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-   -   Watch out for fake brahmin at Pushkar Lake! (http://www.indiamike.com/india/scams-and-annoyances-in-india-f8/watch-out-for-fake-brahmin-at-pushkar-lake-t189160/)

aspiringsage Feb 11th, 2013 07:10

Watch out for fake brahmin at Pushkar Lake!
 
Warning, do not accept a single flower from anyone around Pushkar Lake. There are FAKE Brahmins(people in India of priest class) hooking people into rituals, and then after a one minute ritual where you put flowers into the water, they proceed to VERY AGRESSIVELY ask for 1000 rupees per family member. They have several of their friends standing right there bullying you even more. Luckily I only had 70 rupees on me, and that's all they got. But a couple sitting close to me who had just arrived in Pushkar 15 minutes earlier, got pretty much robbed for 5000 rupees!

edwardseco Feb 11th, 2013 09:29

Watch out for the real ones my spouse says. The Pushkar scam is fairly common. Try calling out for the police in Hindi. That seems to back 'em off. But, a few Rupes won't kill you. Once the shock wears off it makes a colorful story. My sis in law loves to tell about the monkey that jumped on & off her in Badami.
Cheers & good travels..

vaibhav_arora Feb 11th, 2013 10:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by edwardseco (Post 1544114)
My sis in law loves to tell about the monkey that jumped on & off her in Badami.
Cheers & good travels..

Same scam in Khandagiri caves, Bhubaneswar. Those who didnt buy peanuts for the monkeys were greeted by one jumping on them (and it was a heavy black faced langur, mind you). It cost only Rs 10 to get the monkey off your back (literally ...) :D

sannna Feb 11th, 2013 12:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by edwardseco (Post 1544114)
Try calling out for the police in Hindi.

Which, you might want to add is almost the same as the English word: "pulis".

Quote:

Originally Posted by edwardseco (Post 1544114)
But, a few Rupes won't kill you.

A few thousand is not a few rupees. And whether or not you can miss it is beside the point. The being /feeling forced / threatened to hand it over, even if it is only ten rupees is the point.

aspiringsage Feb 11th, 2013 16:16

Yes, it felt like robbery. I actually asked the fake brahmin "Are you robbing me?"" He got really defensive and said I was offending the Hindu religion. Yikes! India has got to have the most convoluted scam artists in the world.

kullukid Feb 11th, 2013 17:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by edwardseco (Post 1544114)
Watch out for the real ones my spouse says.

Is there any "real" ones (twice born)?????:confused:;) KK

paanwallah Feb 12th, 2013 19:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by sannna (Post 1544171)
Which, you might want to add is almost the same as the English word: "pulis".

Exactly! Call the pulis. Athough I heared one bad guy on the street saying it stands for Pretty UseLess In combating Scam, why not to try?

nycank Feb 15th, 2013 12:27

How does one detect a "fake" brahmin ? It not like a "fake" diamond :) I would think in a very caste conscious place like Pushkar (for that matter, any religious place in India, or elsewhere) a brahmin would never allow non-brahmins or shudras to perform and do rituals on behalf of others.

Nick-H Feb 15th, 2013 12:51

Exactly. Much of the idea of caste is centred around restrictive trade practices. Just because somebody rips you off doesn't mean they weren't "qualified" to do whatever job they did for you!

nycank Feb 15th, 2013 13:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 1546149)
Exactly. Much of the idea of caste is centred around restrictive trade practices. Just because somebody rips you off doesn't mean they weren't "qualified" to do whatever job they did for you!

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 :D

george312 Mar 25th, 2013 05:35

5000, wow...must have been newcomers. I had a real one, asked me for like 400 I gave him 80 and walked away. He even saw me later and was friendly with me, lol

nycank Mar 25th, 2013 05:56

This past Feb, just to indulge a fellow traveler, I had a pandit (known to a common friend from Jaipur) accompany us from the outskirts of the town , and stay with us for good 90 minutes. For this he asked, for Rs 50; and I paid him Rs 50+One Susan B Anthony. :D

I asked him about "fake brahmin" bizniz. He laughed so hard, it was not even funny. As I mentioned earlier, You can fake an O, but you cant fake being a brahmin in that small town for even a newyorkminute :D

RPG Mar 25th, 2013 06:05

The job of priests in any religion is to relieve you of your money. What would they live on otherwise? That doesn't make them fake priests, but rather absolutely normal priests, and so the above-described activities do not make anyone a fake Brahmin. Maybe an overpriced Brahmin, but otherwise typical.

sab kuch milega Mar 25th, 2013 09:27

Regarding "fake" brahmin priests, I've had a couple pull the sacred threads out of their shirts to show me! If they get really pushy, I just tell them it's bad karma for them to be so insistent. (which it is! :) )

bombayboy Mar 25th, 2013 11:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by george312 (Post 1565017)
5000, wow...must have been newcomers. I had a real one, asked me for like 400 I gave him 80 and walked away. He even saw me later and was friendly with me, lol

80 Rs is a lot of money for 1 flower.

Golghar Mar 25th, 2013 15:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by sab kuch milega (Post 1565058)
I've had a couple pull the sacred threads out of their shirts to show me!

It's not just Brahmins who wear the sacred thread: it's male members of the "twice-born" castes. And furthermore, there is no law prohibiting anyone who might be so inclined from wearing a thread around one's shoulder.

sab kuch milega Mar 25th, 2013 22:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golghar (Post 1565198)
It's not just Brahmins who wear the sacred thread: it's male members of the "twice-born" castes. And furthermore, there is no law prohibiting anyone who might be so inclined from wearing a thread around one's shoulder.

