One of India’s most famous travel experiences, the Pushkar Camel Fair, is held in October or November each year during the Kartik Purnima full moon. Traders from across Rajasthan congregate on Pushkar to meet, trade livestock and buy & sell goods.
This amazing spectacle brings together as many as 25,000 camels, horses, cows, goats and sheep, and is attended by more than 300,000 people. It is widely regarded to be the largest fair of its kind in the world. The camel traders take great care to wash and dress their animals with ornate saddles, in order attract potential buyers. The normally bare sand dunes surrounding Pushkar rapidly become a seething carnival of colour.
Over the years, this 5-day fair has become an important attraction for local and international tourists and there are now many events and competitions arranged as well. These include things such as ‘matka phod’ the longest moustache, what’s the most beautiful camel at the fair, how many people can you get on a camel, a locals versus tourist cricket match, to name but a few. Many of these don't consider the welfare of the camels well and so we try and concentrate our visits on the trading and fair side of things.
Numerous stalls also set up sell anything from bells, baubles and clothes for the camels, to ornate saddles, saddle-straps and bridles, to tourist souvenirs and jewellery. Printed textiles as well as the famous tie ‘n’ dye fabrics from Ajmer are a major attraction. There are plenty of food stalls as well; however, since Pushkar is holy Hindu site meat and alcohol are very much off the menu. Whilst the camel fair has become a popular tourist attraction, our visit to the Pushkar Camel Fair iso very much focussed on the working and cultural aspects of the festival.
The town of Pushkar is also an important Hindu pilgrimage site and often referred to as the Lourdes of the East. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and is the site of one of the few remaining temples to the Hindu creator god, Brahma. The centre of Pushkar is the sacred lake, surrounded by over 500 temples and 52 bathing ghats, it is believed that taking a dip in the lake will cleanse sins and cure skin diseases.
At the same time as the camel fair thousands of Hindu pilgrims also make their way to the Pushkar to offer up prayers and bath in the sacred lake. Accommodation and transport becomes very limited during and either side of the Camel Fair itself and needs to be booked and arranged well in advance to avoid disappointment.
We specialise in high quality private and tailor-made tours to India and are able to create and organise interesting and adventurous itineraries around the Pushkar Camel Fair or longer tours to include more sightseeing around Rajasthan.
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