Rajasthan is known for its vibrant colours, festivals, culture and fairs that showcase the rich heritage of the place. Throughout the year, Rajasthan celebrates several fairs that brighten up what is an otherwise dreary and hard life for the village folk in this desert region.
Pushkar festival is among the most colourful and popular fairs in the Thar desert, which starts on 23rd October and goes on till 4th November this year. If you’re planning to head to Pushkar this year, we highly recommend booking a Jaipur to Pushkar taxi. The fair coincides with the brighter half of the moon ending with the full moon day. Folklore has it that the festival is celebrated as an obeisance to Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe, according to Hindu mythology.
The Pushkar festival is celebrated around the Pushkar Lake which is about 11 kilometres away from Ajmer. Pushkar is surrounded on all three sides by hills, and the fourth side has sand dunes. Thus, Pushkar is a fascinating location with a befitting backdrop for the annual fairs. Colourful veils of women and equally colourful turbaned headgear of men bring this arid desert space to life. For the duration of the festival, village women dress in their finest clothes.
There are about 400 temples surrounding the Pushkar Lake and 52 ghats bind this lake. During the festival days, this lake which remains tranquil otherwise gets engulfed in religious fervour. Several thousand devotees congregate at the lake and take a dip in it. Sadhus and saints descend from the Himalayas, and everyone prays to attain salvation in the midst of chanting of verses from Holy scriptures that fill the air. During the afternoons, people assemble around the stadium where horses, camels and, cows are paraded. Camels are also traded here during the fair.
Trading in livestock is, in fact, a major part of the fair itself and camels traded in large batches take centre stage. The large crowds during the fair make it difficult to drive any automobile, so walking or using a camel becomes the only option available to visitors. On a conservative estimate, about 25,000 camels are traded here during the fair. Visitors should also remember that this is a religious fair and hence non-vegetarian food, as well as alcohol, is strictly prohibited all around the town and neighbourhood. If you’re planning to drive down from Delhi just for the festival, we suggest you book a cab from Delhi to Pushkar.
For Hindus across the world, Pushkar is a unique destination because there is no other temple for Lord Brahma anywhere in India. According to legends, Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor who was also a devout Muslim had little tolerance for other faiths and religions. Once during his reign, he headed to Pushkar with the idea of getting all the temples demolished. On arriving there, he went to wash his face in the Pushkar Lake, and his reflection in the waters startled him. What he saw in the water was the haggard face of an old man. He saw it as a bad omen and gave up the thought of demolishing the temples and returned to Delhi which was his capital.
The nearest airport is Sanganer airport in Jaipur located at a distance of 146 km. Ajmer railway station which is well-connected with other parts of the country is situated barely 11 km from Pushkar. Connecting trains to Pushkar from Ajmer are available. Pushkar is also connected to other major cities via the highways of Rajasthan. You can hire a private taxi after arriving at any major city such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, etc.
Planning on exploring more of Rajasthan after your trip to Pushkar? Here’s a complete guide of what to do in Jaisalmer.