The extraordinary Magic of the Pushkar Camel Fair

The extraordinary Magic of the Pushkar Camel Fair

Raika Cameleers minding the young camels

Memories of a dawning of a new day

Rain during the night has brought a crispness and freshness to the air. The rain had the effect of settling the dust of the previous day as the camel cart trundles along in the pre dawn morning. From the looks of it many in the camp had an uncomfortable wet night . My trousers are damp from the the soggy cushions of the camel cart. So glad that the waiters brought my cup of chai this morning before I left the tented camp.

Glorious camel cart

The Camp Awakens

In the camel camp people awaken , woollen shawls tucked round their shoulders keeping the morning chill at bay. The scent of smoke drifts in the air from smoldering Camp fires. The flicker of flames flare as people set pots to boil on the camp fires for chai. The light of the flames glints of the gold earrings of the Raika cameleers as they squat around the camp fire warming themselves.

Rituals Begin

The ritual of feeding and watering of camels and horses begins. Many hurry to bargain and purchase their quota of feed for the day.

The sounds of Chanting and bells fill the air from the temple on the mountain. Camel carts are prepared for the days work of carting humans thru the grounds.

Camel Carts preparing for the day

The Art of Bargaining

The art of bargaining for camels and horses between buyers and sellers commence. An intricate dance of words and intrigue so that all players are satisfied at the completion of the transaction.

Stone carvings, touts and snake charmers.

Touts , bangle sellers, snake charmers and musicians make an appearance ready to pounce upon the unexpected tourist.
I stand by the side of the dusty road chatting to my friend Adrith the stone carver tout . We are joined by the bangle seller and snake charmer. I warily glance at the snake basket. Immense relief courses thru me that the lid is firmly shut and the horrid cobra is hopefully incapacitated by the chill of the morning.
Tourists glance curiously at me, probably thinking I am about to begin my touting for the day.

Adrith asks “Are you going to buy the stone carving” .
I reply ” I am not worthy to buy such a magnificent piece of workmanship “. Meaning even though it’s very beautiful I am not paying 300 US dollars for a soapstone buffalo.

” Oh please ” Adrith says .
I said jokingly ” I have little money on me. Ask the bangle seller if he will lend me some rupees”
A flurry of Hindi fly’s back and forth.
Adrith says ” Ok, the bangle seller has had a good few days and is happy to lend you the rupees”

I say “Thank him kindly for his offer but no! Listen I have 200 rupees on me and I want to buy the horse halter “

Adrith looks at me in horror and says “show me which one”. I show him a picture on my phone.
Adrith says ” Give me the money I will buy it you will only be ripped off” .
I pass Adrith the rupees and he strides off into the early morning crowd to purchase the halter. Well that’s the kettle calling the pot black!
I feel at the moment like a character in Rudyard Kiplings book ” Kim “

Raika Camel men

It is mid morning as the herd of young unruly camels stride down the road thru the fair grounds. They are focused on following the lead camel who is right behind the Raika cameleer.
The cameleer with his long elegant stride seems to float across the ground. His bright turban is colourful against his gleaming white outfit. Gold earring in one ear , a small white bag with his possessions slung over one arm.

Fellow Cameleers box in the young camels on each side knowing full well that one fright could make them stampede thru the camp and cause mayhem. They will have walked for hundreds of kilometres thru the Thar Desert to come to the fair. Their arrival is noted and crowds line both sides of the road. Which in fact I think it is a little trusting with these unruly youthful camels.

Evening falls

The soft pink glow of evening settles over the Pushkar camp. Many campfires twinkle in the lowering dusk. The camel men feed and water the camels. The trading of camels and Marwari horses comes to a halt. The frantic mania of the day subsides . Locals return home, touts, beggars and rabble of musicians and bangle sellers all disappear into the night. Most definitely in preparation for the next days perpetual annoyance of tourists. Their quest is in hope of fleecing a few rupees from their unwary targets.

Did I or did I not

Yes for those who are wondering, In fact I did end up buying from Adrith. Not his newly carved soap stone buffalo.I purchased a gorgeous very old intricate carved bowl which he was disparaging about. In such an old culture you sometimes forget that old is more precious then new. Adrith did say next time he hopes I will have saved my rupees for the buffalo.

My bowl from Adrith the stone carver tout.

In fact, Adrith did return with a very nice horse halter, better than the one in the photo I showed him. Kindness and honesty in all forms.

The Magic

This is the magic of experiencing the Pushkar Camel Fair.
It is a ten day affair beginning with the trading of camels and horses. Followed by the fair ground attractions and ending with the sacred religious element centered around the Pushkar holy lake.
Well worth the experience.
I can highly recommend Vijayant from Hand Crafted Tours to arrange an unforgettable experience.

Contact details are below:
#handcraftedtours or [email protected]

  • Jo Hogg
    Posted at 17:32h, 26 May Reply

    A spellbinding story and beautiful photos. I loved it and will re-read it from time to time.

    • intrica1
      Posted at 19:29h, 26 May Reply

      Am so glad you enjoyed the blog.

  • Sue Giddins
    Posted at 21:51h, 26 May Reply

    Len and I loved the story and the photos also. Your photography is awesome Sharyn. It makes us feel like we were there also. Truly wonderful

    • intrica1
      Posted at 08:26h, 27 May Reply

      So glad you both enjoyed the story.

  • Sonia Murr
    Posted at 20:26h, 27 May Reply

    Always breath taking.
    Leaves me with wanting and desire, for a wonderful holiday abroad.
    Keep posting your stories Sharyn, it takes me away from day to day mundane working life.
    Thank you

    • intrica1
      Posted at 15:44h, 28 May Reply

      Am so glad Sonia that you are enjoying the posts.

  • Luba Bradford
    Posted at 22:06h, 03 June Reply

    Your writing is authentic, heartfelt and interesting. I love reading about your adventures and the humility and respect you show everyone is priceless.

    • intrica1
      Posted at 17:38h, 09 June Reply

      Hi Luba,
      Thank you, am so happy that you enjoyed the blog.

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