Many of the marble bathing ghats on the holy Pushkar Lake—a must-visit—were constructed for pilgrims by royal families who wanted to ensure power and prosperity in their kingdoms throughout Rajasthan by appeasing the gods. It is believed that the waters of the lake are healing powers and that the water near different ghats have different powers. There are 52 ghats in all with various degrees of significance. When you pass an entrance to a ghat, be prepared for a priest (or 10) to solicit you by simply offering you a flower—he'll want you to receive a blessing, known as the "Pushkar Passport." He'll lead you to the water's edge, say a prayer, and will ask you to recite a blessing in Sanskrit (you'll repeat after him). Then he'll paste a tilak (rice and colored powder dot) on your forehead and tie a religious red thread (denoting a blessing) to your wrist. After the ceremony, you're expected to give a donation or dakshina: don't give more than Rs. 100 (or you can negotiate
the sum as soon as he approaches you). Once you have the passport no other priest will bother you.
The ghats get extra busy during auspicious pilgrimage times, especially during the Kartik Purnima, the full moon during the Hindu month of Kartik, around November (also the time of the Pushkar Camel Fair): there may be tens of thousands of people here bathing and getting blessings from local Brahmins. The peaceful parts of the ghats can be accessed from the eastern shore of the lake, close to Sunset Café.
Note: The ghats are considered very sacred places, so be sure to follow etiquette—taking off shoes and being respectful.
Pushkar, Rajasthan, India