A five-day long festival celebrated in the small town of Pushkar
in Rajasthan, Pushkar Fair is one of the most popular and unique fairs of the Thar Desert. Held in October or November every year (in the Hindu moth of Kartik), Pushkar Fair is also the largest cattle and camel fair
in the world. It is believed that over 25,000 camels are traded annually during the fair. Interesting rituals and contests of the fair include camel race, camel dance, camel acrobatics, and camel beauty contests. The thoroughly scrubbed and washed camels are adorned with silver threads, beads, embroidered saddlecloths and body paints. Piercing of camel's noses is attention grabbing, as is the boisterous display of colorful attires and tinkling jewellery of Rajasthani people.
Pushkar is 11 km west of Ajmer
. Mythological legends state that once Lord Brahma – the Creator of the Universe was in search of a suitable yajna site for himself. He mounted his swan and flew all over the world, throwing petals of lotus flower in his hand. The petals landed at Pushkar and holy Pushkar lake sprang up here. Hindus still believe that it is necessary to take a holy dip in the Pushkar Lake after Char Dhaam Yatra (pilgrimage to Four Holy Sites) to attain salvation. Brahma chose Pushkar for his yajna and called for his wife Savitri to hurry to the place. But Savitri took her own sweet time to make a grand visit there. Afraid that auspicious time will be over, Brahma chose a milkmaid with pure traits nearby, purified her, married her quickly, and completed his yajna with her. When Savitri arrived, she was furious to find another lady in her place and cursed Brahma that he will only be worshipped at Pushkar for eternity.
It is believed that during five days of Pushkar Fair, all the gods and demi-gods visit the place and bless the devotees who bathe in Pushkar Lake and pray on Brahma’s Temple. There are over 400 temples in the religious town of Pushkar that come to life during the fair. Rajasthan folk performances including Kalbeliya and Ghoomar dances, haunting music of desert songs, puppet shows, and acrobatics are pretty sights for tourists. Competitions held here are not less interesting. Mr. Desert Contest where men display their beards and moustaches in fantastic shapes and varying sizes; turban tying contest that offers excellent click-able moments; and henna and bridal competitions are some of the most engaging competitions here. The fair ends on the full moon night at Sam Sand Dunes, where internationally renowned performers entertain tourists, pilgrims and visitors.