Situated about 15kms from the holy city of Ajmer, Pushkar is one of the five dhams or sacred places for the Hindus. Pushkar is also one of the most popular sightseeing options from Ajmer. This beautiful destination is filled with old world charm and gives you a glimpse of the mystique & intrigue that Rajasthan is famous for. Besides the sand dunes and lakes, this town is highly revered, as it is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. One can also find nearly 400 temples in this city, which is why it is titled as the ‘Temple Town’ of Rajasthan.
However, keeping the religious significance aside, another thing that Pushkar is famous for is the Pushkar Camel Fair. The Pushkar Mela is the largest livestock and camel fair in the world and a cultural festival, which is visited by local, national and international tourists alike.
Pushkar Mela History
The Pushkar Mela, as it is commonly known, is a century-old festival that is celebrated annually over multiple days. It began as annual livestock and cattle fair, wherein, merchants from far & near would come together to trade, sell and exhibit camels, horses and cows. Today, however, the Pushkar Fair is celebrated at an EPIC scale and has become a thrilling, lively and breathtaking event that far surpasses its primary purpose.
The Pushkar Mela dates vary, but it typically begins around Kartik Purnima i.e. between late October and early November. The Pushkar Fair dates for 2019 is 4 November to 12 November. Where is Pushkar Fair held? It is held at the banks of the Pushkar Lake. However, it does cover a lot of area in and around Pushkar to accommodate the tourists, pilgrims, merchants, vendors, cattle, musicians, gypsies, and for the various stalls that are erected for the fair.
People from all over the world and all walks of life, visit the Pushkar fair for a variety of reasons; for pilgrimage, to witness the live spectacle of horse and camel races, for merrymaking amidst folk music and dance, to take part in traditional sports among others. To put it simply, if you want to witness the extravaganza of the vibrant Rajasthani culture in all its glory, then the ‘Pushkar Mela’ is one that you can’t afford to miss.
Why Visit The Pushkar Camel Fair?
The Camel trading festival a.k.a the Pushkar Mela in Rajasthan is a one of a kind festival in India that lets you witness ancient tradition amidst contemporary entertainment.
- You get a chance to live like a local during the Pushkar fest.
- You can take part in various competition and activities.
- You can check out how camel trading is done.
- You can feast on a variety of Rajasthani cuisines.
- You can listen and dance in abandon along with famous fusion bands of India.
- If you have always wanted to take part in a marathon, then this is your chance, as the Pushkar Fair begins with the Harmony Marathon. This marathon starts from the Dargah Shareef in Ajmer and culminates at the Brahma Temple in Pushkar.
Pushkar Camel Fair Festival – Things To Do
1. Camel Safari
It is estimated that the Camel Fair in Pushkar attracts more than 50,000 camels, livestock and horses. Basically, it is all about watching these beautiful creatures of nature.
Apart from camel trading, camel decoration contest and camel dance contest, the Camel Safari is a must thing to do during the Pushkar camel fair festival.
This sunset camel safari is likely to stay with you long after the magical experience of this fair ends.
2. Camping at the Pushkar Fair
Like mentioned above, the town of Pushkar is close to the city of Ajmer. So, while there are a lot of hotels in Ajmer that you can book for this trip, for an authentic experience staying at one of the luxury or old-style camp is highly recommended. By camping at the Pushkar Mela grounds, you’d be at the heart of all the actions. This will ensure you don’t miss out on a single moment of this amazing trip.
3. Hot Air Balloon Ride
At the Pushkar camel fair, a hot air balloon ride is another popular thing to do. It gives you an aerial view of the entire fair and if you have never done it before, then you can do it right here and cross this activity from your bucket list.
4. Enjoy Host of Competitions
From moustache competition and turban tying & tilak contest to a football match with foreigners and kabaddi, one can watch or take part in a host of competitions when attending the Pushkar Mela. There are also other adventurous activities like the camel and horse race, Matka race, tug-of-war, ‘Lagaan’ style cricket match, quad biking and much much more.
5. Enjoy Folklore and Live Music & Dance Performance
Be mesmerised by Rajasthani folk music or grove along with the fusion bands, there is no dearth to entertainment when it comes to the world-renowned Pushkar camel fair in India. There are also mega cultural performances, Sufi & Bollywood fusion dance and live music to keep you thoroughly riveted throughout your stay here.
6. Feast on Scrumptious Cuisine
The cuisine of Rajasthan includes mouth-watering dishes that you ought to try out! During the annual Pushkar Mela, you get to feast on a wide range of delicacies such as dal bati churma, laal maas, various types of pooris and kachoris, gujia, ghevar and much much more. So, if you love to try out new cuisines, then you ought to visit the Pushkar fair.
7. Go on a Shopping Spree
Shopping in Pushkar during the fair is one of the other things to do. Rajasthan is famous for its colour bazaars and during the fair, the Pushkar market is filled with a number of stalls that sells everything from handicrafts and spices to leather goods, jewellery, trinkets, pottery, flavoured-teas, clothes (bandhani), home décor items, antiques etc. You can, literally, shop-till-you-drop that too at best prices.
8. Attend the Maha Aarti at the Ghat
Each day during this annual fair, there are pooja/aarti’s performed at various ghats. For a cultural experience, you can be a part of this. However, the Maha Aarti at Pushkar Sarovar during the last day of the fair is one that you truly can’t miss as it is a visually stunning display of praising God for all its kindness.
9. Take a Holy Dip at the Pushkar Lake
Here’s a fun fact; the Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 bathing ghats. During the annual fair, a huge number of devotees throng alongside this lake for a scared bath. You, too, can be a part of this ritual as it is commonly believed that a dip into the holy Pushkar lake will wash away your sins and cure skin diseases.
From quirky competitions to live fusion band performances to witnessing the largest camel fair in the world, the Pushkar Mela is truly an exhilarating spectacle that’s bound to leave you speechless. The Pushkar fair is opened for all and during this period, you’d get to see the magnificent splendour of this tiny desert town. So, book a trip to the Pushkar Camel fair today and go witness this distinctive festival where revellers and pilgrims mingle together to celebrate a unique tradition!