Adventures in India: The Pushkar Camel Fair

Cailin O Neil January 8, 2014 6

The Pushkar Camel Fair in India is one of the world’s largest camel and livestock fairs. It takes place in the Rajasthani town of Pushkar each November, during the full moon and the holy festival of Kartik Purnima. The fair has become a popular tourist attraction, with upwards of 400,000 people in attendance in recent years.

Pushkar camel dressed up for the fair. Photo by K. Koshy.

Pushkar camel dressed up for the fair. Photo by A. Agnihotri.

Aside from being one of the biggest traditional melas (“meetings) in the world there are also many other events that take place during the fair. From longest-moustache competitions, camel races, and musical performances, to a bridal competition and even a cricket match between locals and foreigners. The Pushkar Camel Fair has also become known as a meeting place where marriages are quite often arranged.

People come from all over the world to see the fair and locals come from all over the region, some walking with their livestock for three weeks straight across the desert just to get there. Although the small town of 15,000 has many options for accommodation, these tend to fill up quickly. The majority of visitors stay directly on the fair grounds in tent circles.

Herders with their camels at a watering hole at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Photo by K. Koshy.

Herders with their camels at a watering hole at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Photo by K. Koshy.

The official fair lasts five days, although herders and traders begin arriving to the area with their livestock and wares about a week before. Negotiations over the sale of camels, horses, and more take several days with the seller holding out for the best offer. Interestingly, the best prices offered also happen to be in years when the monsoon has been good.

During the fair there are many things to see and do, including shopping at the many bazars and craft stalls that have been set up by local women to sell fabrics, jewelery and other wares, and watching camel races and competitions in the stadium. There are also horse rides and hot-air balloon excursions.

Shopping at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Photo by K. Koshy.

Shopping at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Photo by K. Koshy.

Pushkar is also one of the oldest existing cities in India and is home to one of five sacred pilgrim sites of devout Hindus. The last day of the fair is when the Kartik Purnima festival is celebrated and when thousands of devotees will bathe in the holy lake in Pushkar, which is believed to lead them to salvation.


Getting There

Interested in visiting Pushkar for the many temples or for the craziness of the Pushkar Camel Fair? You’ve got opitons! Check out our tours to Rajasthan to experience it for yourself.

6 Comments »

  1. Phyllis dorfman June 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Would like to visit India and attend pushcar camel festival and maybe Diwali light festival.
    Two people
    Phyllis Dorfman. And Norris Bakke
    Want five star hotels…and would request travel agent discount if possible any where…

    Please advise ASAP as I know it gets booked early..
    Thanks,
    Phyllis

  2. Sacha Mlynek June 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Thanks Phyllis! We’ll be in touch soon!

  3. Pat Glenn June 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    My friend and I will be in Jaipur and would like to spend October 31 and November 1 in Pushkar. Please give me your rates and what you offfer for the fair.

  4. Sacha Mlynek July 18, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Hi Pat,

    We’re excited to hear you are going to spend time in India! We’d love to help you plan your trip. Please connect with our res team at travel@gadventures.com so they can speak to you about which options might suit you best. :)

  5. bina August 11, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Any last minute deals as I have visa and days off now 13 to 26th august?

  6. Sacha Mlynek August 12, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Hi Bina,

    Your best bet would be to connect with our reservations team at travel@gadventures.com. They will be able to look at dates for you. Happy planning!

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