Pushkar Camel Fair
The largest fair in India, The Pushkar Camel Fair of Rajasthan a unique fair with no other equals. The venue of the fair is Pushkar in Rajasthan. Hoards of people from all of the rural India swarm the fair with their camels and cattle. The Pushkar Camel Fair goes on for a number of days with activities ranging from live stock trading to horse dealing to pilgrimage and religious festival. As far as the religious aspect of the fair is concerned, devotees bathe in the Sarovar Lake. It is believed that taking a dip in the sacred water of the lake will lead to salvation.
The Pushkar Fair is organized in the Hindu month of Kartika (October-November). It starts on the eighth day (ashtmi) and ends on the full moon day (poornima), as per the lunar calendar. Attracting tourists to the fair are devotees, musicians, acrobats, folk dancers, traders, comedians, sadhus, etc dressed in bright colors. The highpoint of the fair is the trading of camel and cattle trading, especially during the first half of fair. In the second half, trading takes a back seat and the front stage is given to religious activities.
The fair sees a complete alteration of the small town of Pushkar into a magnificent fair ground. Exhibited on rows upon rows of temporary stalls, is an array of objects ranging from arts and crafts to the items of daily consumption. You can even find accessories for everyone ranging from women to cattle, camel and other animals. Apart from the shopping purpose, other attractions are the camel and horse races. There is even a Camel judging competitions held at the fair. Other forms of entertainment include folk dances and folk music of Rajasthan, enthralling the crowd.
Deserts have since long exerted an irresistible charm on the psyche of the humans, the landscape inspiring different emotions in different people. And what better way to explore this magical realm than on a camel back, for a camel safari is one of the most adventurous of experiences, and indeed a novel way to 'discover' the desert.
Camel safaris trace their origins to the time of trade between India and China, when camel caravans would journey along established trade routes laden with spices and herbs and jewels. They provide an opportunity to get a glimpse of traditional Indian life in the desert, with all the hardships, the beauty and the desolation.
The accommodation on the way consists of primitive thatched mud huts, and the way of life-though hospitable-is entirely ethnic.
Camel safaris generally cover the area around Jaisalmer, Bikaner or Jodhpur, popularly known as the desert circuit. The duration can vary between one day and two weeks. Big towns are not usually on the route though there is no definite route that you have to adopt.
Route navigation in the desert is an acquired art, and caravans must be manned by riders who not only know how to study the stars, but also recognise the shifting sands of the terrain.
A camel safari is exciting, but is not exactly a relaxing vacation. Unless you are accustomed to horse-riding, a day-long camel ride will be tiring. Even if you are accustomed to horse-riding, since the gait of the camel is quite different, it may take some time to get used to it.
Keeping in your seat as the camel raises or lowers itself to the ground, can appear at first to be a losing battle.
However, whether tiring or relaxing, a camel safari is bound to be a unique experience