A FAIRYTALE LAND FOR A TRAVELLER

My excitement was skyrocketed when I started to plan my trip to Pushkar. Since it was my first time to Pushkar, I wanted to be sure to not miss out anything of what Pushkar had to offer.

In order to reach Pushkar, the easiest way from Delhi is Shtabdi train which leaves early in the morning from Delhi and you can be at Ajmer by lunch hours. As I landed at the beautiful city of Ajmer, I was mesmerized with the beauty of it

and the unity between Hindu and Muslim community was a sight for a life. I was accompanied by a friend for this trip and we stopped at a small restaurant for the lunch so we could proceed to Pushkar from there. It was merely a 30-40 minutes ride from Ajmer but the scenic view caught my breath. The turns of the hills and beautiful lake side of Ana Sagar just boosted my enthusiasm for reaching Pushkar.

Once I reached at the valley, the air quality was so pure; it took me a moment to realize that I was no longer in Delhi. I quickly checked in to my hotel which was Sarovar Heritage. It is a palace constructed for Raja Maan Singh’s guest

during his ruling era at Ajmer and to my surprise; I got an upgraded room because I had decided to add one day extra in the trip at the last minute. With a beautiful yellow balcony, exceptional view of the lake, delightful view of an

old yet beautiful temple roof with pigeons and monkeys jumping around and a huge bed for me sleep but I decided to leave as soon as possible for Pushkar Fair Ground as I didn’t want to miss any time for my adventure.

As it was the duration of famous Pushkar Fair makes the place even more special. There were festivity all around, the roads were all filled with people and colorful shops, the air was miraculously cool in the evening and despite everything, I never really got tired. I had only a couple of days there and believe me, that’s much less than what you would want to spend there…perhaps a week would be a better idea. It would be a blissfully long and relaxing week, everyday would start late (unless of course a few, when you would want to go out for an early morning walk and enjoy the sunrise from a hill top or near the Pushkar lake), breakfast would be with a book on the terrace restaurant with small, broken conversations with your loved ones, shower would be delayed indefinitely or until you decide to actually leave to roam around, eat, shop till you drop and trust me the city will not disappoint you. I found shops open even past midnight and roads were filled with travellers like me. The place completely rocked for anyone with a camera – professionals, amateurs, wannabe photographers as well as non-photographers. It was tough to go wrong with the pictures, even if that was the intent! I clicked people, buildings, camels, lakes, temples, shops, monkeys, crows, sadhus and so on and so forth.

To give you brief details on how camel trade takes place in Pushkar, fair is organized every year in the month of November. This camel fair starts with trading of camels and horses. At the full moon of Kartik Poornima, the cattle and camels are decorated in colourful way. Various events like camel race, moustache competition, etc. are conducted. On the last day of the fair, holy bath is taken by the pilgrims and travellers across the world in the sacred Lake. It is

the first desert city of Thar. Thar Desert is the 18th largest desert region in the world. Pushkar desert safari attracts many. The Camel ride and cultural activities carried out over sand dunes are breathtaking. Over one million odd camels for a start with, the Pushkar Camel Fair has a unique character if its own. It’s extremely colourful with a whole lot of things going on, folk performances, camel races, dances, great food, art and photography, it all comes together here. While I was sitting next to camel herd, I have had views which will go all the way in my life’s journey. The sight of seeing the rich culture of Rajasthan is once a lifetime to experience during this festival. Attendees come from all across the Rajasthan for trade, for religious belief, it was all what one’s to experience in their own way

It started out as a local trade fair for local camel and other cattle owners, every year at the time of Kartik Purnima (the full moon in the month of Kartika in the Hindu lunar calendar) and over the years has become a big attraction for travellers. Camel trading, coupled with a bunch of religious rituals is still the premise of the whole affair and the trading is what draws most tourists. This is the earlier part of the festival, say the first week or so and then it becomes all about pilgrimage and taking a dip in the holy Pushkar lake.

Pushkar is also famous for Brahma Temple alongside of Pushkar Lake. Few will say that it is the only Bhrama Temple in India however there is few more Brahma Temple all across India however Pushkar one happens to be the oldest of them all. It is also believed that Brahma himself chose the location for his temple.The 8th century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara renovated this temple, while the current medieval structure dates to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam, who made additions and repairs, though the original temple design is retained. International Business Times has identified Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five sacred pilgrimage places for the Hindus, in India.

Pushkar fair is also known for its camel trade however also for bizarre out of the box competitions that are organized here. The longest moustache competition is one the world-famous competition where you can enjoy all those hunks of Rajasthan donning moustaches as long as a rope. Apart from this, there are a bride-groom contest, matka phod contest, tug-of-war, turban tying and this time there was a cricket match in Lagaan style.

Pushkar is a paradise for foodies. This was definitely my chance to savour the rich taste of Rajasthan and get familiar with their cuisine. The little stalls offering the scrumptious Rajasthani meals definitely got my taste buds going with their finger-licking dishes and guess what they are open till midnight so there was no way I could miss any of the savouries which Rajasthan had to offer.

The culture is undoubtedly the highlight of the Pushkar Fair. But apart from that, I got to witness the surreal beauty of Pushkar Rajasthan that definitely satisfied the traveller inside me. Trek Savitri temple and Tilla nearby to get a wonderful view of the whole fair. I could catch the beautiful landscape of sunrise and sunsets from this point. If one wants to add a religious dimension to this excursion, be a part of the religious event where people from all across India come to take a dip in the waters of Lake Pushkar to redeem ones!

Pushkar isn’t even a place; for the lack of better word, I would call Pushkar an experience. I regret not going there earlier. If you haven’t visited Pushkar yet, set out right now and if you have, well, then go there again because it gets better and better with each passing year.