Colours, camels, and culture – Celebrating tradition at Pushkar Mela

Pushkar Mela

If you have never heard of the world-famous Pushkar Mela, you are living under a rock or you are a caveman/woman. Reflecting the vibrant culture of Rajasthan through sparkling activities and events, the 100 years old Pushkar Mela is certainly one of the most famous and largest camel fairs in the world. Even though there are many other cattle fairs but none of them is as popular as this one. 

What exactly is Pushkar Mela all about?

The greatest tribal gathering in India, Pushkar Mela, takes place every year in November from Karthik Ekadashi to Karthik Purnima as per the Hindu calendar. The fair has two essential components-camel trading and religious rituals.

Camel trading is the main highlight and hence takes place at the beginning of the festival. Gradually, the focus of the fair shifted from trading, competitions and activities to religious ceremonies during the last few days. The fair includes activities such as camel racing, horse shows, cow and horse beauty contests, acrobatics, camel safaris, and a plethora of other exciting events to entertain visitors who come to enjoy the fair from different corners of the world.

Camels in Pushkar Mela

It is believed that 330 million Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu religion had come to Pushkar Lake on the full moon night to sanctify the pious. As a result, thousands of pilgrims come to Pushkar to commemorate the event and redeem themselves. Pushkar is also one of the five dhams or sacred places that are revered by the Hindus.

Here are some more reasons why you should not miss the Pushkar Mela this year – 

  1. You get to witness the beauty of Rajasthan in the truest sense of the term. 
  2. You get to participate in some of the most interesting events and competitions. 
  3. Some of the most famous fusion bands of India come to perform at the festival. 
  4. You get a chance to witness camel trading. (I am the most excited for this one)
  5. Hot air balloons. Need I say more? 

The famous five-day fair is being held for eight days this year from November 20 to 28 in 2023.  

Pushkar Mela
Source: Flickr

Highlights of this year’s Pushkar Festival 

While each day is loaded with fun-filled activities, they are also specially designed and planned to give tourists a great time on the grounds. Take note of these activities so you don’t miss out on the fun. 

Day 1: Harmony Marathon, Hot Air Balloon Flights, and a renowned band will be playing to call the day off.

Day 2: Langri Taang, Camel decoration along with a dance contest, and sunset safari at the dunes.

Day 3: An exciting horse dance contest, Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar, and an evening full of cultural activities.

Day 4: A spiritual Walk from Gurudwara to Mela Ground and cultural performances on the ground.

Day 5: A cricket match, Mustache competition, turban tying, and kite flying.

Day 6: Matka race, musical chair, and a host of other cultural activities.

Day 7: Adventure activities.

Day 8: Mega cultural event & closing ceremony, Matka race, Camel race, and Kala Jattha.

Day 9: An auspicious day with locals taking dips in the holy lake along with other religious activities.

Things to do at Pushkar Mela 

1. Shop till you drop

Pushkar Mela in Rajasthan
Source: Flickr

Set up by rural artisans, the Shilpgram is a great stop to buy souvenirs and take memories home from the fair. From traditionally handcrafted jewellery to gorgeous paintings and classic leatherware to pretty puppets, there is a lot you can buy from here. 

2. Hop on that hot air balloon for sure

Camel in Pushkar
Source: Flickr

One of the most thrilling activities at Pushkar is the hot air balloon ride to get a fantastic panoramic view of the place. However, this is not for the faint-hearted.

3. Camping

Camping in Pushkar mela
Source: Flickr

Camping in Pushkar is not ordinary camping. It is an entirely different affair with large luxury tents. The tents have all the facilities including butler service. People from all over the world come to camp under the full moon in the dunes.

4. Camel Safari

Camel safari in Pushkar
Source: Flickr

You cannot go to Pushkar and miss out on this one. No better way to jump into the action! Many locals will be keen to offer a camel cart ride for a negotiable fee. Perhaps the best way to comb the area as you ride past clusters of locals and traders selling camels. You will spot women and children decked up in their traditional finery and jewellery – all ready to pose for a photograph. Do take their permission before taking a photo though – many expect payment in return. 

5. Participate in the photography contest

If you’re a photography enthusiast at heart, it’s time you let the world see your talent and win a prize for it as well. Of all the things to do at Pushkar Mela, participating in ‘Frame The Fair’ being organized by the Rajasthan Tourism and E Factor Entertainment is one thing you must definitely try. 

6. Forget about your diet here

Pushkar cuisines
Source: Flickr

While everything at the fair might look too expensive, know that it’s definitely worth a try, especially the local cuisines like Dal Bhati Churma. There is a food street in Pushkar, where you can try out local savouries as well as sweet delicacies. It is located at Gau Ghat. Top-rated restaurants and cafes include Out Of The Blue, The Laughing Buddha Café, Funky Monkey Café and Pink Floyd Cafe Sunset Café.

How to reach the Pushkar Fair

Situated in Ajmer, Rajasthan on the shores of Pushkar Lake, the town is easily accessible by all modes of transport. 

How to Reach the Pushkar Fair
Source: Flickr

By Air:

Connected to all the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is the nearest airport to Pushkar. Upon reaching the airport, you can take a bus or hire a cab to cover 146 kilometers to reach the town.

By Train:

The closest railway station to Pushkar is Ajmer, which is located some 11 kilometers away from the town. If you’re traveling from Delhi or Jaipur, you can take the Shatabdi or the Pink City Express to reach Ajmer from where you can take a taxi to Pushkar.

By Road:

Connected to major roadways and highways in India, Pushkar can be reached easily by taking any regular bus from Ajmer, Indore, Jaipur, and Nagda. Or you can also take your own car and drive directly to this vibrant town. 

If you haven’t visited it yet, set out right now and if you have, well, then go there again because it gets better and better with each passing year. 

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Shabari Shankar

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Colours, camels, and culture - Celebrating tradition at Pushkar Mela
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Colours, camels, and culture - Celebrating tradition at Pushkar Mela
Pushkar Mela is held every year in November from Karthik Ekadashi to Karthik Purnima as per the Hindu calendar
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About the author

Harpreet's profound fascination with exploration blossomed against India's rich heritage and cultural tapestry. Leveraging a background in journalism, she crafts evocative tales that interlace historical depth with contemporary travel experiences. Her words resonate with an inherent passion for discovering offbeat destinations and unearthing the untold stories that shape them.

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