Pushkar Camel Festival – One Of A Kind Experience
Pushkar Mela celebrates the beauty of the desert, the camels, as well as other cattle found in the region. More than 2 lakh people from all across the world to be a part of the festival, which is held to facilitate the trading of camels and cattle native to the desert. There are a variety of cultural programs that are held during the festival as well as art exhibitions that one can enjoy.
The Pushkar Camel Fair has a very rich history, and thus a holy festival is also held here at the same time. Legend has it that all the 330 million Gods visit Pushkar Lake during the full moon night or Purnima as it is locally called. Thus, lakhs of pilgrims visit Pushkar during this time to take a dip in the holy water of Pushkar Lake. It is believed that a bath in the Pushkar Lake washes away the misdeeds and sins of people. Apart from this, it is also believed that the holy water can heal the ill with its divine powers. Pilgrims also pay their respects at the only Brahma temple in the whole world, which is situated in the city of Pushkar.
In the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the city of Pushkar is mentioned as Adi Tiratha. As per the Holy book of Ramayana, Rishi Vishvamitra did Tapasya in the city of Pushkar. Also, Menaka, who is an apsara in the holy books, took a dip in the holy waters of Pushkar. Mahabharata mentions Pushkar as the oldest religious center of the country. The Vamana Purana also mentions Pushkar as Pushkarayana, the site that Prahlada visited while on his journey to the holy places.
Pushkar Mela 2019 will be held from 4th November to 12th November this year. A huge number of devotees and attendees arrive from different parts of the world, and thus it is recommended that one should plan their trip to Pushkar in advance. The camels performances and races take place during the first few days of the fair. One is advised to arrive before the start of the fair so as not to miss the best part of the fair.
Celebrations During Pushkar Fair
The Pushkar Fair is action-packed and is extremely grand. Let us understand in detail the different celebrations that take place at the Pushkar fair.
The Opening Ceremony: The opening ceremony is very grand and truly showcases the splendor of Rajasthan. The national flag is unfurled, and then there is a parade with horses and camels that are richly adorned for the occasion. These camels and horses are brought in by men who are dressed in the traditional and intricate Rajasthani attire.
Glamping Camping: Glamping allows you to stay in a tent without actually having to miss out on the luxurious hospitality of Rajasthan.
Hot Air Ballooning: Almost a dozen teams participate in this activity as the crowd watches and cheers them on. Balloon safaris are also available for visitors. However, they are not very pocket-friendly.
The Holy Dip: This is, of course, one of the must-do things in Pushkar. There are sacred beliefs attached to the Pushkar Lake. It is believed that Lord Brahma once threw a lotus on the ground and water sprang up instantly on the location. This is now the sacred lake of Pushkar and visitors come here from different parts of the world.
Sunset Safari: This is a unique safari that is done on camels. The view of the desert from the back of a well-decorated camel is certainly an experience that one cannot miss while at the Pushkar Fair.
Handicrafts: There are endless handicrafts that one can find in Pushkar, and during Pushkar Fair, there are endless small businesses that set up shops selling small goods. There are bead necklaces, ornaments, patchwork, textiles, Ajmeri footwear, etc. to be purchased.
Rituals at the Pushkar Fair
Pushkar Fair goes beyond just trading, as it is also a place of religious interest for people from all over the world. Taking a bath in the holy water of the Pushkar Lake is one of the most important rituals which are performed by people visiting from all over. The majority of the pilgrims take a bath during full moon night as it is said to be most auspicious.
The Change in Pushkar Fair Over the Years
For over 100 years, Pushkar Festival has served as a platform for the trade of camels and other animals by the local people as well as others. For the same, the owners of the camels used to deck up the camels in the best possible way.
However, of late, the festival has become a lot less about this transaction and a lot more about the promotion of the animals among local and foreign tourists. It is a common sight to find a group of tourists thronging a camel owner, and listening intently as the camel owner tells them the places from which he bought the different items to adorn the camel. As per the Tourism Board of the state, the future of the event does not lie in the commercial exchange of animals, but rather to bring forth the heritage and culture of the state of Rajasthan. Off late, there are events like mustache competition that capture the attention of visitors from all over.
Places to Stay During Pushkar Fair
The demand for hotels skyrockets during the Pushkar Festival. Hence, one cannot find a decent place to stay in at the last moment. So, it is recommended that you book accommodation in advance. There are different types of places that people can choose from including guesthouses, luxury tents, farmhouses, and heritage hotels all over the city.
Location and How to Reach
Pushkar is easily reachable by rail and road, and the airport is not too far from the city, making it easily accessible by all modes of transport.
Reaching Pushkar by Road: Pushkar is well connected by a network of state-run buses. A national highway links the city to the neighboring cities, and thus one can either take public transport or even drive to Pushkar. The city is located at a distance of only 146 km from Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan.
Reaching Pushkar by Rail: The railway station of Ajmer is located at a distance of only 11 km from the city of Pushkar. Ajmer connects the city with other parts of the state as well as the country. Regular trains run from this city, and thus it is a very easy way to reach Pushkar.
Reaching Pushkar by Air: The nearest airport from Pushkar is Jaipur International Airport, which is located at a distance of 155 km and can be reached in about 3-4 hours by road. Taxis are available at Jaipur Airport to take tourists to the neighboring cities, and one can also catch one of the state-run buses that ply to and from Pushkar and Jaipur every couple hours.
Tips for Visiting Pushkar Mela
There are some things that you need to be wary of during your visit to the Pushkar Camel Fair. The most rampant among these is Hindu priests trying to approach you and giving blessings in return for money. It is best to stay away from such people.
Another tip is that one should always know the schedule of the festival, or you might end up missing something important. One should try to experience as much as possible during one’s stay at Pushkar. You should try to visit the only Brahma Temple in the world and also take a dip in the holy waters.
Pushkar is a city that is known for its many facets, from a rich history and great culture to religious significance. Thus, when more than 2 lakh people visit the city every year during the Camel Festival, each person has something to look forward to. While families tend to devote their time to God, youngsters make sure to experience the place and interact with the locals to get to know more about Pushkar.
The Camel Festival, which was only a platform to sell and buy camels once upon a time is now an occasion to promote the heritage of the city as well as the state. There is a lot to shop as there are local artisans who sell their goods at the mela.
Once you’re done enjoying the festival, you can spend some time exploring the rest of Rajasthan, starting with the nearby Ajmer. You can use this time to relax your senses after the sensory overload that is the Pushkar Camel Festival. But whether you go straight home or spend some more time around Rajasthan, one thing’s for sure- Pushkar mela is going to be the gem of your holiday!
Hi! I am Paridhi. When not downing endless cups of coffee and binge-ing on Masala Fries, I can be found deeply engrossed in contemporary novels. Delhiite by birth and nomad by passion. I travel and I know things. I write travel blogs by day and binge watch thriller and rom-com by night.