When: 08 – 14 November, 2016.
What: Pushkar Fair
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
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With a unique cultural extravaganza, this mélange of festivity attracts every international and domestic vacationer. The Pushkar ‘mela’, a synonym for ‘fair’, is the annual camel and livestock fair held in Pushkar. A small town located on the edge of Thar Desert in the Indian state of Rajasthan, now a major tourist attraction and one of the world’s largest camel fair. About 11 kms from Ajmer which is an oasis located amidst green hills, it has emerged as a major pilgrimage center. The week long celebrations take place during the months of November – December, according to the lunar calendar. Pulsating beats of vivid images of the Sacred Brahma land, Pushkar brings alive the rich tradition of Rajasthan. Groups of camels, herders and traders appear from out of the desert and set up camps in the dunes around Pushkar. Most camels, nomads, herders, farmers and traders arrive on foot or by camel carts and the gathering rapidly grows to immense proportions!
The main day of the Pushkar ‘mela’ is considered on a full moon day. According to legend; the holy Pushkar Lake was created by the lotus petals which fell from the hands of Lord Brahma, this was when the Pushkar Lake sprung up, thus numerous people swim in its sacred waters so to get salvation and great numbers of colorfully-dressed villagers arrive from all over the region to bathe in the holy lake. Pilgrims throng the streets of Pushkar and the fairground bazaars that is full of textiles and handmade craft. A must visit at Pushkar is the Brahma temple, the only place in the country where the Lord Brahma is worshiped.
The first and second day of the fair is the best time for photography of people and animals because as the business is concluded camels and traders begin to disappear back into the desert. A camel race starts off the festival, with music and songs and a large cheering crowd followed by exhibitions with stalls full of textiles and fabrics, jewelry and food items. Thousands of people head towards the banks of the Pushkar Lake situated in the heart of the town. Men buying and sell their livestock, which included camels, cows, sheep, goats as well as thoroughbred ‘Merwari’ horses — constitutes the most important aspect of the fair. The main draws for this fair that attracts are competitions such as the ‘matka phod’, longest mustache and bridal competition. In recent years the fair has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar club and a team of foreign tourists. The tented bazaars are a hive of activity, while the scene on the dunes being increasingly busy and chaotic, with camel cart rides, itinerant musicians and vendors. Around the stadium you will find cultural activities, competitions and a craft fair with handicraft stalls.
The Pushkar ‘mela’ has become so popular among tourists that it has secured the center stage of Indian tourism. This fair has so much to offer to the visitors that every trip brings something new. The Pushkar Fair is gaining more popularity with the passage of time and has been attracting more visitors. Presently, the number of visitors stands at a jaw dropping 185000! The eternal call of the state of Rajasthan and the uniqueness of the fair are the main factors that are helping it grow. This multi-faceted fair has the sand dunes, architectural masterpieces, melodious folk music and mouth watering cuisines. Visiting the Pushkar Mela? Here’s a tip- Try the ‘Maalpuas’ at ‘Gaou Ghat’ and get in conversation with the locals for some pretty interesting stories about the local culture.
With a nip in the air, the chill is surly not the only thing you will experience!