Pushkar and Camels camels camels!
11.11.2010 - 12.11.2010 74 °F
We left the "Golden Triangle" - the nexus of weeklong India-trippers, for the pilgrimage town of Pushkar - best known for its massive camel fair. Pushkar is a tiy hamlet set in the dry grassland of Rajastan. Narrow streets and colorful houses open to a small three or four acrew lake in the center of the town. To simplify things... It is believed by some Hinduis that the waters of the lake have a the ability to absolve dalits (the lowest untouchable classes) of their sins helping to speed them to the Hindu version of heaven. The town, therefore, is littered with pilgrim seekers and orange turbaned saduus (spiritual men) and truly carries within it the insight and presence of sanctity.
For lent there is mardi gras, for the spiritual site of Pushkar there is a camel fair. Once a year, thousands of pilgrims descend upon the town to absolve themselves of their sins... Coincidently this spectacular and solemn event is held at the same time as a colossal camel fair. Resembling in many ways the small town county fairs of the United States, the celebration is a funfilled carnival complete with largest moustache contests, joke telling, sword eaters, and (of course) most-beautiful-camel prizes. At its height the event has close to 50,000 camels in attendence and perhaps as many people.
As our time table (and energy) allowed we arrived in Pushkar at the very start of the festivities. At first disappointed, we concluded the timing was perhaps the most ideal. We experienced Pushkar relatively crowdless of tourists but still chock full of probably close to 10,000 camels. We had avoided the hordes of tourist (and sky rocketing prices of hotels) and were given a chance to see glimpse Pushkar for what it really is: a beautiful tiny town with a lot of spirit to live up to.
We ate luxuriously, shopped magnificantly, and sat unperturbed by the gloriously peaceful lake. We took a walk through the camel fair, splurged on delicious oven baked pizza and set sails for Jaiselmer and the two and half days of camel trekking in the Thar desert!