Every year on the occasion of Karthik Purnima, a fabulous 10 days fair - "Pushkar Fair" is held in the enchanting desert town of Pushkar. The fair is organized by the Government of Rajasthan and attracts the owners of camels, horses, cows, goats and sheep who come with their herds for trading.
Apart from trading in animals, particularly camels, the Pushkar Fair is also an occasion for celebration for the thousands of men, women and children who come from all the nooks and corners of Rajasthan to have a jolly good time. Men are conspicuous by their colorful turbans while the women folks are dressed to kill with their colorful ankle-length skirts and bejeweled from head to toe with traditional Rajasthani necklaces, waist bands, anklets and exotic ivory bangles.
The riot of colors is in sharp contrast to the desolate desert landscape. During the Pushkar Fair, the city of Pushkar becomes an open-air amphitheatre show casing the age-old culture and tradition of the simple village folks and the nomadic tribes of Rajasthan.
The first five days are exclusively meant for animal trading. The negotiations between the buyer and seller is a fascinating sight, whereby the seller rather skillfully enumerates the merits and intrinsic worth of the camel in question.
With the passage of time as the pace of trading slows down, and its time for celebration with the quintessential Camel Race being the piece de resistance. For the first time visitor, Pushkar Fair is like a fairy tale spectacle and the manner in which the camels are dressed up with colorful saddles, beads and cowries, it seems that in Rajasthan the Camels are style conscious. Prior to the camel race they are geared in all their finery and to make a fashion statement they are even applied with aromatic sweet scented perfumes.
As the D-day dawns (Karthik Poornima), there is a mad scramble at the bathing ghats for the ritual bathing in the holy waters of Lake Pushkar which is believed to cleanse oneself of all the sins. The waters of Lake Pushkar are also believed to rid the bather of skin ailments. Bathing over, its time for offering prayers and paying obeisance to the one and only - Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe.
In the evening as dusk descends on Pushkar, thousands of butter lamps are lighted atop delicate leaf boats, which are released in the tranquil waters of Lake Pushkar. The sight of thousands of flickering butter lamps makes for a truly ethereal sight and with it ends one of the world's most fascinating desert festivals.
As one wakes up early in the morning to the tinkle of the temple bells, hundreds of camels are seen marching along with their newfound masters to their new abode.
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