The Pushkar Mela also known as the Pushkar Camel Fair is a unique celebration of the beauty of their coveted “ship of the desert” – the camel along with some other cattle. It is estimated that more than 2 lakh people from all around the world visit this unique fair, which mainly focuses on trading camels and cattle, camel races which is the main attraction and a variety of other cultural performances and art exhibits.
The scene is set as if you have flipped the pages of a history book back a few pages – large arid desert fields dotted with crowds of excited people in colorful clothes and turbans, camel and other cattle all around as far as your eyes can see waiting in all their magnificent glory, dressed with colorful saddles and bejeweled with embellishments. Such is the setting of the world’s largest fair that is held at Pushkar around 10 km away from Ajmer in Rajasthan, at the edge of the Thar Desert.
Dates of Pushkar Camel Fair
This year the dates of the mela are from 22nd to 30th November 2020. Since, this fair attracts a large audience and attendees, it is recommended that you plan ahead and come to Pushkar well in advance to glimpse into the unique preparations and the festival in full swing.
In 2021, Pushkar Camel Fair will be celebrated from November 11 to 19.
In 2020, Pushkar Camel Fair will be celebrated from November 22 to 30.
Rituals at the Pushkar Fair
The Pushkar fair is also a holy pilgrimage for Hindus, held for 5 days every year from Kartik Ekadashi to Kartik purnima. Pilgrims that visit Pushkar come to take a holy dip in the Pushkar Lake and offer prayer to the deity residing in the temple at Pushkar, Lord Brahma. This is the only temple of the deity in the country, which makes it an important pilgrimage spot for people of faith. The two full moon days are regarded as highly auspicious that calls for special rituals and prayers to the deity.
Suggested Tour : 5 Days Rajasthan Tour
Also Read : Nagaur Cattle Fair Rajasthan – Second Largest Cattle Fair of India
Attractions at the Pushkar Fair
Most of the activities and celebrations at the fair happen at the designated fair grounds, which is a huge mass of arid land located at the intersection of the Brahma Temple Road and the National Highway 89. The main attractions at the fair, needless to say are the camels. They are dressed and decorated with colorful saddles, jewelry and other embellishments and exhibited for the trade, there are other unique practices surrounding the camels exhibited at the fair that help to promote the virility of each animal, like – shaving camels, camel races, beauty pageants, camel parades, camel dance and the enthralling auctioning of these magnificent animals that form an integral part of Rajasthan’s livelihood in the desert.
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Apart from the unique show of the camels, there is an entire carnival of celebrations at the fair grounds that attracts all the people from the surrounding towns and villages of Pushkar. Several cultural performances of music and folk dance along with unique performances by magicians and snake charmers can be witnessed at this bohemian celebration of coexistence between man and animal.
Suggested Tour : 9 Days – Golden Triangle with Pushkar Tour
There are also carousel rides without which, no fair is complete and an array of Indian snacks and sweets to sample at the fair. A full list of all the events to take place at the fair are released by the Rajasthan Tourism Ministry and is readily available from the hotels and places of accommodation at Pushkar and even at the information desks at the fairgrounds.
There is also a unique competition of mustaches at the fair, where men with varying lengths of primed mustaches compete for the prize and prestigious title of the most beautiful mustache.
Apart from this the camel beauty pageant with comically shaved camels decorated with beautiful embellishments is yet another pride and joy of the festival and a definite must-see.
Also Read : Top Things To Do In Pushkar And Ajmer
Suggested Tour : 15 Days – Delhi Agra and Rajasthan Tour
Things to do in Pushkar Fair
1. Camel Safari
This is an exciting feature of the Pushkar Fair; tourists can take a ride of camels around the fairgrounds which is a unique experience with the undulating sand dunes and the desert terrain. The views of the dunes especially during sunsets and sun rises are mesmerizing and one of the most beautiful activities one can partake in during the festival.
Suggested Tour : 15 Days – Historical Rajasthan With Agra Tour
This isn’t camping as you know it, camping at the Pushkar Fair is a decadent affair complete with large spacious luxury tents, equipped with all the necessary amenities and even coming with butler services. tent cities is the main spot where there is a line-up of tents to choose from, the tranquil desert setting after dawn under the full moonlight is a romantic experience worth the money.
Also Read : Top 10 Camping Places in India
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3. Hot Air Balloon Ride
See the fair from a bird’s eye perspective while on a giant hot air balloon kilometers up in the sky. This isn’t an activity for the faint hearted, but is a thrilling experience that offers unmatchable panoramic views of the fair and the surrounding desert land.
Some other activities include quad biking around the desert a little farther from the fairgrounds and horse safari, which are exciting avenues to explore the unique terrain and get the adrenaline flowing.
Suggested Tour : 21 Days – Taj Mahal Tours with Camel Safari
Also Read : Hot Air Balloon Rides in Goa – Experience of Lifetime
What to Stay Away From
Since the fair attracts a mix of different people, there may be several money-making scams so keep your eyes open and avoid offers that seem too good to be true, chances are they are for a reason. There may also be beggars and gypsies at the fairgrounds but a stern no should be enough to dissuade them from pestering you.
How to Reach Pushkar
Ajmer is the nearest railway station to Pushkar and has train coming from all the major cities of the country. One can also choose to drive to the venue, which is a picturesque drive from the nearby Snake Mountain of roughly 30 minutes. There is an airport located at Kishangarh which receives frequent flights from major cities like Delhi and other surrounding cities of Rajasthan.
Complete Details: How to Reach Pushkar
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Where to Stay
Chances prices will sky rocket during the festive times, so an advance booking is recommended. Accommodation ranges from simple guest houses, to luxury tents, to heritage hotels, five star resorts and hotels and farm stays.
Popular accommodations include – Ananta resort, Jagat Palace, Bhanwar Singh Palace, Lohana Village Resort, Dera Masuda, Vela Resort and more.
Complete Details : Where to Stay in Pushkar
Other Similar Fairs
While the Pushkar fair is one-of-a-kind and incomparable to other fairs, but Rajasthan has several other similar carnivals and fairs like – Elephant Festival at jaipur, Mewar Festival in Udaipur and Desert Festival at Jaisalmer with similar celebrations that happen around the same time.
Also Read : Famous Festivals and Events in Rajasthan
Major Fairs and Festivals in India
Rajasthan International Folk Festival, Jodhpur
Mount Abu Summer Festival, Rajasthan
Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival, Rajasthan
Camel Festival Bikaner, Rajasthan
Desert Festival Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan
Abhaneri Festival, Rajasthan
Tawang Festival, Arunachal Pradesh
Mysore Dasara, Karnataka
Cochin Carnival, Kerala
Marwar Festival, Rajasthan
Snake Boat Race, Kerala
Annual Mewar Festival, Udaipur
Nagaur Cattle Fair, Rajasthan
Onam Festival, Kerala
Sikkim International Flower Festival
Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra
Kutch Rann Utsav, Gujarat
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