Nestled on the outskirts of Ajmer is the rustic terrain of Pushkar – one of the holiest cities of India. The sacred city gets drenched in a colorful bliss, with placid waters of the holy lake, once in a year. This minor township lying on the outskirts of Ajmer, becomes the yearly venue for one of the most exceptional marvels, perhaps, the largest Camel fair in the world or the Pushkar Mela(fair) that attracts millions tourists from national as well as international boundaries. The festival represents a marvelous spectacle on an epic scale. It’s a time when traditions, culture and spirituality come together and one can simply experience the culture and grandeur of Rajasthan.
Thousands of camels and livestock flock up together on an epic scale with their owners, creating a colorful odyssey. The week’s long Pushkar festival usually falls in the month of October – November and is celebrated during the Kartik Purnima(Kartik month begins with the new moon in November, Purnima – ‘full moon’). Roughly more than 40,000 livestock traders visit the festival, hailing from all parts of the Rajasthan to trade their cattle and enjoy the festivities. Apart from the locals the fair is a major attraction for thousands of national and international guests who come to witness the festivities, trading, culture, music and the essence of Rajasthan. The traditional folk music & dance performances, camel rides, hot air ballooning safaris, magic shows and various competitions for entertainment take place during the week’s long festival.
This enthralling and rather captivating mela features camels that are trussed up in their best and participate into various contests and competitions. The camels are bred and ornamented with beautiful clothes, dazzling ornaments, and clinging bells for public displays. Other animals like cattle & horses are also traded on a large scale, but camels become the showstoppers of the festival. The star attraction of the competitions is the much awaited annual camel race, and the winner is honored with precious souvenirs and cash prizes.
Several competitions like the the best dressed camel, camel tattoo competitions, camel dances and races also take place during the festivities. Apart from these there are competitions like the longest moustache, tug of war, cricket match between locals and foreign guests and several other tournaments. The sacred town on Pushkar is said to be a photographers paradise during the entire festivities. It is a spectacular mix of color, culture and music. The Hindu pilgrims flock up to take a holy dip in the scared Pushkar lake, which they believe will cleanse off their sins. The sacred town is also the site of the only Brahma Temple in India, and the small town rings the lovely Pushkar lake, which is a serene place at dawn. The town is crowded with pilgrims, tourists, sadhus and camel traders. The narrow market lanes showcase an absolute array of colors, while the people ghats swarm up at the mela (fair) grounds celebrating the event.
The Pushkar fair is an experience for a lifetime that hovers on the minds of the holidaymakers and leaves them craving for even more.