Watch out for fake brahmin at Pushkar Lake!

#31 Sep 19th, 2016, 01:49
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#31
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Originally Posted by lismoresimon23 View Post So who are the right people in Pushkar ?
Only wrong un's!!
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread: http://www.indiamike.com/india/uttar...012-a-t159252/

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#32 Oct 31st, 2016, 23:41
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#32

Brahma temple Pushkar

We were in Pushkar a few days ago and Westerners can visit the Brahma temple.
You can leave your camera etc in a locker at the bottom of the steps for Rs20.

As for the fake Brahmin scam we were caught (dropped my guard!) by the bridge and once realised where it was going pulled out but he insisted we make a donation "everyone makes a Brahmin donation" we refused and crossed the bridge where he caught up with us. He wanted Rs2000. We got into quite a load argument and I gave him a full piece of my mine about what he was doing and how he was bad for doing it. In the end we walked off to the delight of some nearby local who almost broke into applause.

I feel sorry for less seasoned travellers who feel that they will be being disrespectful if they refuse rather than realising it is a scam.
#33 Nov 1st, 2016, 00:00
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#33
A long time back, some young, fit-looking guy outside a well-known Chennai temple asked me for money, and I suggested that he got a job. He told me that he was not allowed to do any work other than praying chanting and such. I wish someone would try that line on me today: I would ask what about all the Brahmin doctors, lawyers, accountants, bank managers, engineers, etc etc etc etc that I know!

And, as for carrying on the traditional trade, I was mentioning recently how I see far fewer pujaris on mopeds than I used to years ago. My [Brahmin] friend replied that they drive cars now. Apparently it can be a lucrative trade; he said he knows guys who have given up software jobs to take it up.
~
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#34 Nov 1st, 2016, 07:29
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#34
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Originally Posted by nycank View Post Interestingly, all dips are not the same. Not all priests are equally holy. So, what price would you - "the grandma" and "ma" place on holy baptismal ritual ? I can assure, it is more monies than you and I can count, be it in shekel or dollars
Right.

Just sharing my experience at Pushkar itself last year.

At the hotel my sensitive AESA ears caught up very faint non-stop chantings since night from a secret secluded hilltop miles away.So due to those interesting vibrations I decided to go there alone in the morning leaving my group at the hotel as they were interested in lazying around and not climbing up a hill.So I walked a bit and while entering the "base camp" I met this Babaji who was entering and asked him about the history of temple.We started talking and climbed up the hill together talking about history/mythology etc.

After reaching the temple he showed me a holy fountain in a small room which was locked but he had the keys.Entry was barred inside this fountain for normal people.So he told more about it and let me inside and took some holy water in a bowl.He did some rituals(some of the Sanskrit purification words/mantras I could recognize) and sprinkled water on me and asked me to drink it.The water source was deep inside from some cracks of hills and tasted great.After this he took me to many places inside temple and showed me the Samadhi(burial) of the priest who laid foundation of the temple decades ago.He then introduced me to another Baba ji who requested me to have Langar which means free food.I was suspecting if they are gonna ask some Dakshina(some ritualistic money). At no time anyone gave me any hint/idea that they want any Dakshina from me.Later I figured out that he was a very known Babaji at the place since he knew all people working there.

So I spent some time alone at the secret topmost temple place and got 10 kg of instant "Peace".As a respect I gave some amount secretly at the donation box since I don't really like eating up food for free and it can provide it for more people who visit.While I was going he waved me bye and if asked if I had a good time. btw at the starting I told him that I am not a Hindu but I am comfortable going to Temples sometimes and already know many mantras etc.

So perhaps I met a GENUINE Brahmin/Babaji/Guide!

But I guess scammers can be found anywhere in India specially touristic places.
#35 Feb 20th, 2017, 16:44
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#35
I'm surprised at how quickly I found this thread!

Being scammed in Pushkar made me feel very disturbed. I'm no newbie traveler, and even before the man started chanting his prayers, I knew this was a scam. I'm a non-confrontational person by nature, and find it really difficult to say no to people. I think it was Jerome K. Jerome whose character, Henry said, "When I ask John for a train timetable and he brings me coals instead, I accept the coals as a substitute." That, in essence, is me. It was very disturbing for me, to be sitting there next to a tiny lake, listening to this man chanting mantras which he had made up (I'm no Brahmin pandit, but I know a fake mantra when I see one!), knowing he was going to ask me a huge sum of money, and wondering if at least this time, I could summon up the courage to say no. Well, I couldn't. I ended up parting with Rs. 500 for the peace of getting him off my back, which pinched more because we were all still reeling from demonetization, and watched as a foreign woman comfortably said no and walked off, envying the ease with which foreign women can navigate Indian men better than I can. Social conditioning sucks!
#36 Feb 20th, 2017, 16:50
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#36
Hahaha...Take care... 😁
#37 Feb 20th, 2017, 23:56
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#37
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Originally Posted by Gangambika View Post ... ... (I'm no Brahmin pandit, but I know a fake mantra when I see one!), knowing he was going to ask me a huge sum of money, and wondering if at least this time, I could summon up the courage to say no. Well, I couldn't. I ended up parting with Rs. 500 for the peace of getting him off my back, which pinched more because we were all still reeling from demonetization, and watched as a foreign woman comfortably said no and walked off, envying the ease with which foreign women can navigate Indian men better than I can. Social conditioning sucks!
You tell the story very nicely, and express just how hard it is for people caught in this situation just to say no.

