India is one of the more exotic locales for any western traveler, and many will be surprised by the nature of a fair in the world’s second most-populous country. Unlike most festivals in the western world, many Indian fairs are based around cattle, and buying and selling of livestock plays a major role in the events.
One of the largest and best-known of these festivals is the Pushkar Camel Fair, held every year in October or November. This year, the festival will take place November 20th to the 28th.
Camel herders and traders will begin to arrive two days before the beginning of festivities there, some of whom travel for weeks, trekking hundreds of miles to attend the bazaar. At its peak, the festival will be attended by 300,000 people and 20,000 camels.
The first day of the event is one where the animals are shown off to the public and potential buyers. This is the best time to see the animals, and get your picture taken with them. If you are looking to actually purchase a camel, most of the animals are sold in the first few days, so make sure to choose one while the selection is best.
The greatest number of camels at the event is expected to be on the 21st, so if you need to really get a good dose of camels, this day is your big opportunity.
Thursday, November 22nd will feature many of the camels on sand dunes, and the beginning of the construction of tents for the bazaar. Camel displays and competitions, including races, will also mark part of the festivities of the day.
The 23rd is predicted to be the day that the largest number of people will attend the festivities, although the number of camels will begin to decline through sales and vendors leaving after the main transactions have closed for the year.
The weekend of the 24th and 25th will feature music, vendors and camel cart rides. Handmade crafts will be available from a variety of local merchants and craftspeople. The street shows, shopping and amusement rides will continue over the course of the weekend.
Some of the competitions held at Pushkar include a longest-mustache contest and an exhibition cricket game between the town’s local cricket club and a hodge-podge team of random foreign visitors.
The nearby lake is considered sacred to many, and the event will conclude with two days of bathing by the faithful, donned in bright-colored clothing. The devout believe that the lake was created when the God Brahma dropped a sacred lotus to the Earth.
If you have a chance to see this fair, make sure to check it out. Or, take a spin on over there if you’re just looking for a great deal on a lightly-used camel.