Pushkar Camel Fair Rajasthan
Pushkar Fair is a long 10 day affair held in the month of November. During this time, the sleepy hamlet comes alive with a bang transformed into a colourful fiesta and frenzied burst of activity. The Fair is more than the camel festival it has come to be associated with. It is part-camel fair and part-religious. The town swells to over 200,000 people with locals coming for a break and tourists to catch the action. Everywhere there is colour: local men dressed in crisp white dhotis and gaudy turbans and women with scarlet veils and heavy ornamentation of silver and ivory jewellery and camels with studded noses and anklets and colourful saddles. Very few festivals in the world elsewhere can match the vibrancy of Pushkar.
Puskar camel festival has revolutionised in to a major festival today and undoubtedly the world's largest camel fair. Each year around 50,000 camels are sold, decorated, shaved and raced. The highlights are the Matka Phod games, moustache, and bridal competition. There are camel races and camel beauty contest and circuses. The market at Pushkar at this time is something we don’t normally see with each shop selling camel-related items like saddles, saddle-straps, beads, strings and cowries, and jewellery etc. All the camels have pierced nose and wear anklets that make bell-like noises at they walk past you.
Held during the Hindu holy festival, Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, thousands come to take a holy dip at the revered Pushkar Lake to wash away all their sins and gain salvation. Even before the break of dawn, devotees along with Brahmin priests descend at the ghats offering coconut, flowers, and cash to the lake and the priests. The lake takes on a mystical tint in the evening when lighted earthen lamps offered by the people float on the water. The devotees pay obeisance at the only temple in the world of Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the universe. The temple itself is an interest with its red spire, an image of the swan, silver doors, a marble gateway, a carved silver turtle, decorations of silver coins and walls adorned with graceful peacocks. Majority of the people perform oblations at the Jyeshtha Pushkar, the main temple. Some over zealous ones visit all the shrines at Pushkar in seven days while some are content with three.
Accommodation is in the form of make-shift camps adjacent to Pushkar Lake. Thousands of people cover the sand dunes with their tents and camels. There are plenty of road side shops selling handicrafts and a host of products like household items and a dazzling range of wares. Also available are local Rajasthan products such as bead necklaces of Nagaur, woollen blankets of Merta, textiles printed in Ajmer and Jodhpur, brassware of Jodhpur and Jaipur etc. Cultural shows and exhibitions are held throughout the fair enlivening the event.