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Travel: Snapshots from India's largest camel fair

Last updated on: November 10, 2009 17:20 IST

Image: The fair is the largest Indian camel market

GetAhead reader Ajit Singh sent us pictures of his visit to the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, held from October 25 to November 2 this year.

Coinciding with a religious festival of Hindus, the Pushkar Camel Fair is held during the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartik when devotees visit Pushkar for a holy dip in Pushkar lake.

I visited the Pushkar Fair last year and have been in love with the place ever since. So this year, five of us started our journey on Royal Enfield motorbikes from Noida, early in the morning on Friday, October 31.

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Holy pilgrimage

Image: Sacred tree at Tarni Ghat. Pushkar is one of the 5 sacred dhams in India.

The road was picturesque, especially the Jaipur-Ajmer highway, which makes the ride/ drive heavenly. We reached Pushkar by evening and checked into Hotel Pushkar Inn.

Also called The Gayatri Dham, Pushkar is believed to be the source of the Gayatri Mantra. It is also the only place in India with a temple dedicated to Brahma.

The lake is dried-up!

Image: It is said that no pilgrimage is complete without a holy dip in the Pushkar Lake.
According to legend, Brahma, the creator was looking for a suitable place to perform a yagna or a holy sacrifice on earth when a lotus fell from his hand and struck the earth. Water sprouted from that place and the spot turned to a lake.

Unfortunately, the lake has dried up and we were really saddened upon seeing barren land in place of the beautiful lake from last year.

A fair to remember

Image: The small town comes alive during the fair
Pushkar mela attracts a large number of visitors from all across the world. Apart from cattle trading, other attractions of the fair are the handicrafts bazaar, folk dance and music programmes, animal races, puppet shows and rural sports competition.

The bustling bazaar

Image: Pushkar's camel fair attracts more than 150,000 visitors
The markets were crowded with pilgrims, but not many tourists were to be seen. One reason for that could be the dried-up lake.

Where different faiths meet

Image: Each year, thousands of devotees come here for the annual festival of Urs.

We also went to the Dargah Ajmer Sharif where the Sufi Saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti was buried. Devotees of different faiths come here from far and wide to pay their respects. Ajmer is just 11 km from Pushkar.

Lighting up the sky

Image: The Pushkar fair is held every year during the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartik.
Back in Pushkar, there was a fireworks display on Sunday evening, which was beautiful.

Information you can use

Sunset Point Cafe at Jaipur Ghat is the best place to be in the evenings. It offers amazing views and it was where we had most of our meals, juices, tea etc.

Another thing that one must try while in Pushkar are the malpuas at Radheji.

Since I had to get back to work on Tuesday, we left Pushkar at around 8 am on Monday and reached Noida at 7 pm the same day.

How to get there

Jaipur is the nearest airport.

Ajmer (11km) is the nearest railway station. Regular trains connect Ajmer to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Mumbai and Jodhpur.

Distances: Jaipur is 138 km, Delhi is 392 km, Ahmedabad is 526 km, Jaisalmer is 490 km and Bikaner is 233 km from Ajmer.

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