When you are under scorching sun and throat stuffed with sand and dust, still jumping with joy , no doubt you are in Rajasthan! I had this very same experience during my visit to world famous Pushkar fair this year. Also known as Pushkar Camel fair and Kartika Mela, it attracts lot of foreign tourists and photo enthusiasts every year. It is one of the largest cattle fair in India after Sonepur cattle fair.
Lets start the journey with some overlooking views —
Where — Mela happens in town of Pushkar which is around 146 Kms from Jaipur and 14 kms from Ajmer in Rajasthan.
When — It is an annual celebration which happens for a week from Kartika Ashtami to auspicious Kartika Purnima(Full moon), generally in month of October or November. You can check dates for coming years here
If you are planning to visit The Mela, check out best things to do —
Camel Market — is the most loved spot by photographers specially during sunrise and sunset. You will find herds of camel and their traders everywhere. This set up offers some unique photo opportunities.
Not convinced ? Check on your own —
Camel Safari — is a good way to get a feel of it. You can ride a camel or board a camel cart or both depending on your interest 😉 Be careful about prices as lot of bargaining happens.
Camel competitions — Different camel competitions like camel decorations, camel dancing, camel racing etc are organized. It was a treat to watch these big decorated animals dancing on the beats of dhol(drum like instrument). At times it was a bit painful too to see them being forced by their masters.
Check out this video amazing camel dance —
Horse market — not as picturesque as camel market but good to visit. As told by a local , there are horses with prices ranging from lakhs to few crores !
Brahma Temple — the only famous temple of Lord Brahma in world. There is a story behind it being the only Brahma temple in world. However there are few more, this one is considered most prestigious. Photography is not allowed inside the temple. We got some clicks outside temple.
Maha arti at Pushkar Lake — This is a huge lake with 52 ghats around it. During mela Maha Arti is performed on Brahma ghat. Many tourists and locals participate in it. As per hindu mythology it is considered as king of all pilgrimage sites. You will find lot of devotees taking dip in the holy water.
Cafes near the lake — You will get to see some lake view cafes near Brahma ghat. These are good spots to relax while having some good food and good views.
Local Food — There are many local food joints near Brahma temple as well as in mela it self. Rajasthani food is generally full of ghee and spices. You can spot women in traditional attire preparing rotis and baatis .
Shopping — There are many accessories shops in and near mela ground where you will find jewelry, leather bags, wallets etc .Other than accessories there are some clothing shops selling handmade bed covers, quilts , dresses. So if you are fan of colorful Rajasthani attire, indigo print ,patch work etc you can check out the options available at different shops.
Hot Air Ballon — It is a great place to have a ballon ride. Not just ride, it offers good photo opportunities too. It generally happens in early morning and evening depending upon whether conditions. We were too tired to wake up early morning and to our bad luck evening rides were not happening due to unfavorable climate. Its good to book your slot 2–3 days in advance, as it is generally full.