One of the oldest cities of India and one of the most sacred places for the Hindus, Pushkar lies on the shore of the sacred Pushkar Lake. Every year in the Hindu month of Kartik (October /November), this sleepy town plays host to the world’s largest camel and cattle fair the Pushkar Fair. This small town is transformed into a spectacular fair ground and the population of 14,000 residents of Pushkar balloons up to over 2, 00,000. A staggering 50, 000 number of camel and cattle gather for several days of livestock trading and horse dealing. The camel and cattle trading is at its peak during the first half of festival period while religious activities dominate the later half of the Fair.
Over the years, this fair is one of the major cultural reflectors of Rajasthan and people from different parts of the world throng to this annual fair for business, religious and aesthetic purposes and to get a glimpse of the various facets of the fair and grandeur of the Rajasthani culture. The camel, horse and donkey races are events that are vastly popular with the tourists with bets being placed on the participant and paving the way for intense competition between rival teams.
The Pushkar jewelry and the local handicraft of the region is a huge market for men and women. Crafts persons and artisans from all over Rajasthan and adjoining states participate to exhibit their art and talent. The traditional Rajasthani jewelry like the necklaces, chains, nose rings, waistbands, trinkets, hairpins, silver bangles and varieties of hair pins famous for its intricate artwork is a major hit among the tourists. The traditional patchwork and tie N die print garments also have a universal appeal amongst the Indian as well as the foreign tourists.
If you haven’t been a camel person in your whole life, then you definitely have a reality check in store for you with Pushkar fair, hosting camel beauty contests and musical chairs contests for camels which helps keep the funny bone aspect intact in the event. One of the major draws at the Pushkar Fair is the Camel Safari. Riding on the back of a camel through the sand dunes of the Aravalli ranges can be quite stirring. However care should be taken to carry enough water on the ride and the weather needs to be checked for sand storms before getting on the safari.
A hot air balloon ride over Pushkar provides the prospect of witnessing the spectacle of the camel fair from high altitudes. The most exhilarating way to see Pushkar is from the air. As one moves gently over the vast encampment on the dunes, the breathtaking scale of the gathering becomes more evident. Ballooning is an unexpectedly a very tranquil and peaceful experience.
Pushkar being one of the holiest places for Hindus is home to many temples and shrines. The famous Brahma temple, the only temple dedicated to the lord of creation Lord Brahma, the Savitri Temple, Rangji Temple, Varah Temple, Apteswar Temple are some of the numerous temples in the region.
The Pushkar Fair has its original and a very rustic appeal. Be it the sight of the vibrantly dressed people or the shops selling various colourful goods, the decorated and bedecked Camel and cattle which are at sale here, the charm of the fair is also the reason behind it becoming the widely accepted and popular all over the world.