The Pushkar camel fair is an annual melee that attracts people from all over Rajasthan. People walk through the deserts and villages with camels, horses and cattle and camp in Pushkar’s fair grounds. At the end of ten days, the animals would have been bought and sold. On the side, the stocking of vessels, clothes and knickknacks for the year would have happened. Everyone goes back home, ready to come back the next year.
It was sheer coincidence that we had ended up in Pushkar at this time of the year but what a good thing to have happened.
The driver dropped us off at the outskirts of the town. We made our way past the crowds and reached the Rajasthan Tourist Information centre (No doubt set up to cater to the burgeoning tourist crowd, who were luckily outnumbered 1 to 5 by the locals...yes, yes we were tourists too). The helpful volunteers handed us a brochure listing all the delights that were in store in the coming days.
A quick scan revealed that the camel dance competition had already taken place the previous day. We were disappointed but could not stay so given the huge rush of colour and action around us
Clutching our brochure with its map, we tried to figure our way around. It became amply clear after a while that the map's creator had used his artistic license. Where we expected a vast, paved main road, we noticed a tiny muddy road stuffed with people.
We managed to make our way through the crowds to our first stop, the Brahma temple. Pushkar’s avatar as camel trade hotspot is only an aside. On regular days, people come to visit one of Pushkar 400+ temples and famous ghats. The Brahma temple is especially special since there are very few temples to a god who has been cursed by mythology to remain temple-less
This also took us through a crowded street
Fortified, we explored the ghats and noticed the stern sign issuing orders on decorum to ‘foreigners’ –
Lest you think that Pushkar is all work and no fun, there were also posters like this –
(Gleeful boys no doubt waiting for the belles to show up)
Doesn't the gentleman in the middle look like the dictator of a minor country? Surely, the first gentleman is being sought by Interpol for some crimes?
Taking in all these little features of Pushkar, we finally reached the mela grounds where all action was afoot. We hired a young man's cart to take us through the camp
The sight was unbelievable. Tents, animal and people stretched for miles ahead.
We were ready to keep going on but these darn timebound travels do put a stop to such plans.
Maybe next year?
p.s. We heard an advertisement on radio on the way back to Jaipur. Stuck innocuously between two romantic Shah Rukh numbers, the male voice laughed and said ‘In reel life, you can survive gun shots, but in real life can you?’ Then sobering, the voice continued ‘Bodyguards are of no use when bullets hit you’. Finally the radio ad concluded with ‘use so and so brand bullet proof vests’. Surely we were in the same country..