“Each November, more than 300,000 people and 50,000 animals convene in a dusty town in Rajasthan for one of India’s most spectacular festivals.”
The Pushkar Fair which (Pushkar Camel Fair) or locally Pushkar ka Mela is an annual five day camel and livestock fair held in the town of Pushkar which is also famous for the only Brahma Temple in India. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs. Apart from the trading of livestock, it has become an important tourist attraction, now it is so famous that tourist from all over the world come to experience it’s fascinating and peculiar sight, the fair also provides a great opportunity to witness the old traditional-style Indian festival.
What you need to know before going there:
During the time of the fair Pushkar’s population increases from 15,000 to a quarter-million and not surprisingly the rates of hotels and luxury tents shoots up, so it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance. You can also reach Pushkar before a day or two the fair starts as fair is already set up and you can get the complete fell of the fair.
Started with the intention to attract the local camel and cattle traders to do business during the Kiartik Purnima as it is considered as an auspicious occasion in Hindus. The fair has now also become a major tourist attraction. All the camel action takes place during the first few days of the festival, after which time the focus shifts to heightened religious celebrations.
What to look for:
The highlight of the fest is definitely the camel race, although the comical beauty contests featuring elaborately adorned and shaved camels are also amusing. Men buy and sell their livestock, which includes camels, cows, sheep and goats. Women go to the stalls, full of bracelets, clothes, textiles and fabrics. The fairs starts with a race between the camels followed by music, songs and exhibitions. There’s temple dancing, folk and classical music, and arts an crafts bazaar as well. And, of course, the fair would be incomplete without a mustache competition! Pilgrims also come here to bath in the waters of Pushkar lake and absolve their sins. The two days around the full moon are considered to be the most auspicious time of the year for the bath.
When and where:
As the name suggests the fest is held in the small town of Pushkar, near Ajmer, in the state of Rajasthan. The fest is usually celebrated in November, exact dates are decided depending on the cycle of the moon. It is celebrated for five days from the Kartik ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day (the 15th) of Kartik (October–November) in Hindu calendar. In 2016 the Fair is scheduled to held between 8th to 15th November.
Though Pushkar has a railway station but there are not a lot of trains halt there, Ajmer which is around 15 KM from Pushkar is a bigger railway station. There are some local trains running from Ajmer to Pushkar which takes around an hour or you can hire a taxi usually costs approximately 500-600 rupees but can be more during the camel fair. Alternatively, the nearest airport is in Jaipur, around two and a half hours away. Taxi fares to Pushkar can double during the festival
Other local attractions:
While at Camel fair make sure that you visit the Pushkar’s Brahma Temple is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Brahma. You can also head to take a dip in Pushkar lake which is considered more auspicious during the kartik.