Pushkar Camel Festival - Nov 2010

02 June 2010

A Colourful Convergence of Camels

If you have ever wanted to be up close and personal to a camel (and who of us isn't fascinated by these wonderful ungainly creatures), you could have the opportunity to meet 60,000 of them at the Pushkar Camel Fair held in the Indian state of Rajasthan, from November 18-21 this year.

The five day horse and camel fair is one of the last great traditional melas (fairs) to be held each year in India and it has become one of India's most colourful and spectacular events. In the weeks leading up to the Fair, more than 200,000 people, camels, horses, caravans and carts from all corners of India cross sandy dunes to converge on Pushkar to take part in the Fair.

Camels are primped, shaved, and bedecked with jewellery and ornate ribbons, and take part in races and even beauty contests, as their owners vie for buyers' attention. And their owners are a colourful part of the event with gypsies laden with embroidered mirrored finery and antique silver jewellery and colourfully turbaned farmers proudly herding their livestock as their ancestors have done for centuries.

An old style traditional Indian carnival is held alongside the camel and horse trading and features an array of musicians, dancers, acrobats and snake charmers, along with carousel rides to entertain the ever increasing crowds.

Pushkar is located on the road between Jaipur and Jodhpur and is on the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. It is a picturesque little temple town built around a lake surrounded by orchard and rose farms and it is regarded as one of the holiest centres of Hinduism.  Pilgrims also come to the festival to bathe in the holy waters of Pushkar's lake and to be absolved of their sins. According to ancient Hindu philosophy, the two days around the Full Moon during November (Kartik Poonima) make the water of Pushar Lake become particularly holy. Those who bathe on the day of the full moon are said to receive special blessings.

This year the official dates for this year's Pushkar Camel Fair are November 18-21, with camel trading starting from November 12.

Adventure World is offering a tour which takes in the Pushkar Camel Fair. Adventure World's 9 day/8 night Rajasthan Experience is priced from $1582 per person, share twin. This private journey takes in the sights of the Taj Mahal, the imperial city of Jodhpur and the camel fair. As spaces are limited, Adventure World recommends booking in advance. For more details contact your travel agent or visit www.adventureworld.co.nz