After visiting countless Hindu temples across the globe now I truly have a deeper grasp….of the phrase “same same but different” 😉 After the first few dozen they all start to blend together. The only exceptions are those rare offbeat temples that are so strangely unique they become impossible to ever forget. Like this one small psychedelic temple I found completely by accident in India.
Psychedelic paintings resembling “acid art” are the last thing you would expect to find inside a tiny Hindu temple in small town known as Pushkar. The artwork was all created by the head priest, who is still actively painting more. (And yes, “acid art” is a real thing — it even has its own Wikipedia page.)
And now the story of how we found this trippy temple with the painting priest:
Pushkar, India. I was here shooting a video on the Pushkar Camel Fair, as was my friend and popular travel vlogger Christine Kaaloa (Grrrl Traveler). After shooting all morning we stopped at Mamta Garden Restaurant, complete with tables on green grass surrounded by tall trees. It was like walking into a quiet oasis — and trust me, finding quiet in India is priceless. Anyway, while eating lunch some kids began watching us from the roof of Akhila Bhartiya Rawat Samaj temple next door.
After finishing our food we walked next door, entered the temple and climbed the stairs to the roof and joined the local children. There was an attached schoolroom on one side of the temple and the kids were enjoying a brief break.
It was only a few minutes later when the youngsters returned to their classroom that we explored the temple and began talking with the head priest, who spoke surprisingly good English. He’s been painting for over four decades and loves using bright vivid colors. The front entrance of the temple is full of all the trippy neon artwork, followed by an open-air courtyard in the middle and then a breathtaking handmade mirror and colored glass alcove and shrine at the back. (Photos further down.)
Pushkar’s Psychedelic Painting Priest
Given the priest’s religion, a lot of his psychedelic paintings have a Hindu theme. However he also had a few pieces depicting Jesus that he sells to the occasional tourist who stumbles in much as we did. But his best talent shines in the collection of colorful acid artwork that looks completely out of place in this dusty old town. Although he would never reveal whether or not he had actually experimented with acid, he was an interesting cat to talk speak with. (My bets are that yes, he has — probably some of that Ohm blotter featured in a couple of his artworks.)
After the exotic artwork of front lobby is a large open courtyard and beyond that lies the portion of the temple covered in small mirrors and pieces of brightly colored glass.
Akhila Bhartiya Rawat Samaj Hindu Temple
The Mirrored Temple of Pushkar
Pushkar has A LOT of temples. That’s what the city is known for. Brahma Temple. Savitri Temple. Varaha Temple. The list goes on and on. But no one ever speaks of Akhila Bhartiya Rawat Samaj, the mirrored temple with the psychedelic painting priest. Seriously?!
Past the courtyard lies the back of the temple, an exquisite mirrored alcove and shrine. All of it was handmade by the priest’s brother and took nearly two years to complete.
Visit The Temple
When in Pushkar, stopping to see this talented priest at Akhila Bhartiya Rawat Samaj Hindu temple is a ‘must do’ activity. Wish I could remember his name. Both Christine and I dropped the ball here and completely forgot. Anyway, here’s where you can find him:
Akhila Bhartiya Rawat Samaj Hindu Temple, Brahma Temple Road, Pushkar, Rajasthan 305022