Recently one of my friends reported me this Pushkar passport scam being done by thugs disguised as Sadhus (priests) .It is an old saying that money is the root of all evils and this scam falls on the same line. Few thugs disguised as priests are looting foreign tourist in the name of faith. The modus operandi used by these swindlers is same. Once they spot innocent foreign tourists, these fake priests first try to befriend with tourists .Once tourists get into conversation with them, tourists are given a flower by that person and this is the first step to the big scam the tourist is going to fall into. Most of the time tourists do not have any idea into what trap they are falling for. Once tourists accept the flower, they are asked to take part in some puja on the ghats of the Pushkar Lake. This is when tourists are asked to offer money, usually 100$ to 150$ (4500 INR to anything one cal fall far). The worst part comes when a tourist accepts the flower and denies for the puja offering. These thugs will try all tricks to make one fall for it, worst these thugs can even threaten someone of dire consequences.
Tourists after performing Puja (image courtesy : Russell Brown)
This puja is well known among tourists who are well prepared before entering Pushkar. One gets a yellow (red) bracelet to wear if he performs full puja and offers money asked by priests.This bracelet is known as Pushkar Passport among tourist circuits.
How to avoid Pushkar Passport scam:
Here are few tips one can practice to avoid getting harassed by these thugs.
- Don’t look vulnerable: make sure you read about the place before you head for it. This is single most important tip; not only for Pushkar but for any unknown place you have in your itinerary.
- If anyone comes to you offering flower, simple deny accepting it in first place itself
- If you think you are being outnumbered by these thugs, shout at them, ask for help to others. Most of the time this situation will not come but you should be prepared for the worse. If you look confident and well informed, know will bother you.
Pushkar is a nice little town in Indian state of Rajasthan, it is famous for its world’s largest camel fair.Leaving these thugs, people of Pushkar are very gentle and you will get best hospitality possible in anywhere. Wish you a happy travelling