Rajasthan is one of the best places in India for festivals. Come in November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon and embrace the Tirth Raj (meaning: King of Them All) at the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. This is the most sought after fair in Rajasthan. A riot of color and an opportunity to capture perhaps the best pictures on your tour of India.
One of India’s most popular festivals, and one of the world’s largest camel fairs, the Pushkar Camel Fair is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas (meaning: carnival).
Every year, the sleepy village of Pushkar, on the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, is transformed as 300,000 people, including tourists, traders and buyers, descend in search of a bargain, to watch the camel races or simply to soak up the festive atmosphere. In the days leading up to the fair, and for a few days afterwards, the roads leading to Pushkar are packed with camels being ushered around the sand dunes and back home again – a truly magnificent sight.
In addition to the 20,000 camels, cattle and horses in attendance, farmers, traders and snake charmers from all over Rajasthan gather to take part in the fair, as well as enjoy a myriad of events on offer in the Mela Ground. Situated on the banks of Pushkar Lake, the festival is a riot of colour and activity, including traditional rural sports, Tug-of-War, turban-tying and moustache competitions, and a cricket game that invites guests to challenge the local Pushkar club, as well as horse and camel races. While camels are for sale, they’re also paraded in elaborate costumes. Some are even entered into decorating contests. Temple dancers, folk singers, magicians and acrobats provide further fun.
Those seeking a colourful souvenir from the festivities should explore the Fair’s arts and crafts market. A dazzling swirl of colours and sounds, the stalls overflow with statement jewellery pieces, vibrant textiles and traditional Rajasthani clothing. Local women, wearing bright clothes and glimmering jewellery, also perform traditional dances.
The Pushkar Camel Fair lasts for nine days and is divided into two parts. The first part being the cattle fair. The latter is when thousands of pilgrims bathe in the holy Pushkar Lake – Pushkar is considered the only holy land for worshipping Lord Brahma (the creator of the universe according to Hindu mythology) and the lake is said to have formed where he dropped a flower. It is said that special blessings are bestowed upon those who take a dip in Pushkar Lake on full moon day.
We recommend staying in luxury tents (with ensuite bathrooms). Set in tranquil countryside, 1km from the fair, there are several well appointed tents which provide a lovely relaxing stay away from the hubbub of the festival – Decorated camel carts can transport guests to and from the fair. Please note, due to the religious festival the tented accommodation in Pushkar, only prepare vegetarian food during the 9 days, with meals accompanied by traditional dancers and musicians.
Pushkar is a 6-hour drive from Delhi via Jaipur. All major train routes serve Ajmer located 13 km from Pushkar, from Delhi via Jaipur.
The Pushkar Camel Fair is a festival not to be missed. If you would like to visit, please get in touch with us and we can put together a tailor-made luxury itinerary.
These ideas are just a starting point for what your trip to India could include. To start planning your luxury tailor-made holiday to India, please contact us. Each trip designed by Rajasthan Tours is created uniquely for you, working to your budget, style and interests with an absolute commitment to quality. We take the work off you to allow you to enjoy the most memorable holiday experience.