Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pushkar Fair: an exercise in disbelief

pushkar fair tribes

Meher Ram was a poor trader, but a hardworking one who made a long walk to the Pushkar from his village, approximately 300 km, their camels in tow. It took one week of walking through villages and roads to reach the destination. It was indeed a tough journey, but he had to reach Pushkar because only once in the year he got this opportunity to earn considerably good amount of money.

Another nomadic Pawan along with other villagers came to Pushkar ground, bringing 20,000 camels to buy and sell their camels. It’s not just the trade but Pushkar Fair is primarily renowned as a holy pilgrimage.

pushkar fair camel vendors

The Pushkar Fair or Pushkar Mela (locally called) is an exercise in disbelief. The annual five-day camel and livestock fair is the world’s largest camel fairs, and due to its uniqueness the fair has become a major attraction among foreign tourists also.

2013 Pushkar Fair though witnessed a sharp decline on sale of camels 4,739, almost double decline from 2011. The fair witnessed these days more cameras than camels. The fair is important to many nomadic because it is the only time of the year when they earn some decent cash. One healthy camel generally sells around 15,000 rupees or $230 each for farming or as transport.

The fair starts with traditional Hindu rituals when thousands of people including nomadic and villagers go to the bank of the Pushkar Lake. Men main business is to sell livestock, primarily camels but also cows, sheep and goats. The women business is to look after stalls, showcasing bracelets, clothes, textiles and fabrics. The fair has lots of things to offer, especially to foreign tourists because of beauty contest (camels of course), race, music, dance and others. Traditionally it’s a bad omen to sell female camels because females are considered the life-blood of a herd. But these days due to the financial situations, traders sell female camels also but at the end when everything is finished.

Important Statistics about Pushkar

Timing of Pushkar Fair

The Pushkar Fair starts from the Kartik Ekadashi for five days till Kartik Poornima according to Hindu calendar. The fair usually starts at the end of October or first week of November. According to the legend on the full moon day Lord Brahma sprung up the Pushkar Lake, so this day has significance in the town and devotees take bath and some swim in the lake.

How to Reach Pushkar

Jaipur to Pushkar – 151km, average time taken 2-3 hours
Delhi to Pushkar – 411km, average time taken 8-10 hours (by car)
Ahmedabad to Pushkar – 555km, average time taken 12-14 hours

By Air

The nearest airport is at Jaipur.

Airports near Pushkar                        Type    Aerial Distance

Sanganeer Airport, Jaipur (JAI)    Domestic    144 km
Jodhpur Airport (JDH)                  Domestic    169 km
Indira Gandhi Intl Airport, Delhi (DEL)    International    381 km
Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)    International    845 km

By Rail

Nearest Railway Station is Ajmer, situated at a distance of 11 km from Pushkar.

Starting Station    Train                              Arrival at Ajmer   
Delhi(NDLS)     Adi Sj Rajdhani (12958)    02:46 AM

  Delhi                Ajmer Shatabdi(12015)    01:00 PM

By Bus (Road)

Pushkar has two bus stands, which are connected to various cities around it. The Marwar bus stand situated near the post office, plying buses to Delhi, Jodhpur and Bikaner. Ajmer bus stand is located in the east and connects with Ajmer and Jaipur. You can also avail taxi from the Pushkar city. It is better to book in advance during the fair because of rush and high price.

What you can buy in Pushkar?

You can buy some really exotic souvenirs in Pushkar, though you need to acquire some really good skills of bargaining to get things done in your way.

Old Jewelery- You can find some really good silver jewelery in Pushkar like necklace, rings, pendants, silver thread and some tribal jewelery.

Embroidery work – Rajasthan is known for its magnificent embroidery work so does Pushkar. The shops around the Pushkar town is filled with hanging skirts, T-shirts, shawls, old Barmeri wall hangings and other embroidery works.

Miniature paintings – Rajasthani old miniature painting tradition is very much evident in Pushkar where you can find some attractive Krishna Leela paintings and other stories crafted minutely on the paper.

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