I had been to Pushkar couple of times but I never went during “Pushkar Camel Fair”, it falls in Hindu month of Kartik from Ekadasi to Purnima (In the month of November). This program finalized suddenly as me and one of my friends could not go to Lakshadweep due to permit issue, we were sad and thinking where we can go. So we decided that why not go to Pushkar for fair.
We decided one week before the Mela starts and were fortunate to get a good room in RTDC hotel. Usually, hotels sell out in advance and rooms rents go a few times higher than regular, even RTDC increase the room tariff during mela. There are always many tented accommodations available at this time near Mela ground but they charge a bomb.
I was fortunate to book a good room but I couldn’t get the train tickets 🙁 , so we decided to travel by Rajasthan tourism’s bus and took an overnight bus from Bikaner house in New Delhi. We reached Ajmer in morning.
Pushkar is some 14 km from Ajmer and we decided to take tuk-tuk to cover this distance but due to Mela rush, we could not get tuk-tuk. Meanwhile, we came to know that Rajasthan govt runs extra buses during mela and one bus leaves every 15 minutes. So, we decided to take bus. the When the first bus for Pushkar came we tried to board it but could not get in due to rush but we put in more effort when the second bus arrived. Some how I & my friend manage to get inside bus due to our effort and push from the crowd… ha ha…. It was jam packed but we got seats and with in 5 minutes driver started the bus. The moment bus started many local village women’s stared singing folk songs in chorus. free music 😛 There was a lot of noise but it was fun in its own way.
After the procession, we came back to our hotel, checked in and freshen up. Now it was time to head for Mela 😀
This annual fair was all about selling and buying of live stock specially Camels but in last 2 – 3 decades it has become a tourist attraction for Indian and Foreigners. Who come here to see a display of traditional India and to click vibrant photographs of villagers in traditional attire (Which is not seen else where in the day to day life) and big hoards of camels.
The Mela (Fair) organizers have programs and events lined up during 5 days, these activities starters in morning and go until evening. These are designed in a way to attract tourists, they can watch or participate in these as they like.
For eg: tug of war, turban tying competition, dance programs, Kabaddi matches etc and in competitions usually locals/Indians teams are pitched against foreigner’s teams. These activities happen in Mela ground area and organizers post the schedule for these 2-3 months in advance on tourism dept website.
We were tired after walking around and called for the day.
Then we went to Brahma temple, they don’t allow camera, mobile’s etc inside so instead of keeping our stuff in lockers of the shops we opted to go one by one in the temple. From here we went to one of the famous shop of Pushkar for local breakfast of kachori and malpua.
After our breakfast, we walked towards the Pushkar sarovar’s eastern ghat, which is less crowded. Even here pundits will force you to perform puja and start nagging. It is very irritating because they don’t go away even if you request them. Best is to tie a red scared thread on your forearm if you want to avoid them and tell them that you already performed puja on another ghat (That’s what we did). They don’t allow photography around Sarovar (Lake) as may women take bath in it, better to follow the sentiment.
Few things to take care when you go to Pushkar fair –
Pushkar is a holy town and due to this, you will get only vegetarian food in the city. But this doesn’t mean you have to eat boring food, one can get wood fire pizza, pasta, Falafel (Very popular and many small shops selling it), Puri Sabzi or Potato gravy, many Indian snacks like samosa, jalebi, kachori etc are available apart from regular Indian roti and vegetable. I didn’t want to miss LMB’s famous malpua, so we had in the morning.
Be prepared to walk as, during the time of Mela, vehicles are not allowed inside city and Mela area. In Mela area, if you don’t want to walk then Camel carts are available for rent and they take you around.
It is very crowded every where, so keep your stuff safe while walking around.
If you are into photography, then reach a day or two before the Mela starts to click camels. Also go very early in morning to see camels and locals people involved in their day to day activity.
Download the schedule of activities and program from tourism dept’s website, so that you can enjoy the activities by seeing or may be by participating 🙂