Camels, Camels, Everywhere!!
20.11.2012 - 23.11.2012
The hottest thing going on in India at the end of November was the Pushkar Camel Fair, and I happened to be just a 4 hour train-ride away, so I took the train to Ajmer, and rode in a taxi 15 minutes over a mountain to the town of Pushkar. When I met two girls in Kerala during my first days in India, they told me about Jaisalmer and Pushkar being the 2 highlights of their experience in India. Since their advice on Jaisalmer did not disappoint, I decided Pushkar was my next stop. I arrived just in time for the beginning of the Pushkar Camel Fair, a yearly event for one week where camel traders bring camels from all around to buy and sell them. It's the largest concentration of camels in the world, I believe. Over the years, they've seen how tourists flock to these sorts of events, so they've developed some attractions just for the foreigners.
The week kicked off with a friendly football game between locals and the foreigners (mostly Brits of course). It came down to penalty kicks, but the foreigners pulled it out!
Then I walked around behind the stadium and decided to go exploring the vast area just beyond the city's reach where they kept the camels. Families were all around tending to their own caravan of camels.
I love the bright colors, turbans, and mustaches. All 3=Classic Rajasthan
I thought the fair should have been called the Pushkar Horse Fair, because I saw so many more horses than camels!
Lungyis and Turbans
They really had made it into somewhat of a carnival, with ferris wheels galore. Keep in mind that all of this is taking place in the desert heat.
Taking a Little Rest
Women and children walked around everywhere with large bowls, collecting the feces of the camels. I suspect they were collecting it to make something (fertilizer I presume) and then resell it.
Here is where they collected all of the camel pellets
Pellets, Camels, and Turbans....Capturing it all...
Nice Turban. What are you smoking, sir?
Camels as far as the eye could see
One of the men tending to his camels
After exploring the area where they kept the animals, I decided to explore the town of Pushkar. I must warn you: Pushkar is an excellent place for shopping. Some of the girls I was traveling with got some AMAZING bags from Pakistan that looked straight out of Anthropologie. And I did some serious damage on the purse and scarf front. Pushkar, at least at the time of the Camel Fair, is also an excellent place for people-watching. These ladies' saris are amazing!
And of course, the cows were eating trash of the streets. I really wasn't kidding about that. It's pretty sad.
Pushkar also houses a lake. In fact, that's what made it famous, as people will bathe in the lake to cleanse themselves of their sins. It's a holy town, because of the holy lake (which also means it's a dry town. It's very rare (and more of a mission) to find a beer in this town). Every day, people will go from the temple to the lake to complete their offering. It's very much a pilgrimage site that people come to from other parts of India.
One of the days, they had a camel decoration competition. The camels were dec'd out!!
The men took such pride in their appearance and in the appearance of their camels
For the first time in my life, I saw snake charmers!!
Sure, let's just flick the cobra so it stands up.....great idea...
What a cultural experience! My life is complete
A young child dresses up as the Hindu god, Shiva, with a trident in his hand. It kind of reminded me of that scene from Slumdog Millionaire, when a kid dresses up as the god, Krishna.
They even set up a circus for all of the influx of tourists to the area for the Camel Fair
Monkeys just hanging out on the wall over a street...typical scene of Pushkar
Pushkar was a lovely experience and the Camel Fair was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would recommend to someone traveling to India at the end of November. After I saw one last competition of camel dancing (yes, apparently camels can dance), I headed to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.