Camels at Puskhar Fair (Supplied: Transindus)
Article 01 November

A quick guide to Pushkar Fair, India

Pushkar Fair is your chance to see Rajasthan at its colourful, chaotic, camel-trading best. Intrigued? India specialist Vasu Bhardwaj from Transindus gives us the lowdown...

What exactly is Pushkar Fair?

Pushkar Fair is an annual cattle fair where cattle owners – mostly from northern India – come to trade. Being in Rajasthan, camels are of course the highlight, but other animals like horses, cows and sheep are also traded. While the men are busy trading cattle, the women of the house head out to buy jewellery, textiles and other things from local markets.

The fair lasts for seven or eight days, with the last few days popular with pilgrims who come to worship and take a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake.

Around 200,000 people visit Pushkar Fair (plus tourists) and the number of cattle is in the region of 500,000!

Why should travellers visit the fair?

The fair is a great opportunity to experience such an enormous Indian festival, and to see the fascinating mix of rural culture and religious pilgrimage.

It’s also a great place for anyone keen on photography – everywhere you turn there is a sight worth capturing.

Camels at Puskhar Fair (Supplied: Transindus)
Camels at Puskhar Fair (Supplied: Transindus)

Are there any side attractions that visitors should see?

Highlights of the fair include a longest moustache competition, camel show, and a camel beauty pageant. Other activities you might see are milking competitions, Kabbadi matches (a type of contact sport), tug-of-war and camel and horse dancing!

Is it a big culture shock? Is it safe?

The fair is safe, and there will be government security present. But because of the huge crowds, and to see the best of the show, it’s best to have a good guide with you.

Camels at Puskhar Fair (Supplied: Transindus)
Camels at Puskhar Fair (Supplied: Transindus)

How much time should travellers allow for the fair?

Tourists normally visit the fair for a couple of hours in the morning or the evening, but you could spend a whole day there if you wanted – there’s plenty to see and photograph.

We've heard that camel trading could be under threat, because camels are no longer needed – is that true?

The government supports camel breeding farms and are educating cattle owners on how to fight the issue of a falling camel population. We haven’t heard of the fair closing down.