In around November each year, a small town in India comes alive with explosions of color, song and dance as people come all the way to celebrate the exuberant Pushkar Camel Fair.
What is Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar Camel Fair (Pushkar Fair or Pushkar Mela) is a fascinating annual five-day festival held in a holy town of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan, India. The initial intention behind the festival was to draw local livestock traders to do business during the Hindu month of Kartik, which begins with the new moon in November. Being the only one of its kind in the entire world, Pushkar Camel Fair has two components: the livestock trading, where thousands of camels, cows, sheep and huge crowds congregate; and the flamboyant carnival after the first five days. Today, the fair takes center stage and has become a popular festival with locals and travelers, who come all the way for a week of immense sights and culture that seem only possible in India.Camels are dressed up to attract buyers and win competitions.
When is Pushkar Camel Fair celebrated
Pushkar Camel Fair usually falls at some date in the October/November time frame, depending on the Hindu calendar of the year. Oftentimes it lasts longer than five days.
In 2019, Pushkar Camel Fair is during November 4 - November 12.
In 2020, Pushkar Camel Fair is during November 22- November 30.
How is Pushkar Camel Fair celebrated
- Everything about camels (in full swing on the initial five days)
Over 20,000 shaved and dolled-up camels from throughout Rajasthan are all over the place, doing camel races (great chance to see the animal moving at top speed), participating in amusing camel beauty contests or ready to give visitors a relaxing riding tour. There is an eye-opening competition that tests how the camel is able to bring items. Moreover, it’d be interesting to watch the bargaining skills with which local cameleers deal trade, if you are fortunate to have a private tour guide around for translation and assistance.
Camel herders arrived at the fair ground.
- Longest moustache contest and bridal competition (after the 5th day)
The unbelievable annual longest moustache contest comes with Pushkar Camel Fair, while men showing off their stylish facial hair, some of which are revealed to be meters long and require curling against the face. The bridal competition is where young foreign women decorated in contemporary or traditional Indian bridal dresses to outdo each other and compete for the most beautiful brides to be.
- Pilgrimage in Lake Pushkar & at Brahma Temple (the final day)
Surrounded by 52 bathing ghats, Lake Pushkar is the heart of this small town as a pilgrimage center. By the end of Pushkar Camel Fair comes a holy day called Kartik Purnima celebrated on the full moon day. It is when countless Hindu faithful dressed in colorful attire, from far or near, bathe in the sanctified Lake Pushkar at dawn to wash away the deadliest sins before they visit the only Brahma Temple (devoted to god of creation) in the world to receive blessings.
- Other traditional entertainment (throughout the fair)
Pushkar Camel Fair has a myriad of other events on offer in the festival ground: vibrant folk music, dances, acrobatics, fortune telling, feasting, an exhibition cricket match that invites foreign visitors to challenge the local Pushkar club, etc.. Stalls are set up selling trinkets, jewelry, apparels, carpets plus a wide selection of items from gaudy livestock tassels to vintage gypsy accessories.
Indian girls in traditional colored clothes for the start of a traditional dance presentation.
Transport to Pushkar
The most comfortable transport to Pushkar would be flight to Jaipur International Airport, the closest airport from Pushkar at distance of a 3-hour drive by vehicle. Note: Taxi fares can be up to 5 times the normal rate during the festival period. You might as well considering taking a private tour to enjoy more reasonable price.
The otherwise way to reach Pushkar is follow train routes linking Ajmer and Pushkar from Delhi via Jaipur.
Accommodation & when to book
Better notice that Pushkar is a small town that offers limited accommodation options, amongst which there are more budget rooms than midrange ones. Travelers can choose to stay anywhere between simple guest house, desert camp, heritage hotel and farm stay-some are equipped with a few midrange-priced rooms. During the fair, the great demand for a bed in Pushkar due to the influx of domestic and foreign visitors causes skyrocketing accommodation prices, and rooms run out very fast.
When it comes to organizing a decent place to stay during Pushkar Camel Fair, visitors have to book accommodation really early, advisably at least 10 months well ahead of time.
Pushkar Camel Fair is getting popular with world travelers
A few tips to better enjoy Pushkar Camel Fair
- If you prefer to see the animals rather than human, come a couple of days earlier before the full moon day and spend time walking around the desert. It’s a good time to watch the actual buying and selling, grooming of the camels, cattle, horses, goats, etc..
- Temperatures in October and November (the dry season) vary from 59°F (15°C) to 84°F (29°C) without rainfall. Stay hydrated, cover up the body to avoid the sand troubling you too much. A light jacket will come in handy to prepare the morning/evening chill.
- The fair made its name for endless colorful events. Normally it is not possible to stay till the end. Check the festival itinerary to find out what interests you most.
- Pushkar Camel Fair remains a religious Hindu festival, so dress conservatively and act with decorum, e.g., pointing at people with a finger is considered rude.
- For the cuisine, alcohol is strictly prohibited and vegetarian fare is the only choice in Pushkar.
- A credit card would not work in the festival ground. Stuff your pocket with some rupees in case you feel like being anything. A few ATM machines are available in town.
- When taking photographs & making arts, you have to compete with stock photo agencies photographers, media personnel and artists since Pushkar Camel Fair attracts not only ordinary travelers. Make sure to get permission when taking close-up pictures of people and their animals. Sometimes your subject asks money for taking his portrait but not if you have the company of an Indian tour guide.
Behold! The gentle-looking camels are notorious of biting, kicking and spiting things close to them.
- It gets very crowded during the fair-keep a close eye on your belongings and stay on your guard. Don’t carry excessive cash, avoid falling into tourist traps. Again, a local guide is indispensable if you want to feel secure.
Share or bookmark this page for your future use (I know you’re ready to do something)! Other not-to-miss important Indian festivals, includingDiwali (Festival of Lights) and Holi Festivall, are what you may be interested in too.
In closing, just a kind reminder that Pushkar Camel Fair is NOT just about camels. When encountering the people, sound, smell, and religious happenings, be open and friendly, enjoy what the fair is for - I am sure you will go home with lots of precious pictures and stories!
If you wish to have more detail about this wonderful event or want to experience it with Odyssey, feel free to reach us directly at as we will be more than happy to help you arrange your visit.