Pushkar Camel Fair: An Untold Story


As part of Photojournalism, here is the special Photo experience essay and reportage on Pushkar camel fair 2017. This is one well-explained essay about life at the time of Camel fair.

Provenance of Pushkar

Pushkar Mela, conducted in a town called Pushkar in Rajasthan over a period of five days, is the largest camel and livestock fair in the country. With around 50,000 camels being gathered in one place. This is one of the largest camel fairs in the world. These animals are brought together to be bought and sold as well as exhibited.

Although livestock trading is one of the primary purposes of this fair, religious pilgrimage is the other. Moreover, since the tourist value of this fair is really high, Rajasthani as well as Gujarati traders who come into town explicitly for this festival, bring with a variety of items such as paintings, clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc. to be sold at the fair.

Finally, that day has arrived when I finally got the chance to experience the wonders of life in Pushkar and the largest camel fair in the world. On November 1st, we reached the place which is born due to flowers, i.e. Pushkar.

Elaichiwala Chai

It was a little cold on the streets of Pushkar in November mornings and when you wake up early to take pictures before sunrise, you need something to keep yourselves warm and what is better than a hot ‘Elaichiwala Chai’ for that? We stopped at Chai Wala and asked him about the places where we could find the camels and herders. With little information from him and more from the guard standing next to him, we found the way towards the ‘Deras’ (tents and huts) of Camel herders and started walking towards the dark street.

The Arrival

Camelus: A local camel herder getting his camels to the fair ground

It wasn’t looking like it was just 4.30 am in the morning as the streets were quite lively, as hymns and bell’s music from the nearest temple was coming and pilgrims were walking towards Brahma temple. I asked them about the history behind the pilgrimage. As the mornings were a little cold, the locals made small groups and sat around the fire. In Rajasthan, this is called ‘Taap Karna’ or ‘Taapna’. It’s not only to beat the cold but it also serves the purpose of getting a bunch of people together for a quick morning chat. If you want to know more about a place and its vernacular, try sitting with them and they will be the best people to help you with that!

Chori, Chai-Bidi ka paisa to dedo!

After walking for a few minutes on the street, we took the off route and went towards the area where the camel herder’s camps were present. They said that all their food for the next few days was kept under it safely. The camels were tied to the stones around them and the females were busy cleaning the area. Some of them will ask you for money if you try to click their pictures. They will say “Chori, Chai-Bidi ka paisa to dedo” (Hey young lady, at least give us money for Tea and cigarette).

Mama Love: Mama camel is feeding her baby camel
Surprised: Young lady taking water for her baby and looking surprisingly at camera
Inequality: A girl is drinking water while covering her whole face with dupatta
Boss Up: One of the eldest herder giving commands to youngest one
Take Care: May be old owner is saying to new one to take care of the horse
Tea Time: Herder is preparing tea
Smoking: Two of herders are busy enjoying their smoke
Winter Is Coming: Herder is seated besides fire just to warm up as it’s early November
Jalebi, fapda, kachori, etc…

The items mostly seen here are Rajasthani costumes and puppets, embroider fabrics, souvenirs, bangles and beads, decorative items and fabrics, souvenirs, bangles and beads, decorative items and accessories, curios, brass utensils, glass lamps, bags, belts, etc. There were different types of food, like jalebi, fapda, kachori, etc.

As the town Pushkar is rich, so is its village life. You can always interact with the villagers of Pushkar as they interact with each other on traditional lines. Now that is something, which is significant and worthwhile. You watch them in their entirety and will be happy to note their suave nature and high hospitality standards. The streets in Pushkar are usually narrow and that is what makes them even more glowing and fine. With exquisite shops, hotels, homes, and temples;

Camel Ride: No camel route is long, with good company

A magical journey – Pushkar Camel fair

A camel safari is the perfect way to discover dessert regions – especially areas as historically and culturally rich as Rajasthan. A camel can take you to the place where a jeep or ordinary motor vehicle will struggle to reach. It was the only means of transport available in these often inhospitable stretches of land. A camel safari, then, makes for a magical journey, one unlike any other you will ever experience. In Pushkar camel safari; you can explore the rugged terrain of the Indian desert of Sahara. Pushkar camel safari will take you destinations where you will witnesses small villages along the way and during crop harvesting, the views are exceptionally enticing.

Happy Ending: Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing…

Pranavika MohitePatil, Pune, Maharashtra

All the photos and text in this post are copyright of Pranavika MohitePatil. Thereupon, their reproduction, full or part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.


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