The Holy Scam – Scams in Pushkar

Just like any other places in the world that attract a lot of visitors (local and foreign tourists alike), Pushkar is peppered with scammers especially around the lake area. If I have internet access, I usually read on things that I should be aware of on my next destination to prepare me for some possible hassles on my travels. But the scams in Pushkar caught me offguard at least for a few seconds until I realized what’s going on.

The Holy Scam - Scams in Pushkar

The Flower Bait

I was walking along the market with a friend of mine when suddenly someone puts some flowers in my hand. It was so quick, I was a bit stunned on why the old man did that and what he wanted to happen. My friend continued walking and I was left with the guy inviting me to go to the lake to make some offering. My gut feel told me to just walk away. And so I did.

Two days after, we’re back in the market to walk around and eat at Little Tibet (my favorite restaurant in Pushkar) when two young guys stopped us on our tracks and gave us flowers for another offering (again!). We politely declined the offer and walked away.

The Holy Scam

The guys followed us and insisting that we should make an offering since we just arrived. We told them that we’ve been in Pushkar for a couple of days already and we know there’s no festival. One of the guys (the one riding a moto) started making a scene and yelled at us saying that we are disrespectful of their tradition blah blah blah!

We walked away!

As soon as I got back to the hostel, I started digging information online on what’s going on with the flower and offering and I came across a lot of detailed information from people who got victimized by this kind of scam.

Apparently (based on the accounts of those who believed these guys), you’ll be ushered to offer the flowers to the lake and they’ll do some ceremony and will asked you how many family members you’d like to make a prayer to.

After the ceremony they’ll charge exorbitant amount of money multiplied by the number of family members you’ve mentioned to them.

Here are some other online documentation of people who got scammed in Pushkar:

1. Holy Extortion – The Brahman’s Scam
2. Pushkar Passport Scam
3. Other Scams in Pushkar You Should Know
4. First Day in Pushkar – Henna Trick

Best Way to Avoid Getting Scammed in Pushkar

The best way to avoid getting scammed not only in Pushkar but in all places that you’re going to is to always read about information that you should be very aware of. If you can’t do that before you travel to this place then spend a few minutes upon settling in your hostel.

Scams happen in a lot of places and the best way to avoid it so to keep ourselves informed.

Pushkar is a lovely place, given a chance to visit this place again I will (I might go back for the camel fair), don’t let these thugs scare you of visiting this place!



  1. When I was in Myanmar I ran into travelers whom told me they had a fake monk try to rip them off and his picture was all over google images for the fake monk scam for that pagoda.

    Information is power. Stay safe!

  2. Scams… They are so universal. I travel in Asia for 10 months and came across a lot of scams in Thailand and Vietnam. Like you said: everywhere a lot of tourists go there will be scams. I hope to go to India one day. I might visit Pushkar. Thanks for sharing the most common scams in this Area! Very helpful to recognize them and avoid them!

  3. Thanks for the tip because we hope to travel there next year. It’s good you walked away – I’m sure many more less seasoned travellers get caught into scams like these!

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