Pushkar mela is an an annual multi-day livestock fair and cultural extravaganza, which is generally held during the last part of October or the first part of November. It is one of the India’s largest camel, horse and cattle fairs. Apart from the trading of livestock, it is an important pilgrimage season for Hindus as the only Brahma temple in the world lies in Pushkar. The Pushkar lake is also considered among Hindus, as they believe taking a dip in its waters washes away one’s sins. Photography is not allowed in Pushkar lake during daytime and people will stop you if you try to take pictures, however after 5 pm, it is allowed. You can visit the official website https://www.pushkarmela.org/ to check this year’s schedule and get more information.
Pushkar is thronged by thousands of tourists from India and abroad, among those tourists, a huge number of them are photographers who come to this area to capture the color and beauty of the place. Photography contests are also held by the organizing committee, so you are free to take as many pictures you want, however be careful of other people’s sentiments. Pushkar is sometimes called ‘mini Israel’ due to the influx of a huge number of tourists from Israel. You can spot many shops and hotels have Hebrew Language written on their them, instead of the local language.
The Pushkar mela ground is located about 2 kms from town centre and can be reached on foot. It is a large stadium where different day to day activities like moustache competition, camel race, tug of war, musical chair etc are held between locals and foreign tourists. Outside the stadium, a number of stalls are set which sell tea, lime juice, ice creams, household articles, agricultural implements, jewellery, devotional items and festival decorations. One can also see a huge number of white tents are set, where the cattle herders live as they come from far villages to buy and sell camels and horses. A huge number of camel rides are available near the mela ground. One can hop into one of the carriages for a few hours and visit the surroundings of Pushkar.
I have heard that lot of foreign tourists are hassled by locals by a thing called ‘Pushkar Passport’, which is nothing but a red thread tied around your wrist, which signifies that they have performed the necessary rites and rituals. Tourists are also asked to pay large sums of money in order to make a blessing at the lake. If you want to avoid these kind of problems, just tie a red colored thread around your wrist and you can evade a lot of tricksters. Occasionally, you will also be approached by priests, old women, gypsies, beggars etc to give them some money, in these situations I paid them 10 rupees to get from my back. In general, it is a safe place with lots of tourists, so you should not have much problems.
How to Reach:
If you coming by public transportation, only way to reach Pushkar is by coming to Ajmer. After reaching, it is best to book Ola or Uber. I paid Rs 350 for a one way ride from Ajmer to Pushkar with Ola, whereas the taxi drivers standing outside the railway station were charging 600 rupees. There are also public buses that depart from Ajmer bus stand, but they are overcrowded with local people and it is too difficult to travel with luggage
When to visit
Although Pushkar can be visited from October to February as the weather remains cool during this time, I will recommend to visit it during the fair. Hotels needed to booked at least 1 month in advance, as you will not get any accomodation in Pushkar during the fair.
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If you are interested in knowing more about Rajasthan, visit my other blogs on Jodhpur street photography, Jodhpur sightseeing, Mandore garden, Jaisalmer street photography, Jaisalmer photo tour, Patwon Ki Haveli, Bada Bagh, Pushkar mela photography, Kuldhara, Udaipur photography, Udaipur, Jaipur architecture street photography and Jaipur photo tour.