Thanks for the correction; I didn't know other castes could be "twice born". As for the thread, I kinda took that with a grain of salt...in Pushkar, anyway! :)

treeoflife Mar 26th, 2013 10:38

If you are insisted to do it is not religious
 
If you are doing anything without your desire or consent it is not religious.
The pooja ritual in Pushkar is for Hindus mainly but if you wish you do it its fine but if you are forced to do it is not divine anymore.

The priest in Pushkar are only descender(from the families ) of priest and are not
real one who go through proper education.
This is a group of young people who find this way for easy money and take advantage of tourist.

sab kuch milega Mar 26th, 2013 12:39

I have had two nice pujas at Pushkar...

India-012 Sep 9th, 2016 22:42

The remedy for any potential scammer anywhere in India is the same. Ignore them. No fake Brahmin in Pushkar is forcing you to do anything. I'm not sure why non-Hindus would be paying anyone to do a ritual at Pushkar Lake in the first place. What is the point exactly? You can't go in the Brahma temple, you can't go in New Rangji mandir. You can easily enjoy the lake without doing puja.

surya2015 Sep 10th, 2016 21:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by India-012 (Post 1985274)
The remedy for any potential scammer anywhere in India is the same. Ignore them. No fake Brahmin in Pushkar is forcing you to do anything. I'm not sure why non-Hindus would be paying anyone to do a ritual at Pushkar Lake in the first place. What is the point exactly? You can't go in the Brahma temple, you can't go in New Rangji mandir. You can easily enjoy the lake without doing puja.

Are you a caucasian? Are there any restrictions imposed on (perceived) non-hindus? What about the other mandirs in Pushkar, are white folks allowed in there?
Elaborate on this, if you don't mind.

India-012 Sep 14th, 2016 14:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by surya2015 (Post 1985440)
Are you a caucasian? Are there any restrictions imposed on (perceived) non-hindus? What about the other mandirs in Pushkar, are white folks allowed in there?
Elaborate on this, if you don't mind.

Foreginers are not permitted in the Brahma Temple or in New Rangji Mandir. Old Rangji is ok. There may be other temples in Pushkar that are off limits to foreigners, but offhand I'm not familiar with any other than these two. The enforcement is quite strict. I don't know if it is only an Indian/foreigner distinction, or religous. I would be surprised if non-Hindu Indians are barred, but I don't know.

Nick-H Sep 14th, 2016 14:56

"Foreigners?" How would they know? Do they check passports? Amazing how many of my Tamil Brahmin friends are actually American.

Never been there, but I suspect it will be not different to the situation at some temples here, where the sign says, "Non-Hindus not allowed..." but the implementation is people who do not look Indian not allowed.

lismoresimon23 Sep 14th, 2016 22:11

I am pretty sure I was in the Brahma temple in January,I asked some one who was local if I could enter and he said it was fine. There was a ceremony taking place so I did not hang around to long. I also had the flower scam pulled on me,but as knew what was about to happen it did not bother me. Mind you the bloke wasnon to happy with his ten rupee donation.

India-012 Sep 18th, 2016 23:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by lismoresimon23 (Post 1986361)
I am pretty sure I was in the Brahma temple in January,I asked some one who was local if I could enter and he said it was fine. There was a ceremony taking place so I did not hang around to long. I also had the flower scam pulled on me,but as knew what was about to happen it did not bother me. Mind you the bloke wasnon to happy with his ten rupee donation.

I would be very surpised if you were able to enter the Brahma temple. I would be shocked if you were able to even start walking up the steps. I know the right people in Pushkar and I would never get as far as the entrance, but I guess it could happen.

India-012 Sep 18th, 2016 23:40

Yes, people who don't look Indian

Sama Sep 18th, 2016 23:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by lismoresimon23 (Post 1986361)
I am pretty sure I was in the Brahma temple in January,

ditto. I was in Pushkar two years ago and I also went into that temple, no problem. no one tried to stop me or hassle me.

I guess maybe I look Indian. cool:

:D

Sama Sep 19th, 2016 01:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 1986233)
"Foreigners?" How would they know?

You have to ask?

Nick-H Sep 19th, 2016 01:07

Quote:

You have to ask?
Yes... Because I know so many "Indians" who are actually American. But I forget what the point was...

lismoresimon23 Sep 19th, 2016 01:13

So who are the right people in Pushkar ?

kullukid Sep 19th, 2016 01:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by lismoresimon23 (Post 1987262)
So who are the right people in Pushkar ?

Only wrong un's!![whoa]

FisherKing Oct 31st, 2016 23:41

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.

Nick-H Nov 1st, 2016 00:00

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.

theRock Nov 1st, 2016 07:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycank (Post 1546161)
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 :D

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! http://www.indiamike.com/india/images/icons/icon10.gif

But I guess scammers can be found anywhere in India specially touristic places.

Gangambika Feb 20th, 2017 16:44

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!

Sachin Soccer Feb 20th, 2017 16:50

Hahaha...Take care... 😁

Nick-H Feb 20th, 2017 23:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gangambika (Post 2019785)
... ... (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 :D

Govindpuri Feb 21st, 2017 02:02

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.

ViShVa Feb 21st, 2017 02:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govindpuri (Post 2019876)
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 :) )!

Gangambika Feb 21st, 2017 12:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 2019862)
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 :D

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! :)


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