Pushkar Camel Fair
October 28 – November 04, 2017
Every November, the sleepy little township of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India comes alive with a riot of colors and a frenzied burst of activity. The occasion: PUSHKAR FAIR. Very few, if at all any, fairs in the world can match the liveliness of Pushkar. Most people associate the Pushkar Fair with the world’s largest camel fair. But it is much more than that.
For the visitor, it is an unparalleled and unforgettable experience to capture the vibrancy of the entire state of Rajasthan in one place.
The Pushkar Fair occurs every year in the Hindu month of kartik (October /November). During this period Pushkar and its environs come alive as the much awaited annual camel & cattle fair begins at Pushkar. Hotels are full to their capacity, tents and campsites suddenly spring up to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims, tourists and villagers with herds of cattle, horses and camels who come here to participate in this grand annual event.
Pushkar fair has always been the region’s central cattle market for local herdsmen and farmers of Rajasthan, who buy and sell camels, horses and indigenous breeds of cattle. Pushkar fair is now one of Asia’s largest cattle fairs.
The dates of the Pushkar Camel Fair are linked to the Hindu lunar calendar. The Fair has two components — camel trading and religious rituals. The camel trading, which is the main attraction for tourists, happens at the commencement of the festival and then winds up as the focus shifts to the religious aspect.
Over the first five days of the fair, camels, horses, cows, goats, and sheep are sold and purchased. There may be long-drawn negotiations, or sometimes, a quick transaction. Hard bargains are struck, the vendor praising the long list of virtues of his camel to the prospective buyer. An astonishing 30,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town of Pushkar as far as the eyes can see and the population of Pushkar swells to over 400,000 people, with an inflow of pilgrims, camel traders, and tourists. The camel races are definitely a highlight, although the comical beauty contests featuring elaborately adorned and shaved camels are also amusing.
Womenfolk seem to have little interest in the business of animals. They are more attracted to the glittering wares in the stalls under canopies. The large variety of intricate silver ornaments – hairpins and chains, nose rings and neckbands, waistbands, anklets, toe rings and the ivory bangles worn from wrist to shoulder – would send any woman on a buying spree.
The garments stalls, in no way less colourful, sell high fashion upper garments of patchwork and tie ‘n’ die. Tattoo stalls give many women beauty marks that last a lifetime. Whoever said that the unsophisticated are not fashionable!
In Rajasthan even the camels are fashion-conscious and that too to a high degree, for they are soon to be part of a beauty parade! The proud owner of a newly acquired camel promptly goes to the stalls which the women bypassed.
At these stalls all the crafts of Rajasthan have been pressed into the service of the camel community. Handmade saddles to fit every hump; long strings of cowries, beads; colourful, woven saddle-straps, and embroidered back-covers to boot. After a shearing and a scrub, the camel is costumed and even perfumed! Surely the Rajasthani man loves his camel-and his wife!
Fun and frolic
As the tempo of business goes down, the men folk turn to merriment, for the day of the camel sports is at hand. Camel races are the first event. Usually a lumbering beast of burden, the camel all decorated in finery, imagines itself to be an ostrich, and rushes through the race like one. Then comes the event analogous to musical chairs. Here, as the music stops, the camel is supposed to manage to stick its long arching neck between two poles, each camel owner guiding its entrant by means of a silken cord attached to its nose ring.
Vying for the first place in the beauty contest, splendidly bedecked camels are bought to the ring and paraded to catch the critical eye of keen judges. The gait of the camel, the choice of its equipment and ornament, its capacity to interpret and carry out commands and the variety of pranks it is capable of performing are the criteria of selection. The most thrilling camel event is ‘laadoo oonth’. see how much weight the camel can can carry, man after man clamber onto the ridge-like back of the camel, each clutching at the other to retain the collectively precarious position. It is not an uncommon sight to see the human cargo come crashing down as the camel tries to get to its feet! It is yet to be known if this is the intention of the camel.
See the fair from a Hot Air Balloon:
It’s possible to witness the spectacle of the camel fair from above, in a Hot air Balloon. SkyWaltz offers exhilarating balloon flights over Pushkar in the early mornings and evenings.
Pushkar Fair Tours:
Join us on our special Pushkar fair Packages or walking tours. It runs twice a day during the fair, morning and evening. On the morning tour, you’ll get to see pilgrims taking a holy dip in the lake. The evening tour visits the bustling fair ground at its prime.
For special Pushkar fair deals contact us.
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