Every year in the month of November, the historical state of India, Rajasthan celebrates its most traditional Pushkar Camel Fair. A huge number of visitors rush into the tiny desert town of Pushkar every year to witness this world’s largest conventional camel fair. The stipulated time of this unique camel fair is November, i.e. during the full moon, as per the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. However, depending on the cycle of the moon, the date and time keeps on changing periodically. This year the official date of this traditional fair is from 8th November to 14th November 2016.
If you have the zeal to explore the incredible side of India, visiting Pushkar Camel Fair will certainly add lot many rousing experiences at the end of your trip here. More than 30,000 camels are gathered at Pushkar town during this exciting camel fair. All the camels are well-dressed and decorated and they are further taken to participate in several entraining activities like race, parade and trade. There are many visitors who start rushing to Pushkar town couple of days before the event so that they can experience most of the camel trading action.
About the place
Pushkar is a small town bordering the Thar Desert, lies in the Northwest part of Ajmer, Rajasthan. This place is known as the holy town of Hindus and famed as the Lourdes of the East. Pushkar is also counted among the five Hindu pilgrimage sites of India lies on the shore of famous Pushkar Lake. According to old theology and belief of local habitants and priests, this place was formed by the Hindu god Brahma. The town also witnesses numerous footfalls of Hindu pilgrimage because of several old mythological temples. Ages back, most of the temples here were destroyed due to Muslim invasion. It took years again to reconstruct the same.
The population of the town is more than 14,000 and the prime spoken language here is Hindi. In November, the climate is much enjoyable with an average of 30°C or less with around 23% humidity.
How all it started
Initially, the key purpose of this fair was to involve local camels and grab the attention of livestock traders to practice business activities on the eve of sacred Kartik Purnima. Over the phase of time Pushkar Mela has become a spectacular festival of Rajasthan and evolved as a key point of tourist attraction. Now, the camel trading part is also accompanied by various traditional programs organized by Rajasthan Tourism. The fairground looks stunning with intermingle of colourful stalls, vendors, ferries wheels and camel cart ride. Visitors also gather here to witness the religious rituals performed by the local inhabitants. Besides, various competitions like “longest moustache”, “matka phod” and “bridal competition” also grab the attention of visitors during this camel fair. However, keeping in mind the ongoing craze for cricket, some exhibition cricket matches are also organized during this festival.
As per the Hindu calendar, the actual duration of the fair is five days, starting from the Kartik Ekadashi till Kartik Poornima. However, the traditional programs, cattle trade and other exhibitions are enjoyed by the visitors for more than five days. The stalls of apparels, traditional bracelets and turbans witness the maximum crowd during this astonishing festival. According to the Hindu mythology and old inhabitants of Pushkar, full moon day is the most important day of the entire festival, when the Hindu god Brahma sprung up the Pushkar Lake. On the auspicious full moon day, numerous pilgrims gather near the Pushkar Lake and take a holy plunge.
For adventure lovers, witnessing this spectacular camel fiesta from hot air balloon can be something super thrilling. You can experience this exciting balloon flights during early morning and evening hours. In order to get in touch with the balloon companies you can take help from the tourist guide or any local inhabitants. Depending on the schedule time of the ride, the balloon company will pick you up from your hotel and drop you to the spot from where you the balloon will fly you up.
This ride will last for an hour and you will be charged around 10 to 12 K per adult and flight. If children are accompanying you then they can enjoy the fly at half of that price. Since this is an adventitious activity, hence it is advisable to wear strapping footwear, cap and sunglass. Depending on the level of frostiness, wearing a jacket can make your fly more comfy.
Be a part of walking tour
A Vedic walking trip is also organized in Pushkar town during this fair. This trip runs during morning and evening hours. In the morning, holy dip of several pilgrims in Pushkar Lake may grab your attention during the walk. On the other hand, evening trip takes you to the main fair ground. You can walk through the colourful stalls filled up with traditional clothes, turban, craftsmen and perfumes. Getting involved into a petite conversation with the local priest can enrich your level of acquaintance regarding the festival. While walking, you can also visit the nearby Brahma Temple, which is a renowned shrine in Pushkar.
At Pushkar Lake, please be aware of the Brahmins or Hindu priests who will frequently approach you offering flowers and blessings. In return they may demand large sum of money from you and warn you when you deny paying them the said amount. There is nothing to worry while experiencing such instances, which is quite common for the locals. Therefore, try to avoid them smartly without getting involved into any arguments or unnecessary spat.
The nearby railway station to reach the holy town of Hindus is Ajmer. You can board the train at Ajmer station at 10am and it will reach you at Pushkar station around 11.30am. So, the journey is very comfortable and short. The ticket fare is somewhere near to Rs.10 (may differ), but no provision is there for advance booking. The train runs five days a week excluding Tuesday and Friday.
By road, it will take hardly 30 minutes to reach Pushkar via Nag Parbat. However, due to too much rush most of the visitors ignore travelling by bus. Though travelling by bus will hardly charge you an amount of Rs.20 per person.
If you are not comfortable with both train and bus, taxi is one more option that you can try for sure. However, travelling by taxi may charge you around Rs. 600 to Rs. 2,000 during the festival time. Therefore, negotiation is always advisable before taking a taxi ride.
On the other hand, by air Pushkar is around two and half hours away from Jaipur airport.
Places to stay
Kipping in mind the expected influx of visitors during Pushkar Camel Fair, demand for accommodation reaches a high level. Consequently, it augments the fare of hotel, guesthouse or camps. Therefore, the best thing to do under such scenarios is arriving couple of days before the event and finding a reasonable accommodation. Alternatively, you can also book a hotel in advance before visiting to Pushkar.
Some of the resorts/hotels in Pushkar that you can try are listed as follows:
- Hotel Kishan Palace
- Hotel Pushkar Palace
- Hotel Prem Villas
- Rising Star Hotel
- Jagat Palace
- Hotel Pushkar Palace
- Hotel Hilltop Pushkar
- Hotel Third Eye
- Rajasthan Royal Desert Camp, Pushkar
However, these are not the finite accommodations, there are many more that you can try. These hotels/camps are designed covering all the basic amenities of guests. These are situated very near to the event location. However, depending on your requirements or facility, the fare may vary.
So, this November, do not forget to pack your baggage to witness the most spectacular traditional Camel Fair of Pushkar.