Pushkar: from Holy place to Camels Fair

After holding back from visiting Pushkar, I decided to give in and packed my camera for a three day trip . You might be asking yourself why I was holding back, or perhaps more importantly, What is Pushkar? I’ll start with the second. 
Pushkar is a city in the state of Rajasthan, India, where a Camel Fair is celebrated every year. It is also a holy city of the Hindu’s as it is believed that Lord Brahma created the lake there by dropping a lotus flower, and that bathing in it would help them attain salvation. 


Pushkar is set in the desert and the camels must walk long distances to reach this place. Their traders resemble gypsies, entire families actually, that set tents in the vast land where the fair takes place. The group comprises musicians, dancers, artists and of course camels handlers that offer rides to the visitors.  


The answer to my statement about holding back, is more of a personal tone. Underneath the uniqueness of it all and the beauty of the desert, lies the tough reality of these animals and their people. Camels are still very much used in India as means transportation and labor. Their skin is used for making shoes, purses and other leather goods. But they are docile, noble, strong animals and their treatment has painful to watch. 

Their leash attaches to a nose peg. At the sight of the handler approaching to stick the peg in them, the camels start making grueling noises and apparently, unaware of they own strength, tolerate the pain in relative calm. Once in, it seems easy to control the animal by attaching their leash to any small rock or shrub. But when the nose piece is not in, a leg is often bended and tighten so that the camel would have to stand in 3  legs making it very difficult to even sit. Recording their lives in pictures is my way of creating awareness.  


There is no doubt that the fair is important for Pushkar’s economy and those who depend on trading and all businesses that surround it. And maybe because their lives are also tough, humane animal treatment is far from their scope of concern (or their awareness?). 

Beyond the Camel Fair is the town itself: eclectic, busy and lively. I imagine that this is the time of the year when most sales are made, as it is recorded that approximate 14,000 people visited the town over a period of 14 days. 

There was no shortage of photographers and tourist groups in addition to the Hindu pilgrims. All sort of businesses emanate from it and locals are so used to the curious tourists that happily pose for our cameras: women beautifully dressed, kids in full Lord Krishna outfit mixed with Sadhus and Pujaris (priests). 


Pushkar’s architectures preserves some Mughal influences: lattice work, floral ornaments, Muti-foliated arches. It’s presence juxtaposes colorful facades, rectangular windows and doors, Hindu temples and backpackers hostels.


The sensorial overload of visiting Pushkar accompanied me all the way to Delhi and as India itself, took me time to process all I had witnesses. A holy city indeed, a crossroad, a place to let yourself go and simply absorb it uniqueness. This is Pushkar:




After holding back from visiting Pushkar, I decided to give in and packed my camera for a three day trip . You might be asking yourself why I was holding back, or perhaps more importantly What is Pushkar? I’ll start with the second. 
Pushkar is a city in the state of Rajasthan, India, where a Camel Fair is celebrated every year. It is also a holy city of the Hindu’s as it is believed that Lord Brahma created the lake there by dropping a lotus flower, and that bathing in it would help them attain salvation. 


Pushkar is set in the desert and the camels must walk long distances to reach this place. Their traders resemble gypsies, entire families actually, that set tents in the vast land where the fair takes place. The group comprises musicians, dancers, artists and of course camels handlers that offer rides to the visitors.  


The answer to my statement about holding back, is more of a personal tone. Underneath the uniqueness of it all and the beauty of the desert, lies the tough reality of these animals and their people. Camels are still very much used in India as means transportation and labor. Their skin is used for making shoes, purses and other leather goods. But they are docile, noble, strong animals and their treatment has painful to watch. 

Their leash attaches to a nose peg. At the sight of the handler approaching to stick the peg in them, the camels start making grueling noises and apparently, unaware of they own strength, tolerate the pain in relative calm. Once in, it seems easy to control the animal by attaching their leash to any small rock or shrub. But when the nose piece is not in, a leg is often bended and tighten so that the camel would have to stand in 3  legs making it very difficult to even sit. Recording their lives in pictures is my way of creating awareness.  


There is no doubt that the fair is important for Pushkar’s economy and those who depend on trading and all businesses that surrounds it. And maybe because their lives are also tough, humane animal treatment is far from their scope of concern (or their awareness?). 

Beyond the Camel Fair is the town itself: eclectic, busy and lively. I imagine that this is the time of the year when most sales are made, as it is recorded that approximate 14,000 people visited the town over a period of 14 days. 

There was no shortage of photographers and tourist groups in addition to the Hindu pilgrims. All sort of businesses emanate from it and locals are so used to the curious tourists that happily pose for our cameras: women beautifully dressed, kids in full Lord Krishna outfit mixed with Sadhus and Pujaris (priests). 


