PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR : A DUSTY BUT ATTRACTIVE CONFUSION

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Camel drivers, sellers, shepherds, ambulants and gipsies. Welcome to Pushkar Camel Fair, a dusty confusion that will leave everybody pleasantly amazed. In November the annual camel fair takes place in Pushkar; an unmissable event for anybody passing by Rajasthan in that period.

Fiera dei Cammelli di Pushkar

Pushkar Camel Fair

Donna indiana alla Fiera dei Cammelli di Pushkar

Indian woman at Pushkar Camel Fair

Here there are not official communications, websites, or local newspaper to indicate the exact date nor the program of the annual Pushkar Camel Fair. Here, in the little villages of That Desert, cameleers and shepherds share the atavistic knowledge that 8 days before the Kartika (the month of November) full moon the Pushkar Camel Fair will begins. And they know that if they want to sell the camels and the livestock they worked on one year long they have to reach Pushkar on time. They start thus endless walking  journeys, that can last up to one month, through the desert dunes. Indeed the first spectacle you can admire while reaching Pushkar during the very first days of the fair is the one of cameleers emerging in the distance from from the sand dunes with slow and tired rhythm, followed by herds of camels keeping the same pace.

Pushkar Camel fair: Un cammelliere arriva a Pushkar, foto di Anthony Pappone

Pushkar Camel fair: A cameleer arriving in Pushkar, picture by Anthony Pappone

Arrivo a Pushkar, foto di Anthony Pappone

Arrival in Pushkar, picture by Anthony Pappone

Cammelliere in marcia, foto di Anthony PAppone

Walking cameleer, picture by Anthony Pappone

Campo per cammellieri di Pushkar, foto di Anthony Pappone

Camel Camp in Pushkar, picture by Anthony Pappone

THE ARRIVAL OF THE CAMELEERS 

When everybody, cameleers, shepherds, ambulants, gipsies or simple stuff sellers that make the Camel fair a big part of their low earnings, has arrived, the first day is dedicated to the settlement of the camp, of the tends, of the goods and especially of the herds, so to present tem in the best possible way to buyers. 

Cammellieri al riposo, foto di Anthony Pappone

Cameleers resting, picture by Anthony Pappone

 foto di Anthony Pappone

The dinner of cameleers. picture by Anthony Pappone

WELCOME TO PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR 

Then the real fair starts. The desert around the little town of Pushkar is now the scene of battles to the last rupee to buy a camel, a goat or a horse. Magic shows or local dances mix with sellers of anything could exist and with tourists. Everything can be sold and everything can be bought here, at the Pushkar Camel fair. 

Un cammello viene testato. Foto di Anthony Pappone

The testing of a camel. Picture by Anthony Pappone

Acqua per i cammelli, foto di Anthony Pappone

Water for camels, picture by Anthony Pappone

trattativa per Cammelli, foto di Anthony Pappone

Bargaining, picture by Anthony Pappone

Venditore di Cavalli, foto di Anthony Pappone

Horse seller, picture by Anthony Pappone

Venditrice di pane, foto di Anthony Pappone

Bread seller, picture by Anthony Pappone

Exchanges and negotiations push ahead for some days between new arrivals, endless bargains, frauds and refunds. The nights spend under the big desert stars see the camps lighted with fires, songs, dances and parties that start at night when the negotiations end. There is who, lonely, studies commercial strategies for tomorrow, and who instead joins the celebrations. 

Incantatori di serpenti alla fiera dei cammelli, foto di Anthony Pappone

Snake charmer in Pushkar, picture by Anthony Pappone

Luna Park alla fiera dei cammelli di Pushkar, foto di Anthony Pappone

Amusement park at the Pushkar Camel Fair, foto di Anthony Pappone

Sputafuoco indiano, foto di Anthony Pappone

Indian eaters, picture by Anthony Pappone

La danza Rajasthana, foto di Anthony Pappone

Rajasthanian dance, picture by Anthony Pappone

Luna Park alla fiera dei Cammelli, foto di Anthony Pappone

Amusement park at the Pushkar Camel Fair, picture by Anthony Pappone

Ballerina Rajasthana

Rajastanian dancer, picture by Anthony Pappone

Because Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the most relevant economic and negotiation events in the area but also celebration and religion. The shepherds and the nomadic people of the desert come here to sell animals to get their yearly income but also to pray on the borders of the holy lake of Pushkar, second holiest Hindu city after Varanasi, and to enjoy the Mela, a religious celebration that takes place immediately after the fair. 

Donne Rajasthane fanno acquisti, foto di Anthony Pappone

Rajasthan woman, picture by Anthony Pappone

Cammellieri attorno al fuoco,  foto di Anthony Pappone

The night of the cameleer, picture by Anthony Pappone

Bong smoker cameleer, picture by Anthony Pappone

Cammelliere che fuma un bong, foto di Anthony Pappone

Cammelliere

Cameleer, picture by Anthony Pappone

THE HOLY FESTIVAL

When the camel fair is definitely ended (this year 25thNovember) the Mela religious Fest starts. The city gets full of colorful bazaars and everybody, cameleers, buyers, sellers, celebrate it together praying and resting. Convenants are made and weddings are agreed till the last day of the fest, the Kartik Purnima day when, according to the tradition, the prayers arrived for the occasion in Pushkar have to do the roundabout of the holy lake.

Donne Rajasthane

Indian woman

La fiera dei Cammelli di Pushkar si riposa

The Pushkar Camel fair at night

Cammellieri attorno al Falò

Cameleers around the fire

The Pushkar camel fair, even if nowadays very targeted for international tourism, because, or to cause, of the efforts of the Rajasthan touristic office that understood it could be a very attractive event for tourists, still preserves the true characteristics of once upon a time. Obviously, owing to this touristic development, ambulants trying to sell souvenirs increased quite much, hotel prices doubled and there is the risk itself not to find an accommodation for full booking of the structures. But this dusty confusion is part of the beauty of the event. 

Cammelliere al tramontoSunset at the Pushkar Camel Fair

WHERE TO STAY

Pushkar, during the days of the fair, is filed whit luxury tended camps for tourists that want to see this event. We suggest to those wanting to try the thrill to sleep under the stars, in an accommodation not stars lacking however, to book at the Royal Safari Camp (tends from 140 per night), The Heritage Camp (tends from 130 euros per night) and Camp Bliss (tends from 220 euros per night).

To have more information about Pushkar, read HERE our Pushkar city guide

Words by Federico Sigali

Pictures by Anthony Pappone

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