India A trip to pushkar fair

Between November 3rd and November 14th 2016 I traveled to Rajasthan, India with my parents. Our goal was to visit the Pushkar Mela. This is an annual event during which many people from across India come to Pushkar, Rajasthan to trade camels, horses, and to celebrate. In addition many people make a pilgrimage to the Pushkar Holy Lake, which plays an important role in Hindu mythology.

Jaipur

Street life

After a 14-hour flight to New Delhi, our trip started in the city of Jaipur. One of the most striking things immediately noticeable is how much life is played out in the streets. It is noisy, dusty, and there is always something happening.

Animals

Another characteristic feature is animals in the street - monkeys, dogs, pigs, and holy cows are common sights. In addition you will see elephants, horses, and camels used as beasts of burden.

Tuk-tuks

The favorite way to get around for many Indian people and tourists alike is the tuk tuk; a motorized rickshaw. The traffic is chaotic yet somehow organized. Honking your horn is an essential part of this system, and many trucks expressly invite people to honk their horn, in order to make their presence known.

Forts and palaces

Jaipur has several interesting palaces and forts, such as the City Palace and the Amber Fort. These palaces and forts were once the residences of maharajas. One of the most beautiful is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), from where women of the royal household could observe street festivals while remaining unseen from the outside.

Hawa Mahal - 'the Palace of Winds'
A door in the City Palace
The Amber Fort

Another interesting part of the City Palace is the Jantar Mantar - a collection of mysterious astronomical instruments, built in the late 18th century. The instruments are remarkably advanced and accurate.

Pushkar

After a drive of a few hours, we arrived in Pushkar, where preparations for the fair were in full swing. It is a small town of approximately 15,000 people, however, in November, when the fair happens, the population easily doubles.

Camels and horses

Camels arrive from near and far, often walking by road. Once they arrive, the camels are fed and provided water from communal water basins.

Besides camels, horses are also traded. White horses with blue eyes are especially prized.

Pushkar Sarovar

The Pushkar Sarovar, or holy lake, is the lake around which Pushkar was built. According to Hindu beliefs, the lake was created by the god Brahma, after he dropped a lotus flower.

Pushkar Sarovar is the second holiest place in hinduism after the river Ganges, and Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were scattered here. Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to Pushkar to renew their karma by bathing in the lake.

People of Rajasthan

Rajasthani men are recognizable by their mustaches, golden earrings, and turbans.

The women often have ornate nose rings, and wear colorful saris.

The Fair

The fair started on November 8th with a flag hoisting ceremony, after which schoolgirls performed a dance.

The fair continued over the next couple of days with an eclectic program including sporting events, a mustache competition, musical performances, a fun fair, and horse and camel competitions.

The mustache competition was especially entertaining.

Eventually at the end of the fair, the camel traders started leaving.

Ajmer

We started our return journey via the city of Ajmer, from where we took a train to New Delhi. Before we left, we had a look in and around the city, where we visited two forts and a temple of the Jain religion.

Eventually we boarded the train to New Delhi, which took 7 hours.

THE END

Created By
Martijn de Jong
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Credits:

(c) 2016 Martijn de Jong

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