|   HOME  |  BLOG   |  ARTICLES  |  PHOTOS   | VIDEOS  |   ABOUT  |
 
*Sri Lanka*

 

Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan, India     Click here for photos of Pushkar's temples and ghats


Two days ago I went on a day trip to Pushkar, a Hindu pilgrimage site, from Jaipur. It has what is said to be the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the world. Bathing ghats surround Pushkar Lake, which, like the umpteen other polluted lakes and rivers in India, is believed to have miraculous healing and purifying power. Though alcohol and meat are banned in this holy town, soft drugs are tolerated (Lord Shiva partakes of it himself!) and are a major draw for Westerners. Pushkar's history goes back a long way but all its temples date from modern times; the earlier buildings were summarily razed by the bad guy Aurangzeb.

This was my second visit, occasioned by the annual, weeklong Pushkar camel fair that attracts over 250,000 visitors from India and abroad. Villagers turn up for both business and pleasure. In the animal market, amid women gathering camel dung for fire and children frolicking in tanks that hold water for the camels, I felt transported back by decades, save for the prominent telecom company ads and the camcorder-toting tourists.

Besides the trade in camels, horses, livestock, and farm items, the fair-held in the outskirts of town at the edge of the desert-also offers lots of entertainment and a street market. The former includes tightrope walkers, performing monkeys, snake charmers, acrobats, dare-devil bikers, spherical mirror illusions, circus acts, and shows promising 'melting girls' and 'women who turn into serpents as they wish'. Competitions focus on moustaches and bridal wear, as well as events like camel and horse races, matka phod, and a cattle beauty contest. Brightly dressed women shop for fashion jewelry, pots and pans, and clothes. Food stalls abound, as do merry-go-rounds and similar rides. All in all, it seems like the biggest fun event of the season for the hinterland population.

It struck me afresh that these Rajasthani villagers are a proud and handsome lot, weathered by the sun and the desert, though they don't exactly shine on the UN Human Development Index. They have high rates of illiteracy, selective abortions, and underage marriages. Westerners visit aplenty, perhaps Rajasthan, old world and loudly demonstrative, represents a fairly safe and exotic foil to their own modernity. And since a picture says a thousand words, check out some I took that afternoon.   [—06 Nov 06; post/read visitor comments]

Camels for sale (more)

Imposing headgear (more)

Village maiden (1, 2, 3)

Down! Sit! (more)


Woman in blue


Thirst quenching (more)


Peek-a-boo!


Deformed man (more)


Young mother (more)


Gathering camel poop for fuel


All decked out


Woman watching a show


Malpua (goes with rabdi)


Young woman (1, 2, 3)


Desert scene


Visitors to the fair


Smoking a beedi (more)


Chillums for sale


Sadhu


Village men


Throngs heading to the fair


Granny


Camel fair ground (more)


Local delicacies


Circus in town


Young woman (more)


Village children


Two young men


Deformed woman


Sadhu with his cow


Village girl


Temple tower


A family with their camels


Village businessman


Weathered face


Desert woman


Two young men


Just sold!


Brushing teeth (dant manjan)


Conference


Man resting


Buying veggies


Girl with brother


Mother with children


Settling dues


Villager


Visitors to the fair


Deformed man


Shopkeeper


Visitor to the fair


Sadhu drinking tea


Local woman


Trying out a necklace


Women in yellow (1, 2)


Watching a show


Visitors to the fair


Veiled mother


Sadhus


Young woman


Albino kid


Watching a show (more)


Tightrope walker (1, 2)


Matted hair


Mother and child


Weathered face


Fresh after a bath


Watching the show


Tightrope walker


Buying sugarcane


Three young women (more)


Village elders


Family conference


Woman talking


Visitors to the fair


Visitor to the fair


Sadhu couple


Elderly woman (more)


Villagers at the fair


Shopper at the fair


Women congregating


Shopkeeper


Shopkeeper


Shopkeeper


Shopkeeper


Pushkar Lake


The bathing ghats (more)


Evening glow


Bathing pilgrims

 

 

___________________________________________________________

comments powered by Disqus
 
 
  |   HOME  |  BLOG   |  ARTICLES  |  PHOTOS   |  VIDEOS  |  ABOUT  |

Designed in collaboration with Vitalect, Inc.