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A weekend with the camels Exploring Rajasthan’s most famous livestock festival – The Pushkar Mela

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A weekend with the camels Exploring Rajasthan’s most famous livestock festival – The Pushkar Mela

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One of our most memorable travel experiences was a weekend spent at the peculiar and beguiling Pushkar Camel Fair, known locally as Kartik Mela. The tiny, normally sleepy, desert town of Pushkar, located 145 kilometres from Jaipur in India’s northwest, transforms into a massive, multi-day livestock exhibition, trading fair and carnival in the sand for five days each year.

Thousands of camels, horses, cattle and their accompanying traders descend onto this Rajasthani village making it one of the largest animal trading fairs of its kind. In recent years, it’s also become a significant tourist attraction which has led to the arrival of carnival games and oddities, hawkers and hippies. The rise of Pushkar as a tourist destination has, though, led to a reduction of the number of camels traded from historic peak numbers at well over 30,000 to an estimated 10,000 traded in recent years. And, the real trading of livestock is happening in the days prior and first few days of the event. Regardless, it seemed to be such an epic gathering and captivating experience that I felt sure we must go see it.

It took only a little convincing on my part to get my two sons on board with this adventure. Animals. Check! Camping. Check! A best pal and his Mum to join the trip. Check! My husband was a bit more skeptical. Aren’t camels smelly? Aren’t they known to spit? Don’t we see enough camels in Delhi during the Republic Day Parade? The boys and I decided not to let his skepticism dampen our enthusiasm. With that, we decided to make a Mums and boys adventure trip of the weekend. The timing was right age-wise to take my two sons, aged 9 and 7 at that point, on this expedition. A dear friend and her 7 year old son teamed up with us and we made a small group of it. It would be the boys first camping experience.

We took a short flight from Delhi to Jaipur, India’s Pink City, and made the three-hour drive by car to Ajmer, one of Rajasthan’s oldest cities, and then onto Pushkar. The picturesque Aravalli Mountain range created a dramatic backdrop in the distance. The landscape as we pushed on becoming scraggier with little vegetation underscoring this region rests on the edge of the Thar Desert. We saw the famous Brahma Temple in Ajmer and Pushkar Lake, an artificial lake created in the 12th century important for religious pilgrimages, along the way. By the time we reached our destination we were happy to have made a provision stop at the onset at the Big Bazaar hypermarket, India’s version of Tesco Lotus just outside of Jaipur, to stock up on provisions. It turned out to be fortuitous. We were grateful to have the extra food, water, SPF and hand sanitisers in the days ahead.

Read more at https://expatlifeinthailand.com/travel-and-leisure/a-weekend-with-the-camels-exploring-rajasthans-most-famous-livestock-festival-the-pushkar-mela/

Source: Expat Life Thailand

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