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:

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