One may wonder how amazing it must be to watch a sight of 50, 000 animals, covering the desert town of Pushkar, in Rajasthan, for the annual Pushkar fair. It is a peculiar and breath-taking sight, where one can witness the vibrant side of rural India. Samiksha Jain explores.
Pushkar is a sacred town for the Hindus, situated 11 kms to the North- West of Ajmer in the state of Rajasthan, the place is known for the camel fair which is popularly known as Pushkar Fair. It is a fascinating spectacle which occurs once in a year.
The five-day fair falls in between the end of October and the beginning of November. Traditionally, the fair will be held on 31 October to 6 November with the sole aim of trading cattle including camels, horses, cows, goats, sheep, etc. Once the trading of cattle is over, then the animals are adorned with beautiful clothes and dazzling ornaments for public displays.“This year, we are expecting a gathering of around 3-4 lakhs. Around 15 lakhs budget has been allocated,” informed Pradhyuman Detha, a tourist officer at Rajasthan Tourist Department.
Apart form trading of livestock, the largest cattle fair has become the centre of attraction for tourists as it highlights activities such as ‘ matka phod’ (pot breaking), 'longest mustache' and 'bridal competition'.
Reaching Pushkar is easy given the good means of transportations. If one wants to visit the place by air then Jaipur is the nearest airport, which is 138 kms from Puskhar. One can also visit the place by railways as Ajmer is connected to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Abu Road and Jodhpur by regular trains. Two of the best trains, Pink City Express and Shatabdi Express , of the Indian Railways connect Ajmer to Delhi and Jaipur. A dense network of bus service operates from Ajmer to the key destinations around.
Every year Pushkar fair is celebrated with great enthusiasm. It is an eye-pleasing experience to watch animals walking over the sparkling sand dunes and the locals singing their folk music. “Every year 10-12 thousand foreign tourists visit the beautiful sight of the fair along with the 50,000 domestic tourist. There are 2,000-3,000 rooms and 1,000 tented accommodations for the tourists,” Detha explained.
Another most fascinating factor that attract the travelers into this charismatic fair is the camel beauty competition. The camel owners leave no stone unturned in making their animals look dynamic as the one looking best wins the prize. Sight of beautifully primped camels may make your jaws drop. In other competition of people are made to sit on the camels’ backs only to be ferried across the sand and throw the riders off their backs. The camel which can carry maximum number of people on its back between the cheers and jeers of spectators wins the competition. Then comes the event analogous to musical chairs; here, as the music stops, the camel is supposed to manage to stick its long arching neck between two poles, each camel owner guiding its entrant by means of a silk cord attached to its nose ring.
It is not less than a treat for those people who wish to enjoy the vibrant tradition and culture of Rajasthan. Those who are visiting the fair get the lifetime opportunity to watch the Rajasthani culture closely. With fascinating ornaments, garments, footwear, artifacts and lot more will make ones eye left wide open. Ornaments of silver, patchwork, printed textiles as well the famous tie and dye fabrics from Ajmer are the main source of attraction for the travelers visiting the fair.