As the early morning light of 31st October rose over the sand dunes of holy town, Pushkar, the smells of camel feed along with the sounds of belching camels filled the air and embarked the beginning of the Pushkar Fair. The camel and horse traders huddled near the embers of small fires with cups of camel milk chai (tea) in the hands to discuss their plans for the fair while the droves of tourist cars and backpackers started pouring into town. With melding of innumerable hues of color and serene views and raw sounds, the festival took off its 7 day long mesmerizing journey with a flag host followed by a sequel of bustling activities.
Though the woman in rural Rajasthan sits in the confines of her home but the creativity in her hand is truly exceptional, which left many awe struck during the Mandana Competition. The designs, fine lines and beauty of Mandna revealed the unexplored talent of Rajasthan.
Adding to the liveliness of the fair, many tourists were seen in dressed colorful traditional attires with their own personalized twist which reflected their free spirits and energy for not only witnessing the celebration but begin a part of it.
A frenzied burst of activities like football match, Kabaddi match and Wrestling between the tourists and locals heightened the excitement and energy level among the participants and those who cheered their own respective teams.
Everyone has their own distinct & unique personal style to get dressed, true to its meaning some camels were adorned with glittery fabrics with silver bells and beautiful jewellery like mori, tang, mod, payal and ghooghra. While some had intricate motifs etched around their necks and heads in order to win the camel decoration competitions.
From beads, brass utensils, silver jewellery, colorful bangles to leather goods, unique embroidery clothes and exclusive handicrafts the colorful bazaars of Pushkar and Shilpgram situated at the RTDC tourist village had a lot to offer to the Shopaholics visiting the fair.
Other fun filled completions like Mataka Phod, musical chair race, Mataka Race,Turban tying and tilak completion ended a burst of amplified laughter and cheers. The tourists participated in each activity with a great gaiety and in full spirit.
The movement of the crowd during the spiritual walk was like a tide of color with currents of saffron and yellow creating a colorful and heavenly ambiance.
Exploring the beauty of coloufully drenched Pushkar at a bird’s eye view was serene and thrilling. Soaring through the air in a hot air balloon gives you a sense of exhilaration and peacefulness which just not possible with your feet on the ground!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The vivid facial expression captured depict the true emotions of the people, making a natural communication that doesn’t require words.
The spectacular cultural evenings are worth witnessing as when the cold November nights at the Pushkar sand dunes are lit up by the lurid campfires, the Sufi music and folk performances cast a magical spell. Swing to the sounds of high pitched musical instruments which echo in the vast expanse of the tranquil Thar Desert as the folk singers sing the songs that majestically narrate the tales of folk heroes, legendary lovers and their tragedies.
When you witness religious rites being performed during the Maha Aarti at the Pushkar Sarovar with such high reverence and respect, you can feel a humbling of the soul. The sight of the temple priest moving the lamp in a synchronizing manner to the rhythmic chants of hymns and the clang of cymbals during the Maha Aarti is truly a breathtaking experience.
The auspicious day of kartik Purnima marked the ending of the fair, innumerable devotees offered prayers and took a holy dip in the sacred water of Pushkar Sarovar and also a closing and prize distribution ceremony was organized at the Pushkar mela ground. Though this 7 day journey came to an end but everyone carried along unforgettable memories of a rising sun that bathes people before they have taken a dip, filling of colours in the yawning lazy streets and enchanting views of Maha Aarti that will always warm up their souls.
Photo credits : Rajasthan fairs and festivals and Department of Tourism Rajasthan