February 13, 2012 by Sarah's Toothbrush
Remember playing hide n seek as a kid? You would bury yourself in the coat closet, probably almost suffocating yourself under 20lb of parkas. Your heart would literally sink into your toes when you peered through the small crack of light between the door and the floor and spotted a pair of feet shuffle past you.
Convincing yourself that all other children in your age range have the earshot of eagles, you would even hold your breath (bringing you even one step closer to suffocation) in hopes that the person that was “it” would not hear you gasping for air.
Well, some Indian urban planner also had hide-and-seek on the brain when they started mapping out the intricacies of Pushkar, India.
Possessing the most rooftop restaurants per capita in the ENTIRE WORLD, it should come as no surprise that Pushkar is a hider’s haven and a seeker’s worst nightmare. (Note: I totally made up that whole ‘most rooftops per capita’ stat. But it kind of sounds impressive, right?)
As the seeker starts counting its Mississippi’s, and given the size of Pushkar, you probably won’t have too much time to find a proper hiding spot. So I’ve done some really serious journalistic research here and am willing to share with you, the best hiding spots in all of Pushkar.
Kind of like a birthday cake, Pushkar is best deconstructed by layers (wait, what?).
Three layers, to be exact.
What follows is my attempt to break down each of these layers but who are we kidding, it’s not like I’m actually going to tell you where I was hiding.
Bottom Layer: With the ease of escaping and finding a new hiding spot, there is a lot of appeal on the bottom layer. Most of the shops have a capacity of like, 2 people, and most of the restaurants on this level are basically store-front stoves. So if you’re on the bottom layer, you’re definitely in plain view.
But the best falafel shop in Pushkar is on the bottom layer. Same goes for the staple lassi store. The beauty of these places wasn’t just the goodies they were brewing up, but it was also the on-the-road seating of plastic chairs…and not much else.
I spent hours sitting at these stools, getting schooled in Korean by the locals, watching them coerce travellers into their shops, and getting overwhelmed by the menu of exotic fruit combinations. (Kiwi-dragonfruit-avocado shakes. Do it now.)
But plain visibility on the bottom layer also meant that chances of getting caught are abundant. So like the yellow road signs, proceed with caution.
Middle Layer: This is a layer full of stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. No one hides here. Don’t even bother, unless you like climbing. You WILL get caught.
Top layer: Oh, top layer. I sigh just thinking about you. The top layer is the icing on the cake (ha! I knew that analogy would figure itself out in the end…) and pretty much has the best hiding spots in all of Pushkar. With a gazillion different options (See? I might not be so far off on that whole ‘most per capita’ thing), it’s unlikely anyone will ever find you here. Or know that you even exist.
More often than not, we would be climbing through that awful middle layer in hopes of finding one particular rooftop and would find ourselves in some other extremely hidden rooftop venue altogether. This was almost like a game of hide-and-seek within another game of hide-and-seek. (Sorry for getting a little Inception on you there. But it was seriously trippy stuff.)
The rooftops make the top layer.
Not to sound like an awful repeat of MTV Cribs but really, “this is where the magic happens.” I could spy on everyone down below, I could tear through whatever travel cliché book I was reading, I could process everything that had happened in India up to that point.
It’s really unbelievable how much time I spent on any given roof in Pushkar.
I think I only made it to one of the temples and didn’t even visit the famous Brahma Temple. But with the best views of Pushkar Lake and locals almost encouraging you to loiter around ALL DAY, I figured I had no reason to give up the best hiding spot in Pushkar.
Given the opportunity (and an open-ended Indian visa), I probably could have hid in Pushkar forever.
And no one would have been able find me.
Hide-and-seek not your favourite travel activity? Maybe try a Ski Holiday instead. Just don’t try skiing WHILE playing hide-and-seek. That just seems really confusing. And actually sort of dangerous.