Pushkar Fair (2 Nov to 10 Nov 2011)

The Pushkar Fair, or Pushkar ka Mela, is the annual five-day camel and livestock fair, held in the town of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs, and apart from buying and selling of livestock it has become an important tourist attraction and its highlights have become competitions such as the “matka phod”, “longest moustache”, and “bridal competition” are the main draws for this fair which attracts thousands of tourists. In recent years the fair has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar club and a team of random foreign tourists. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, mentions an attendance of 100,000 pilgrims in early 1900s.

The Pushkar Festival in Rajasthan comes to an end on the day of Kartik Purnima. On this day, ritual bathing on the ghats of Pushkar Lake begins at dawn. There is quite a rush for getting a place on the bathing ghats. The water of the Lake is believed to possess medicinal powers and also wash away the sins of a lifetime. After holy dip, the devotees visit the Brahma temple to get his blessings.

The first five days of the festival in Rajasthan are for selling and purchase of the cattle. The prospective buyer is attracted by the owner by admiring his animal with long list of qualities. The buying and selling may take some time because of long-drawn negotiations and bargains. Once the deal is over, the animals are groomed and ornamented at the festival particularly the camel. After shearing and scrubbing, the camel is costumed and sometimes even perfumed handmade saddles, long strings of cowries, beads, colorful saddle-straps, embroidered back-covers and boots are available for the camels.

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Source: Wikipedia, pushkarfair2011.com

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