In the midst of quaint havelis, forts, palaces, Jain temples and traditional hues… the Pushkar Camel Festival, which is also known as Pushkar Ka Mela, is a fusion of cultural, commercial and religious activities. Seeking to attract the attention of global tourist as well, the Pushkar Camel Fair over the years has taken over a major part in Rajasthan Tourism.
Pushkar, which is one of the oldest cities in India, is very much familiar with the divine chapters of Hindu religion. Overlooking the glistering waters of the Pushkar Lake, the city has sprang up as a notable Hindu pilgrimage in India and has been frequented by international travellers as well. Located in the incredible state of Rajasthan, the city also boasts the traditional colours of the Gujar community. Pushkar, being one of the sacred places in India, is dotted with several Hindu temples and encircles some of the popular cities in Rajasthan- the quaint city has been a feast for travellers’ eyes. A hub of cultural extravaganza… Pushkar is a frame to several photographers. The quaint alleys, ancient temples, serene lake and pilgrims taking holy bath… all together make a perfect CLICK! The clamour of the tourists start during the peak of Kartik ekadashi, generally in the months of October and November, during the Pushkar Fair, which is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair and a major tourists attraction in Pushkar.
Pushkar City, Photo Credit- http://bit.ly/1qvS43h
Turning back the chapters of history of Pushkar, the quaint city has been mentioned by the great Indian poet, Kalidasa, in his classic, Abhigyan Sakuntalam. Further, the great Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana make references to this religious place regarded to be Adi Tiratha. It is believed that Lord Brahma (one of the Hindu deities who is regarded as the Creator God) performed rituals at the Pushkar Lake on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima. Nonetheless, Pushkar holds the titles of 4 categories of Hindu pilgrimages, “The Deva Tirtha”, “Asura Tirtha”, “Arsha Tirtha” and “Manushya Tirtha” and thus the sacred city is affectionately called “Tirtha-Raj”, which means the king of all pilgrimage sites.
Pushkar Lake, Photo Credit-bit.ly/1q7nkqf
The Pushkar Camel Festival is considered as one of the largest camel festivals in the world where buying and selling of livestock takes place in a large way. Apart from that, the major tourist highlights are competitions such as the “camel race”, “matka phod”, “longest moustache”, and “bridal competition”. It is during this time that the city is sprayed with colours… tuned to folk music and dance, especially the Dance of the Snake Charmers … arrayed with exhibitions of handicrafts, traditional wears and paintings and entertaining puppet shows. What’s a unique thing to capture is the folk gathering with hookah. Well that you may find out a royal way to smoke up the quaint culture but keep it safe! Digging deep into the core of culture you may further experience various forms of acrobatics performed by the local nomadic gymnasts. Roving through the Pushkar Mela you can also participate in camel decoration competition.
Pushkar Fair, Photo Credit-bit.ly/10ZBMuw
Held during the auspicious period of Kartik Poornima, the Pushkar Camel Festival 2018 is going to spray its colours from 15th of November to 23rd of November. Traders from distant part of the Thar Desert start their journey with their livestock and slowly gather in the heart of the city by Kartik ekadashi. By the time the ambiance starts to grace with colourful tents, shops arraying bangles, turbans and ethnic wears and livestock. The major part of the Pushkar Fair 2018 will start from 15th of November when the ambiance turns out to be busy and chaotic, with camel cart rides, itinerant musicians and vendors. On the last day of the Pushkar Camel Festival 2018, which is the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima (23rd November, 2018), thousands of devotees will bathe in the holy lake, which is believed to have been created when Lord Brahma dropped a sacred lotus flower to earth.
Pushkar Fair, Photo Credit- bit.ly/1wa2RV8
The sacred town of Pushkar is dotted with several temples with the Brahma Temple, which was built in the 14th century, being a major attraction. It is one of the few temples in India that is dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma and is the most prominent among them. Other temples are the Sri Sawai Bhoj Temple, Varaha Temple, Mahadev Temple, Savitri Temple and Sri Vaikunthnathji Temple. Other notable attractions in Pushkar are the Man Mahal and Gurudwara Singh Sabha. A cultural tour in Pushkar may also familiarize you with the traditional dances like Bhavai, Chari and Ghoomar.
Brahma Temple, Pushkar, Photo Credit bit.ly/1slJuL8
Having a strategic location in the heart of Rajasthan, the ancient city encircles some of the popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan. Ajmer, which is one of the popular Islam pilgrimage in India, is approximately 11 kilometers away from Pushkar. Further, Pushkar is approximately 143 kilometers away from the capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, which is also popular for producing a vibrant picture of royal Rajasthan. Udaipur, the lake city of India, is approximately 290 kilometers away and Jodhpur, which is also dubbed as the blue city of India, is approximately 190 kilometers away. The shifting sand dunes of Jaisalmer… are approximately 450 kilometers from Pushkar, whereas Ranthambore National Park, which is an abode to Tigers and several other species of animals and birds, is approximately 280 kilometers away.
Pushkar is easily accessible by road from Ajmer that hosts a railway station and connects to distant parts of the country. Buses and auto rickshaws plies from Ajmer to Pushkar every 15-20 minutes. The nearest airport to Pushkar is the Jaipur International Airport, which connects the quaint city with modern trend. Rajasthan State Tourism buses are also available (scheduled departures) from major Indian cities like New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Gwalior to Pushkar.