Pushkar’s architectures preserves some Mughal influences: lattice work, floral ornaments, Muti-foliated arches. It’s presence juxtaposes colorful facades, rectangular windows and doors, Hindu temples and backpackers hostels. The sensorial overload of visiting Pushkar accompanied me all the way to Delhi and as India itself, took me time to process all I had witnesses. A holy city indeed, a crossroad, a place to let yourself go and simply absorb it uniqueness. This is Pushkar:


Lodhi Graffiti Art

“We love Delhi” by Lek & Sowat and Hanif Kureshi

“When Art Meets Urban Spaces”, is a palpable reality happening now at Lodhi Colony, though not by random. St + ART India Foundation is the responsible entity of bringing together over 28 street artist from India and around the world. 

For us who have circulated around the neighborhood before, with it’s characteristic boxy white houses, internal patios and wide streets, running into such an explosion of color and creativity is not only a real treat to the senses but an scape from the traditional Delhi vibe.

Street Art characterizes itself for it’s playful way of combining a message, many times about social content, with its very own artistic form, which in this case ranges from graffiti, murals, to more sculptural concepts like the one below by Daku, named: “Time Changes Everything”…..and it changes the way we see his messages on the wall through out the day.

Artist: Daku. Delhi, India

“We Love Delhi”,  comes to life next to a group of young passerby that happily posed for my camera. In this case, the graffiti is a collaboration between the french artists Lek & Sowat and the indian artist Hanif Kureshi.

One thing we can all agree about Delhi is that it’s vibrant! There is always something happening in every corner which makes it a photography paradise. Just as I was admiring Blaise graffiti (above), I spotted this gorgeous pug being walked, and as a pug fan, I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures, as the vibrant background perfectly reflected her personality. 

Shekhawati painting by Mahendra Pawar

Graffitis adorning streets or people adorning graffitis as it becomes in a photograph, truth is, urban spaces wouldn’t exist without either. The melodies of a musician, laughs of children playing, smell of a chai enjoyed by those resting under the shade of a tree, all form a melange of stimulus to the senses.

” Billowing Faces” by Inkbrushnme (India)

By Kafeel

“How is Global Warming” by Gaia (USA)

“Heart Rules over Head” by Senkoe (Mexico)

“Lava Tree” by anpuvarkey

By Harsh Raman

“Padma” by Chifumi (French)

“As Colorful as a Butterfly” by Blaise (India)


Shadipur Puppet Colony

On an early Sunday morning, I headed to Shadipur colony in Delhi along with a group of photography enthusiasts. The entrance to the colony, near Shadier Metro Station resembled many other colonies we have ventured to, only to quickly prove it was not.

Shadipur was half awake by the time we arrived; people cleaning up, tea being brewed and a crowd of kids welcomed us. There is essentially one main street and narrow corridors that turn into a rather large but compacted residencial area. As we walked further in, their daily lives revealed to us. Most doors were open giving us a sneak pick of their private lives; mainly, one-space houses with mattresses laying on the floor, pots, pans and buckets of different sizes. Images of Ganesh, Durga and other goods and goddesses were a common sight.

I could go on into the details but I let my pictures speak for themselves. Like many other places in India, despite their precarious way of living (no connection to sewage system or fresh water supply), I found a lively community of happy people that would welcome us with a smile and a non-stop request for: “Mam, picture!” from the youngsters.

A few of the puppet makers opened their doors to show us their hand made puppets: different characters from India in their regional outfits. Most of the puppets were sold as matching outfits couples, which I imagined were part of a larger ensamble.

Down the road, we ran into a happy story teller, and soon, a sort of signing and theatrical performance would follow us around despite some of us not being able to understand a word. Still, it was impossible not to smile at the contagious laughs of Shadipur residents. 

As the heat pressed in, I left with a sense of thankfulness/happiness/sadness all mixed in one and with a great desire to share Shadipur’s inner lives with all of you.

On an early Sunday morning, I headed to Shadipur colony in Delhi along with a group of photography enthusiasts. The entrance to the colony, near Shadier Metro Station resembled many other colonies we have ventured to, only to quickly prove it was not.

Shadipur was half awake by the time we arrived; people cleaning up, tea being brewed and a crowd of kids welcomed us. There is basically one main street and narrow corridors that deep into a rather large but compacted residencial area. As we walked further in, their daily lives revealed to us. Most doors were open giving us a sneak pick of their private lives; mainly, one-space houses with mattresses laying on the floor, pots, pans and buckets of different sizes. Images of Ganesh, Durga and other goods and goddesses were a common sight.

I could go on into the details but I let my pictures speak for themselves. Like many other places in India, despite their precarious way of living (no connection to sewage system or fresh water supply), I found a lively community of happy people that would welcome us with a smile and a non-stop request for: “Mam, picture!” from the youngsters.

A few of the puppet makers opened their doors to show us their hand made puppets: different characters from India in their regional outfits. Most of the puppets were sold as matching outfits couples, which I imagined were part of a larger ensamble.

Down the lines, we ran into a happy story teller, an soon, a sort of signing and theatrical performance would follow us around despite some of us not being able to understand a word. Still, it was impossible not to smile at  the contagious laughs of Shadipur residents. 

As the heat pressed in, I left with a sense of thankfulness-happiness-sadness all mixed in one and with a great desire to share Shadipur’s inner lives with all of you.

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