Rajasthans regal opulence is reflected in the pomp of Pushkar Mela, an annual multi-day livestock fair and cultural fair, which is hosted every year on the full moon day of Kartik and lasts for a week. It will take place from November 4-12, 2019.
The following are some of the key points to bear in mind when visiting the renowned fair this festive season:
1. One of the biggest camel fairs worldwide
The most striking feature of this fair – one of the oldest not just in India but also the world – is the garishly-decorated array of livestock on display. Historically, Pushkar Mela originated as the occasion where regional livestock including camels, horses, and sheep, were brought for the purpose of trading. Even today, it remains the only festival in the world where you will find this spectacle at a uniquely magnificent scale.
2. A carnival beyond camels
The significance of Pushkar Mela goes beyond being the spot for trade and transaction. It happens to be one of the densest conglomerations of culture and community. Locals from various villages across Rajasthan and beyond converge for the occasion to participate in a range of competitions such as camel race, the magnificent moustache contest, horse race, kushti, body-building, and kabaddi, among others. The Mela also hosts numerous soul-enriching cultural events including folk music, dance, etc.
3. Tourist attractions
Apart from these events, travellers can also participate in various experience-enhancing activities. These include hot air balloon rides and shopping at traditional bazaars that host an assortment of handicrafts such as jewellery, clothing, home décor, stationery items, animal accessories, etc. made by local artisans from across the country.
4. A gourmet getaway
Every year, seasoned food-lovers throng to the fair to partake of the tongue-tingling flavours available across the city. From crunchy jalebi and malpua that are soft as air to mouth-watering Israeli and Italian dishes, Pushkar Mela provides a smorgasbord of fantastic regional as well as international cuisines too hard to miss.
5. A backpacker’s paradise
Solo and group backpackers are in for a treat with hostel spaces like Zostel picking pace in the area. One can return to their couch to unwind by the poolside or on a terrace near sundown, after an exhausting day of exploring the fair. Along with proximity to the Pushkar Mela, it has a swimming pool, a nice view from the terrace, in-house games, lively café and common rooms.
Apart from the festival, Pushkar holds a great deal more in store for tourists. This includes hiking opportunities over four popular hiking trails – the Alu Baba trek, Naga Pahar trek, Gayatri hill for sunrise, and the Savitri Temple for sunset – and the desert safari over the sandy dunes of the Thar.