Bring on the camels; it’s time for one of the most popular fairs of the Thar Desert – the five-day long Pushkar fair. With delicious food festivities and friendly locals, visitors are assured of a good time.
At most times, Pushkar, famous for its ancient temples is a sleepy, hot Rajasthani town. It does attract tourists but mostly those who have an abiding interest in the Indian spiritual tradition or here on pilgrimage. But come November and the town suddenly transforms into a giant tourist hotspot. Walking in Pushkar at that time is like strolling through a large village fair. The town is dotted with stores selling just about everything, from embroidered Rajasthani bed sheets to Jewellery to kitschy furniture. But these are mere trappings for the bugger drama that’s playing out on the sand dunes with surround the town. November is the time for the annual camel fair, which has been held here since the 16th century!
It begins on the Karthik Poornima or full moon day, considered auspicious by most Hindus. Thousands of traders and their families set up tents on the sand dunes. Most trade in camels but some also bring along horses. For many it’s a time to network with people from other clans and villages, negotiate and fix up marriages, pay obeisance at the several temples that do the town a and take a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake.
Camel races, in which different clans race their beautifully decorated brood against each other for prize money, are regularly held.
Nights are meant for revelry: men sing and woman dance, their vibrant Ghagras swirling around their feet. The camel fair attracts tourists from across the world to Pushkar, who then take time out to check out its other attractions such as the Brahma temple.