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Please call (559) 446 0499 or email: brij@indiatravelerusa.com to plan a North India Rajasthan Journey with Pushkar

Pushkar - In the Hindu calendar month of Kartik each year (corresponding to October/November generally), thousands of camels cross the golden sands of Rajasthan with their tribal breeders, some accompanied by the breeders’ extended families to converge in undulating plains around Pushkar lake. Apart from the camels, horses, ponies, cattle, sheep and goat herds are also brought to Pushkar, one of India’s biggest trading/pilgrimage fair. Tribal men in their festive bright colored turbans, their ladies in dressed in a riot of eye-catching colors; their children and all the variety of animals provide a sharp contrast to the dull sandy desert landscape around Pushkar Lake. The small, ancient pilgrimage center is famous for its Brahma (the Hindu God of creation and preservation) temple and has in all about five hundred Hindu temples lining the shores of the lake. The town is quiet and peaceful throughout the year when only the occasional pilgrims come to pay homage at the various temples.

The week preceding the full moon called Kartik Purnima in the Hindu religious calendar month of Kartik this sleepy pilgrimage town is transformed completely. During this week about a quarter million people and thousands of animals make Pushkar their temporary, festival home. To cater to the tribal ladies there are stalls selling their favorite dresses and jewelry. The most common dress for the tribal ladies is the “Ghagara”, an ankle-length heavily pleated skirt; the Choli, a tight fitting blouse that is mostly open in the back except for a string and “Dupatta”, a large scarf that covers the head and flows gracefully down to the thigh-level covering the back and partially the front also. The design and patterns on the Ghagara and Dupatta vary in different regions. The patterns, design and style of men’s turbans also vary in different parts of Rajasthan. Bright colored patchwork and “tie & dye” textile materials are common all over Rajasthan and Gujarat but their designs signify the region of their origin.

In the initial days of the festival the owners and breeders of camels, horses, cows, goats, and sheep do their annual trading. The negotiations could be drawn long but sometimes if a customer perceives an offer to be a bargain the whole transaction could end in a deal within moments. The venders list all the virtues of their animals and the buyers look for the best deals. Rarely the women would be interested in the animal trading. They are focused on the glittering wares under tented stalls. Silver ornaments are a favorite and include intricately designed hairpins, a vast variety of chains and necklaces, nose rings, heavy waistbands, anklets that vary from very delicate to rather heavy ones with tiny bells that would tinkle with every step. Ivory/Bone bangles that sometimes cover the entire arms are also a favorite.

The hectic trading days are followed by fun and pleasure. The camel race is a very popular event at the fair. There is a beauty contest of the camels. The especially bread healthy camels are bedecked with jewelry that would rival that of tribal ladies. The judges watch carefully and critically for the gait of the camel, the choice of its equipment and ornament, its capacity to interpret and carry out commands and the variety of pranks it is capable of performing. The other popular event is the “Laadoo Oonth” in which the weight and volume carrying capacity of the camels is evaluated under the critical eye of impartial judges.

The festival culminates with Kartik Purnima or the full moon night. The day begins with a ritual bath and “Surya Namaskar”, the sun prayers at dawn. Thereafter hundreds of thousands of folk head to the bathing “Ghats”, the steps leading into the lake. The devotees believe that a life-time of sins are washed away on this mystical dawn by bathing in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake, the Lourdes of India. The worshipers head to the Brahma temple after the holy dip. In the evening there is the Aartee ritual with oil lamps in the temples along the lake shore. After the visit to the temples the pilgrims bring tiny lamps with small strings of flowers on a little boat created out of green leaves to the lake and float them on its serene waters in the full moon Kartik Purnima night. Many people head home during the night while others follow them at dawn. Soon the pilgrimage town is quite once again for the rest of the year.

The tourists stay right in the midst of the festival grounds in colorful tents that have essential facilities. Over the years the quality and comfort of these accommodations has improved considerably and it is truly a memorable experience to visit the Pushkar Festival. Limited accommodation in local hotels is also available. Pushkar Palace is right on the ghat of the lake and is about 4-star category. Other hotels are mostly walking distance to the fair grounds and Brahma temple.

In 2016 we have planned a luxury tour visiting Pushkar - please see details: North India Luxury Tour with Pushkar Camel Fair

Hotels in Pushkar:

  • Pushkar Bagh Luxurious Tented Hotel – 45 rooms
  • WelcomHeritage Pushkar Palace Hotel – 53 rooms
  • Pushkar Fort Hotel – 36 rooms
  • Green Park Resort Hotel – 18 rooms
  • Hotel Master Paradise – 44 rooms
  • Jagat Singh Palace – 36 rooms
  • Pushkar Resorts – 40 rooms
  • V. J. Palace Resort – 28 rooms
  • Gulab Niwas Palace Hotel – 40 rooms
  • Hotel Kishan Palace - 15 rooms
  • Prem Villas - 20 rooms
  • Araam Bagh Hotel - 16 rooms
  • Greenhouse Resort - 20 air-conditioned permanent tents, bathrooms attached

Distance from Pushkar:

City Kilometers Miles

  • Ajmer 14 kilometers or 9 miles
  • Jaipur 145 kilometers or 90 miles
  • Samode 182 kilometers or 113 miles
  • Mandawa 224 kilometers or 139 miles
  • Bharatpur 314 kilometers or 195 miles
  • Agra 374 kilometers or 232 miles
  • Sawai Madhopur 275 kilometers or 171 miles
  • Udaipur 285 kilometers or 177 miles
  • Jodhpur 211 kilometers or 131 miles
  • Delhi 400 kilometers or 248 miles
  • Deogarh 160 kilometers or 99 miles
  • Chittorgarh 190 miles or 118 miles

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