Do we gather from that last bit that you are Indian, and they still try this stuff on you? That surprises me!

Oh, and welcome to Indiamike
#38 Feb 21st, 2017, 02:02
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#38
A good way to avoid Brahmins is to have a 'Pushkar Passport'. These people target new visitors. When they do puja for you they tie a piece of holy thread on your wrist. This thread is known as Pushkar Passport. If you have a thread on your wrist they leave you alone.
Before you get to Pushkar, tie a thread on your wrist. They will leave you alone.
#39 Feb 21st, 2017, 02:07
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#39
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Originally Posted by Govindpuri View Post A good way to avoid Brahmins is to have a 'Pushkar Passport'. These people target new visitors. When they do puja for you they tie a piece of holy thread on your wrist. This thread is known as Pushkar Passport. If you have a thread on your wrist they leave you alone.
Before you get to Pushkar, tie a thread on your wrist. They will leave you alone.
No passport is gonna save that gentle givin' soul!

(Welcome to IndiaMike, Gangambika )!
#40 Feb 21st, 2017, 12:54
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#40
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post You tell the story very nicely, and express just how hard it is for people caught in this situation just to say no.

Do we gather from that last bit that you are Indian, and they still try this stuff on you? That surprises me!

Oh, and welcome to Indiamike
Oh yes, I am Indian. But with curly hair, fair skin and a generically clueless expression in life, I'm quite often mistaken for a foreigner. And touts are like hawks....they can see an easy prey, even an Indian one, from a mile away. I think the "pandit" spent the entire puja calculating how much he could ask from me to make me feel like a horrible disrespectful person for refusing to give even that much to the poor.

And, thanks!
#41 Feb 21st, 2017, 12:59
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#41
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Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post No passport is gonna save that gentle givin' soul!

(Welcome to IndiaMike, Gangambika )!
You read me most correctly, sir! I am, as Lady Macbeth would say of me most contemptuously, too full of the milk of human kindness. I must say though, that sharing my story makes me feel much less of a fool than I objectively am.
Thanks for the welcome.
#42 Feb 21st, 2017, 15:34
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Originally Posted by Gangambika View Post Oh yes, I am Indian. But with curly hair, fair skin and a generically clueless expression in life, I'm quite often mistaken for a foreigner. ... ... ...
My wife is sometimes mistaken for a foreigner, because she's married to one, but a few words in the local language that she has obviously been speaking all her life are more than enough to correct the mistake.

Mind you, occasionally, this has led to a local-language request seeking her help to get some more cash out of me! haha, she is far more hard-line than I am.

Over the years, I have become more adept at saying no, at least with strangers. I'm afraid that known people have cost me a lot of money! And it is easy to take the off-the-shelf standard advice and pass it on: you may not have a clue, but try to look as if you have. Like they say about city streets, try to look as if you know where you are going even when you don't. Especially when you don't.

Another thing I've probably posted a hundred times is the Londoner technique: we Londoners can spend entire days in huge crowds without ever even acknowledging the existence of another person! But that does not make us bullet-proof tourists. Indeed, many travellers will advise the exact opposite, and suggest opening up. Especially in India, where all is so wonderful .

Well fine, it's their money. And just like the tipping thread, it's entirely their choice how they spend it. And sometimes, even today, my wife might be almost trying to hide the purse, but I am insisting on giving something to someone.

Tipping, beggars, priests and fake priests... all part of the same scenario, really. And all part of the same mindset as to how to deal with it. It is not compulsory to be mean; it is not compulsory to be generous either.

The biggest problem for visitors (see the drivers and tipping threads) is that they have no clue whether they are being mean or generous. I've learnt to have a clue; your clue, whether it shows in your face or not, should be even bigger than mine: more on a par with Mrs N for local knowledge.

