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Mar 2017

Place: Streets of Pushkar

This was the day after the Holi Festival. The cow pictured is still covered in chalk from the festivities. We came to Pushkar specifically because we heard they had the best Holi, and indeed it was quite a sight to see.

The night before Holi is the bonfire. If you want to read more about it, look up Holika Dahan. Locals gathered in a circle around the burning hay / cow poop pile and offered up their own rings of cow poop and flowers. Then they covered the stack in nice fabrics and burned it, followed by fireworks, confetti, drums. At one point while they were setting things up, a cow somehow charged its way through the crowd into the middle. It frantically ran around looking for a way out, and the organizers pushed hard to make sure it didn’t knock over the haystack and parted the crowd to give it an exit. Tommy has an entertaining video of this.

The day of, there were basically three festivals going on, depending on your age group. The older folks were playing drums and chanting and going door to door gathering together friends. The people my age were all in this giant mob in the town center, raving. EDM music blasted, people (mostly Indian men) danced their faces off and threw chalk / their shirts in the air. Kids were off in the street corners pranking each other and the foreigners. They’d run around throwing chalk at each other, sometimes using chemical ones that stain longer, which to them was funny but to us not so much. Sometimes they’d also shoot water guns or throw water balloons.

We were very happy to have been able to experience this. The chalk part is similar to what I’d seen in North America, but it’s so cool that it happens in the entire city here, whereas in North America it’s usually isolated to a park. Here you turn a corner and you may be ambushed with chalk.

Food: Malpua

A snack found throughout North India, but it’s supposed to be particularly good in Pushkar. It tasted a lot like Gulab Jamon, but flattened. Pretty much is flour, milk, sugar, butter.

Everywhere we’ve been in India, people ask us “Where are you from?” and when we respond with “Canada”, they say “oh, I thought it’d be China/Japan/Korea”. The dude that sold us the malpua was the first and only to ever ask “Where are you from? Is it Canada?”. We were so surprised!

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