches away in a thousand wonderful ways. Everyone is preparing for the upcoming Diwali festival now and people are hard at work, whitewashing buildings in a fresh coat of lavender-tinted paint. Eventually, they’ll switch to something longer-lasting but I hope that day is far away.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

This woman is hard at work crafting bracelets — the finished product can be seen hanging on the wall. Traffic through the main street in Pushkar is fairly heavy in the midday and I had to wait 4-5 minutes to get a clear shot.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

Pushkar is full of sadhus, holy men, who roam the streets and hit up every tourist for a photo and a tip. Some are more holy than others, of course: most seem to do nothing but pester tourists for donations — the more devout rarely seek attention or stake out spots inside temples. From the red paint and clothing that this gentlemen is wearing, I would guess that he is a devotee of Brahma.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

It’s hard to escape the henna ladies. They walk the streets, asking tourists for a handshake — once they have you in their grasp, they’ll start applying intricate henna patterns to your hand. The patterns are lovely, but if you don’t stop them and agree on a price upfront, you’ll be quoted a shocking rate when they’re done. They’re also prone, as the sadhus are, to asking you to take their photo and then demanding a 50-100 rupee tip after the fact.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

This kid was wonderfully awkward. He insisted I take his photo, as many children here will, and then followed me for several blocks — always standing in the middle of my shot with the same awkward pose. I’m guessing that he was just very proud of the pastry he was carrying, as it featured prominently in every shot.

 

Photos: The Holy City of Pushkar

The boy on the right is destined to be an art director or model. He carefully managed the other two, arranging them exactly where he wanted them to be and then would strike a ‘model’ pose for the shot. The boy to the left was busy projecting a ‘tough guy’ vibe while the younger one in the middle just seemed glad to be included at all.

 

 

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Tran November 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I love the photos kids insist you take. Beautiful work!

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Neale November 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Love the way you have a lot of “people photos” I still a little shy of taking people…

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

Thanks, Neale. I am too, to be honest. But I’m getting better at approaching people. It’s easier here in India, too — people love to have their photos taken.

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ayngelina November 4, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Really loving the large format photos, you’ve taken so many great ones already in India.

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

Thanks! That’s a real compliment coming from you :)

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Bethany November 5, 2010 at 1:58 am

Some great photos! So colorful and I love the way the light reflects in that town. I want to go to INDIA so BAD! So I have to ask, how are you getting these pictures so big? Great job Wes!

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:29 am

I’m having to do a little hacking to get the photos to appear at this size. I have to create a page with no sidebars, then link that to a post. It’s a hassle but I really like the larger format so it’s worth it…

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Bethany November 7, 2010 at 7:24 am

I’ve been trying to do this for a while with no luck. Also trying to get a lightbox thing-y working on my site and no luck. But it is worth it because photos always look so much better bigger!

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Andrew November 5, 2010 at 2:47 am

Love love love these photos! Congratulations Wes.

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

Thanks, Andrew!

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Casa de Hamilton Pool November 5, 2010 at 3:20 am

great stuff!

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Natalka November 5, 2010 at 6:17 am

Wow, outstanding pictures. Pushkar appears so clean compared to Delhi. What are your accomodations like?

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:36 am

I’m staying a really lovely place, the Everest Hotel. It’s a little pricey for a backpacker place – $9 a night — but the room is huge, clean and has a comfortable bed, hot shower, etc. Rooftop cafe with a nice view and run by a really sweet family. I’d planned on just staying a couple of nights, then finding a cheaper place, but I really like it and have stayed…

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Brooks November 5, 2010 at 7:52 am

These is absolutely beautiful work Wes. You’ve got an amazing eye!

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:46 am

Thank you, Sir.

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Andi November 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

These are insanely amazing photos! Ahhh I miss India!!!

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wes November 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

Thanks Andi. I’m going to have a hard time matching your coverage of India – great stuff!

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Melissa November 6, 2010 at 5:37 am

I know many people have said this but your pictures are out of this world! You have some major skills! Keep up the great work.

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wes November 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Aw, thanks Melissa! Even if others said it, I’m always happy to hear it again ;)

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Shannon OD November 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

Gorgeous shots! I love the two women in blue – they so rarely pose openly for photos like that (I found) – they look so simply happy! :)

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Matt November 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Loving these photos Wes (let us know when National Geographic calls). Pushkar definitely looks interesting. Are you going to stick around for the camel fair and take a holy dip in the lake?

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Kimberly November 13, 2010 at 3:32 am

Love the portraits! I always dreamed of going to India, have to make this a reality=)

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Rebecca November 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Great pics!

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