Beautifully draped camels moving around serene desert lands, melodies of sarangi and Ravanhatta echoing in people’s ears, exquisite artwork being displayed around every corner - the Pushkar fair is all this and much more.
Initially, the Pushkar Fair, more commonly known as the Pushkar mela was mainly organised to bring together local camel and cattle merchants to conduct business. Later, it also emerged to be a key tourist attraction for many.
Held during the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (generally falls in November), today, the fair is a huge tourist attraction in itself. It is usually organised near Ajmer intersection of Brahma Temple Road and National Highway 89 by the Rajasthan Tourism along with E Factor Entertainment (P) Limited and Pushkar Mela Vikas Samiti. The calendar of events as well as the lineup is published well in advance so that vacationers can plan their trip and witness the vibrant display of colours and customs.
Jaimini Shatri, a tour guide based in Udaipur has been helping travellers explore and witness the festivities of the Pushkar fair for over a decade now.
“Once the government got involved in planning and organising the Pushkar fair, the quality of it began to downgrade. Programmes got cancelled without notice, there was lack of coordination and some activities were deranged,” says Shatri.
The five day fair encompasses a slew of engaging activities including beauty contests, temple dancing, music concerts, heritage walks, amusement rides and other games. While this is on, several hundred pilgrims gather around the 52 bathing ghats of the Pushkar lake to take a dip in its holy waters. It is a common belief that taking a dip in this water absolves people of their sins.
Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism has cancelled the Pushkar fair this year.
“The Pushkar fair is the biggest camel gala in all of Asia. According to my sources in the Tourism Department, an average of 30,000 visitors from abroad and about four lakh from around the country attend the event. Local businessmen and artists tend to earn quite a lot at the fair every year. And, owing to the cancellation of the event this time, they are bound to get affected,” adds Shatri.
Some resources to help you learn more about the Pushkar fair: