We are starting the blog series about India with the Pushkar Camel Fair. Why? Because it is one of the moments of this journey we were very excited about.
When and where is it celebrated?
Pushkar Camel Fair takes place over a period of several days. And it is celebrated in October or November on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. More precisely, depending on the day when’s the full moon. As the name implies, the fair takes place in the city of Puskar, in the state Rajasthan.
This year the fair is between 15 – 23 November.
Pushkar Camel Fair 2019 will be between 4th and 12th November.
And the Pushkar Camel Fair 2020 will be between 22nd to 30th November.
Information about Pushkar Camel Fair
The main objective of the fair is to present camels and other animals, being the world’s largest cattle fair.
So starting three days before the official start, Indians with camels and horses are gathering from all over the country. Those arriving only to sell/buy the beautifully decorated animals will leave as soon as their business ends. Therefore, most camels will be present at the beginning of the festival.
What can you expect to see during the fair? Camel racing, cart racing, longest mustache contest, vendors, musicians, gypsies and tourists.
A few days after the start, the city is filled with pilgrims arriving for the religious event that overlaps with/ is part of the camel fair. In the center of the festival is the temple dedicated to Lord Brahma (the creator).
On the last day, all events are closed by a fireworks show. It is also the holy full moon night, when thousands of pilgrims gather to bathe in the lake to free themselves from sins, thus marking the closing of the fair.
We stayed in town for just a few days, 4 more exactly, exactly at the beginning of the festival and we liked the overall atmosphere. If you ignore the fact that everywhere you go there are beggars and people who want to sell you anything overprice. You learn that you have to ignore them and say: No, thank you! (It gets tiring at some point), you will enjoy a real celebration.
The whole city is and becomes a bazaar. Wherever you look there are shops with various objects, some made by the sellers, others traditionally produced in different corners of India. Because of the festival, people are gathering from all over the country and feel like you are in a hive on the small streets of Pushkar. While women spend most of their time in town to make supplies and enjoy things they do not have access to very often, men check and negotiate at the fair.
Near the city, there is the true camel fair, where the selling/buying of camels and horses take place. The view left us a bit breathless, to say at least, especially since we haven’t seen so many camels in one place.
After admiring very well the camels, we went to the arena where the contests take place. It is quite spacious and decorated with flags and various ornaments.
It is truly fascinating to see that these traditions are still kept alive for over 150 years and how passion they put in the training and dressing the animals, the pride of their face is real.