This post is part of a series called Rajasthan - Kutch Nov 2018
Show More Posts

Nov, 2019

On a recent business trip to India, we decide to take a trip and check out some parts of India we had not been to, and that looked interesting, as well as attend a Marwari wedding in Rajasthan.

First stop was Pushkar. We took an early morning flight from Mumbai to Jaipur, where we had arranged for a car and driver to pick us up and take us to Pushkar. We landed in Jaipur, and our driver was waiting for us. As we left the airport, I asked the driver to help us get a local SIM card. He informed us that for foreigners to get a SIM card, it would require going to one of few shops that cater to foreigners, and that they would not open till later.

So instead, he suggested that he would take us to a local shop, and get the SIM card using his own ID, for us. We agreed, and he took us to a really small hole in the wall shop, where he purchase for us a SIM card and service for Rs200; which would give us unlimited talk time for 1 month, and 1GB of data daily. This came to a grand total of $3.00 for us, for a whole month of service. And the carrier was Vodafone, a large international carrier. India is good 🙂

Important Information
India has the cheapest Data Consumption in the World thanks to Jio

We started driving from Jaipur to Pushkar, and I asked the driver to stop in Ajmer, which is on the way, in the Aravalli hills/mountains. Ajmer is famous for Ajmer Sharif Dargah, a shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a Sufi saint. The Mughal king Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot every year on pilgrimage from Agra in observance of a vow after Akbar had prayed here for a son (& eventually, his wife did conceive his son). We had been here several years earlier to visit the Dargah, and I wanted to take some pictures. Unfortunately, they did not allow camera’s inside the Dargah, and I was loathe to leave my camera with someone I did not know. So I took some pictures outside the very busy Dargah

Pushkar, Rajasthan Entrance gate to the very busy Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Entrance gate to the very busy Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Pushkar, Rajasthan Busy & colorful bazaar leading to the Dargah
Busy & colorful bazaar leading to the Dargah

We then drove off to Pushkar, where we were going to be staying for a few days to check out the annual Camel Fair. We wanted to be comfortable here, so we had booked at the Westin hotel, which was a short distance outside the town of Pushkar, on a dirt road. The Westin itself was very nice and well-kept property as expected, and extremely attentive staff that made the stay a most enjoyable one.

Pushkar is famous for the Lord Brahma temple, the only one in India, and has many ghats on Pushkar Lake, where pilgrims bathe to have their sins forgiven. The most famous event in Pushkar is the Pushkar Camel Fair, held once a year in November, where people come from all over India to buy and sell camels.

We were fortunate enough to be in Pushkar as the Camel Fair was starting. Camel fair is a misleading term, as there are many horses are also bought and sold here. The Camel Fair takes place over several days, and terminates with the annual pilgrimage of Hindu’s to Pushkar Lake and the Brahma Temple. We left before the annual pilgrimage started as it was supposed to get very busy.

Below are some images from Pushkar town

Pushkar, Rajasthan Pushkar Lake and Ghats
Pushkar Lake and Ghats; devotees cleaning and bathing in the lake
Pushkar, Rajasthan Aarti ceremony at dusk, at a local temple on Lake Pushkar, not as impressive and large-scale like aarti ceremonies in Varanasi
Aarti ceremony at dusk, at a local temple on Lake Pushkar, not as impressive and large-scale like aarti ceremonies in Varanasi
Pushkar, Rajasthan Sunset over Lake Pushkar. Note the Savitri temple on the hilltop. Goddess Savitri was the wife of Lord Brahma
Sunset over Lake Pushkar. Note the Savitri temple on the hilltop. Goddess Savitri was the wife of Lord Brahma
Pushkar, Rajasthan Interesting lights over a bridge on Pushkar Lake
Interesting lights over a bridge on Pushkar Lake
Pushkar, Rajasthan Busy entrance to the Brahma Temple during the day. The temple was very simple, small, and no photographs allowed inside
Busy entrance to the Brahma Temple during the day. The temple was very simple, small, and no photographs allowed inside

The Camel Fair, being over several days means that as camels (& horses) are sold, other camel / horse traders come in sell their animals. So there are always hundreds of animals here, with their owners. So the place is busy, bustling, and active with supporting trade like horse and camel paraphernalia, household good, fresh fruits and vegetables etc being sold, food stalls, entertainment, etc. Below are some scenes from the Fair