I've never been to Pushkar (I've not been up-north much at all, bar a few days in Delhi) or any of the hard-sell-religion places. I am no longer charmed by the prospect of someone saying mantras over me. If I want that, I can get it any day from music people that I love and respect and who will not ask one paise. So I think I'd be about as good a prospect to them as I am to some cold caller trying to sell me a credit card. But I'm sure those guys are really, really good, and I'd have to take the test for real and then tell if I could just say no. Or not.

Gangambika, one thing I find really curious about your contribution to this thread is the fact that these guys are apparently so fake that they don't even use real mantras. Oh, come on, guys! How hard is it to memorise a few words!
#43 Feb 22nd, 2017, 09:57
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#43
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I'm a non-confrontational person by nature, and find it really difficult to say no to people.
As my grandfather would say, be glad you weren't born a woman. He was a rough tough character, a natural Texan..
#44 Feb 24th, 2017, 21:27
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post My wife is sometimes mistaken for a foreigner, because she's married to one, but a few words in the local language that she has obviously been speaking all her life are more than enough to correct the mistake.

Mind you, occasionally, this has led to a local-language request seeking her help to get some more cash out of me! haha, she is far more hard-line than I am.

Over the years, I have become more adept at saying no, at least with strangers. I'm afraid that known people have cost me a lot of money! And it is easy to take the off-the-shelf standard advice and pass it on: you may not have a clue, but try to look as if you have. Like they say about city streets, try to look as if you know where you are going even when you don't. Especially when you don't.

Another thing I've probably posted a hundred times is the Londoner technique: we Londoners can spend entire days in huge crowds without ever even acknowledging the existence of another person! But that does not make us bullet-proof tourists. Indeed, many travellers will advise the exact opposite, and suggest opening up. Especially in India, where all is so wonderful .

Well fine, it's their money. And just like the tipping thread, it's entirely their choice how they spend it. And sometimes, even today, my wife might be almost trying to hide the purse, but I am insisting on giving something to someone.

Tipping, beggars, priests and fake priests... all part of the same scenario, really. And all part of the same mindset as to how to deal with it. It is not compulsory to be mean; it is not compulsory to be generous either.

The biggest problem for visitors (see the drivers and tipping threads) is that they have no clue whether they are being mean or generous. I've learnt to have a clue; your clue, whether it shows in your face or not, should be even bigger than mine: more on a par with Mrs N for local knowledge.

I've never been to Pushkar (I've not been up-north much at all, bar a few days in Delhi) or any of the hard-sell-religion places. I am no longer charmed by the prospect of someone saying mantras over me. If I want that, I can get it any day from music people that I love and respect and who will not ask one paise. So I think I'd be about as good a prospect to them as I am to some cold caller trying to sell me a credit card. But I'm sure those guys are really, really good, and I'd have to take the test for real and then tell if I could just say no. Or not.

Gangambika, one thing I find really curious about your contribution to this thread is the fact that these guys are apparently so fake that they don't even use real mantras. Oh, come on, guys! How hard is it to memorise a few words!
That's quite some skill your wife has then, and you, Nick, for that matter. I've been in situations where someone walks up to me and starts the usual spiel given to foreigners, "heelllooo maa'am, I show you around?" with that creepy drawl. (I was walking with a friend of mine yesterday, white female, and some creep came up and did this to us, and I was reminded again how hard it is to be a foreign woman in India!) I usually tell these men to fuck off in the local language but they'll continue talking to me in English. It's almost funny now that I think about it cuz it takes them about four sentences of back and forth, again in the local language for realization to click in. Then they'll say, "You are Indian?" with disbelief. Umm...you kinda shoulda realized that 5 minutes ago! :/ Oh well, I'm still better off than my dad who has curly hair with dark skin and gets mistaken for an African. However shitty Indians are to the white, they're way worse to black people.

I've learned to use the Londoner's technique, as you call it, in Delhi. No way I'd have survived Delhi for 2 years without it. But it's so draining to be a dick to everyone on a daily basis and fight with auto drivers over 10 rupees that I let my guard down on holidays (as one should no?) Oh, I hate religious places! I have the general discomfort of non-believers in places of worship. I want to be respectful cuz it's not my belief but it's sometimes hard to be. And in Pushkar, all I wanted to do was take photos of some black winged stilts that were perching on the other side! Well, at least he and others left me alone after that, and I got my bird photos.

Fake mantras may not be all of the "pandits" there. Maybe it was just this guy. Or maybe he got lazy and figured I wouldn't understand anything since it was Sanskrit, and just mumbled random words instead. Con men get lazy too I suppose.
#45 Feb 25th, 2017, 08:15
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#45
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Originally Posted by Gangambika View Post ... And in Pushkar, all I wanted to do was take photos of some black winged stilts that were perching on the other side! Well, at least he and others left me alone after that, and I got my bird photos ...
There is an excellent thread called "Which bird is this?".

Do post the stilt pics there.

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