One would synonymise Pushkar Fair with camels. Located in the Pushkar district of Rajasthan, India, the Pushkar Fair attracts thousands and hundreds of visitors every year. It’s not like your average fair as it begins with the onset of the full moon of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika, also having a religious significance. Getting back to the relation with camels, the Pushkar Fair sees an astonishing 30,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town every year. It is one of the world’s biggest camel fairs. Generically, it is an annual 5 day camel and livestock fair. But looking through a realistic point of view, it is so much more than just camels – it is more about the general joyous environment and frolicking of a traditional fair.
The Pushkar Fair starts from the Kartik ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day of Kartik (October–November) in Hindu calendar. The full moon night, Kartik Purnima 2016, the focus of the religious and pilgrimage activities, is 14 November. The full moon day is the main day and the day, according to legend, the Hindu god Brahma sprung up in the Pushkar Lake. Thus numerous people swim in its sacred waters. It is said that people who bathe in this lake especially on the day of the Poornima, are granted special blessings from Lord Brahma. Pushkar also boasts of having the only temple in India with Brahma as the only deity.
Now coming back to the fair, the Pushkar Fair draws in around 50,000 camels and about 200,000 people every year. The onset of the fair begins almost a week early when farmers from all over gather and to buy and sell their cattle, horses, camels and indulge in other trades as well. All of this presumably gets over in five to six days, thus marking the onset of the actual fair. The camels remain as a secondary attraction as moustache competitions and sporting events grab the centre stage. The camels are dressed up, paraded, shaved, entered into beauty contests, raced and are made to dance (yes, dance!).
A huge carnival is held, with a plethora of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides to entertain the crowd. Visitors are embraced and incorporated into the fair, with events such as tug-of-war or kabaddi matches pitting Indians against foreigners, and a turban-tying contest purely for foreign visitors. Other than that, there’s temple dancing, folk and fusion music concerts, spiritual and heritage walks, and arts and crafts bazaar as well. This is one of the reasons why the Pushkar Fair is unlike any other and has its own charm.
A market right outside the fair complex can also be found with shops selling camel decorations, handcrafted items, jewellery and a lot more. Usually a carousal or a Ferris wheel is put up for the visitors to take a spin. You can also take a hot air balloon ride and watch the Pushkar Fair in all its glory up above in the air. Many vendors provide you this opportunity and thus attract many tourists.
Coming to the accommodation, as the fair attracts an overwhelming number of visitors, the prices generally go up by 10 times. It is advised to book well in advance or if that is not possible, arrive a few days before the actual fair starts and find a place to stay. Accommodations include simple guesthouses, luxury tented camps set up in the desert especially for the festival, heritage hotels, and farm stays. The weather is the generic desert weather – hot days and cold nights so you have to pack accordingly.
Pushkar Fair starts on the 8th of November and ends on the 14th of November this year. What are you waiting for? Adventures like these don’t knock on your door every time. Head on to the land of camels and experience the fair of a lifetime!
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