Pushkar, Rajasthan A typical village camp with the families in makeshift tents, and their camels for sale around them
A typical village camp with the families in makeshift tents, and their camels for sale around them
Pushkar, Rajasthan Adorned camels for sale
Adorned camels for sale
Pushkar, Rajasthan Camels and owners
Camels and owners
Pushkar, Rajasthan Passing the time smoking, while waiting for buyers for their camels
Passing the time smoking, while waiting for buyers for their camels
Pushkar, Rajasthan Or fixing things while waiting
Or fixing things while waiting
Pushkar, Rajasthan Young lady was cutting and preparing vegetables for a meal at their camp. Note how she uses the knife held with her feet
Young lady was cutting and preparing vegetables for a meal at their camp. Note how she uses the knife held with her feet
Pushkar, Rajasthan More camels and owners whiling the time. Love their turbans
More camels and owners whiling the time. Love their turbans
Pushkar, Rajasthan Making baajra roti’s on a campfire behind the yellow flour bag
Making baajra roti’s on a campfire behind the yellow flour bag
Pushkar, Rajasthan Is she sealing a deal on a camel?
Is she sealing a deal on a camel?
Pushkar, Rajasthan Counting the cash after the camel purchase is agreed upon
Counting the cash after the camel purchase is agreed upon
Pushkar, Rajasthan Rajasthani tribal women
Rajasthani tribal women
Pushkar, Rajasthan Prize horses being shown off; complete with sun protection canopy
Prize horses being shown off; complete with sun protection canopy
Pushkar, Rajasthan And many more horses for sale
And many more horses for sale

The area around the fair was the site of many makeshift shops and stalls selling everything from household good, to camel & horse paraphernalia, fruits, vegetables, footstalls etc; to supply the demand from the many people who come to the Camel Fair

Pushkar, Rajasthan Food stall, with ladies making the typical Baati wheat balls, and baajra roti
Food stall, with ladies making the typical Baati wheat balls (bottom right), and baajra roti
Pushkar, Rajasthan Lots of makeshift shops selling colorful paraphernalia for camels and horses
Lots of makeshift shops selling colorful paraphernalia for camels and horses
Pushkar, Rajasthan Interesting fruit that grows in water, is peeled and has nutritious white seeds inside that are eaten. Anyone know the name of this fruit?
Interesting fruit that grows in water, is peeled and has nutritious white seeds inside that are eaten. Anyone know the name of this fruit?
Pushkar, Rajasthan Local women people watching; note how many women cover their faces with their shawls to prevent the evil eye
Local women people watching, after the day’s chores are done; note how many women cover their faces with their shawls to prevent the evil eye
Pushkar, Rajasthan Lots of vegetable stalls
Lots of vegetable stalls
Pushkar, Rajasthan As well as fruit stalls
As well as fruit stalls
Pushkar, Rajasthan This family made plastic flower bouquets to adorn camels and horses with. The kids were having a great time
These kids were having a great time. The family made plastic flower bouquets for sale to adorn camels and horses with.
Pushkar, Rajasthan Traditionally adorned recently married woman; very colorful
Traditionally adorned recently married tribal woman; very colorful
Pushkar, Rajasthan Tribal woman with her baby; interesting way to carry a baby around
Tribal woman with her baby; interesting way to carry a baby around

We took a cable car up to the Savitri Temple (Savitri was the wife of Lord Brahma); which was on a hilltop overlooking Pushkar. You can also walk to this using the step pathway, but we took the lazy way up. We had great views from here of Pushkar, before sunset

Pushkar, Rajasthan Great view of Pushkar Lake and town, as well as the Aravalli hills
Great view of Pushkar Lake and town, as well as the Aravalli hills
Pushkar, Rajasthan View of one part of the area set aside for the Camel Fair trading
View of one part of the area set aside for the Camel Fair trading
Pushkar, Rajasthan View of the horse section of the Camel Fair; note that the horses had more shade from the hot sun than the camels
View of the horse section of the Camel Fair; note that the horses had more shade from the hot sun than the camels
Pushkar, Rajasthan This family adopted us at the Savitri temple
This family adopted us at the Savitri temple
Pushkar, Rajasthan Night view of the lighted pathway down from the Savitri temple, as well as Pushkar Lake and town
Night view of the lighted pathway down from the Savitri temple, as well as Pushkar Lake and town

Dinners were at the Westin; we decided to play it safe, at least in the beginning, by eating at our hotel. We stuck to vegetarian dishes

Pushkar, Rajasthan Vegetarian dinner at the Westin, Rajasthani dishes
Vegetarian dinner at the Westin, Rajasthani dishes

We then left the Camel Fair as it was coming to an end, and before the pilgrimage started.

Some thoughts on Pushkar, Camel Fair etc:

First, the Westin hotel was very nice, and was not expensive; we paid $80 per night. Breakfast was included and dinner cost us about $25 for two of us. Well worth staying here as the staff go out of their way to make the guests feel good, and the property is excellent, with all the amenities.

The Fair is large and colorful, but when you think of these hundreds of camels and horses having to relieve themselves, you can get an idea. Also, there were no public toilet facilities I could see, and I did see people going off into the bushes to relieve themselves. No sure how hygienic all this is, but it is what it is. Definitely worth seeing this spectacle once. Another bucket list item checked off 🙂

We then drove off to Bikaner, Rajasthan, to attend Ankit & Palak’s wedding.

Pushkar, Rajasthan Young ladies off to school with grandma, complete with school uniform, backpack, and a bag of chips
Young ladies off to school with grandma, complete with school uniform, backpack, and a bag of chips

Karni Mata, Bikaner next