This the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar in Rajasthan India. I came here for the annual Pushkar Camel Fair when camel herders and animal traders ascend on this town with over 50,000 horses, cattle and the star attraction, the camels.
Pushkar is like no other town in India you will visit. The village area wraps around Pushkar Lake, considered one of the great Hindu pilgrimages of India. Some of Mahatma Ghandi’s mortel remains were scattered from a ghat, or staircase at the lake. That Ghat now bares his name.
The town itself complete with wandering cows, pandas, hindu priests offering flowers and pujas for big baksheesh, centers around the main street, or Sadaar Bazaar. It’s a mix of traveller/hippie food joints, cafes and shops and ghats to the lake. A great mix of travellers, pilgrims, and locals. It’s also where you’ll find one of the only Brahma Temples in the world. They’re waiting to enter after the midday break. Brahma is the Hindu creator God, and of the few of these temples that exist, this one is the most prominent.
And these are the fairgrounds, where all the business of camels takes place. I arrived about five days before the official start of the fair. This is the time when you’ll see the most camels and trading.
It’s a hot dry, dusty environment, filled with every sound a camel can make. Camel herders, training and disciplining the younger ones. A scene you could find a little disturbing. It’s pure India. Filled with constant movement. Musicians and gypsies swirling around you for baksheesh and thousands of camels constantly on the move around the grounds. Sensory perception overload.
The fair takes place every year coinciding with Kartik Purnima, sometimes called Devi Diwali, the festival of lights of the gods. Pilgrims from all over India come to bath in the holy lake of Pushkar. When the business of camels concludes the crazy fair begins with snake charmers, children balancing on tightropes, and the giant bath in the lake.
What makes this gathering so special? For me it’s a window to a nomadic life that still exists for these people. Conducting business the same way for thousands of years. Maybe there’s cel phones and other modern aids used but a life centered around the movement and trade of camels hasn’t changed.
For breezy-size.flywheelsites.com this is John Saboe from the Pushkar Camel Fair, in Rajasthan India.
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