Traveling to Pushkar Mela, here are few things to keep in mind: Dharamveer Singh Chouhan, CEO & Co-founder, Zostel
Here is the quintessential list of things you need to keep in mind about the Mela to have the best travel experience when you visit Rajasthan this year. Read on.
No globetrotter worth their salt can miss out on visiting Rajasthan, the Land of Maharajas. Even for travellers within the country, Rajasthan holds an especial allure on the back of its fairy-tale forts, honey-hued palaces, kaleidoscopic festivals, and the flavourful smorgasbord of regional cuisines.
The place becomes even more inviting during the festive season. The Pushkar Mela – one of the oldest and most famous fairs in the world – is one such occasion. Here is the quintessential list of things you need to keep in mind about the Mela to have the best travel experience when you visit Rajasthan this year:
Brief historical background and Raison d'être
Pushkar Mela is celebrated annually on the full moon day of Kartik (October–November in the Hindu calendar). Lasting for a week, the festival attracts tourists from the world over. This year, it will be held between November 4 (Monday) and November 12 (Tuesday).
In line with the original purpose of trading livestock, the preparation for the fair includes the cleaning and washing of camels and horses. The exercise culminates in decorating them garishly with jewellery, vibrant clothing, and bead accessories.
Once upon a time, more than 50,000 camels used to be traded at the fair. While the number has toned down to 25,000 over the years on account of the increased commercialization, the opulence on display and the fervour with which the fair is celebrated have stayed the same.
Pushkar is one of the five holy cities for Hindus in India. Mythology reveals an interesting origin story of Pushkar Lake which also forms the crux of the festival’s significance. According to popular belief, all of the 33 crore gods came to give birth to Pushkar Sarovar on a Poornima night, so the lake is considered a very sacred place. Pilgrims consider the two days of Purnima as the holiest days of the year to visit the lake and take a bath in it. It is also the most auspicious time to visit the one and only Brahma temple in the country.
Experiences on offer
· Love at first taste
What’s a fair without stalls of scrumptious food being served in them? Quite in sync with the majesty of the entire affair, the stalls and eateries at the Mela provide a range of regional and international cuisines that will uplift your soul – and that’s no mean feast! To get a taste of Rajasthan – with which your taste buds will fall in love instantly and hopelessly – be sure to try malpua, dal bati choorma, and kachori. Seasoned food-enthusiasts make it a point to visit Pushkar for the purpose of trying some of the Israeli food which is also served at the fair.
· A kaleidoscopic view from the sky
If you’ve ever wondered how the confluence of colours would look from the sky then you can hop on in a hot air balloon to quench your curiosity. This activity will surely heighten your Mela experience.
· An unforgettable stay at Zostel Pushkar
Staying at a Zostel anywhere is fun. At Zostel Pushkar, your Mela experience is bound to become all the more exciting and memorable. The fair offers a different set of experiences to tourists during the daytime as compared to the night time. The local guide and volunteers at Zostel will ensure that you have the finest experience at the Mela by pointing you towards the best that the fair has to offer. Moreover, Zostel Pushkar is a backpackers’ hub, with an in-house swimming pool, pool table, a café, multiple hang out areas, and a terrace. It is close to Pushkar Lake and within walking distance from many popular cafes.
· Celebration of cultural idiosyncrasies
Other on-ground activities that will make your experience extra memorable include camel race, horse race, a host of cultural performances, exhibitions, magic shows, etc. A number of competitions such as the best moustache contest and bridal competition attract throngs of spectators every year.
· Camel and horse safari
The land of dunes and dances offers much more than cultural gigs such as folk music, dance, electrifying light & sound shows, etc. You can also ride a camel or a horse over the golden sand dunes of the Thar to have a fun, bumpy, and ultimately awe-inspiring experience.
· Bright bazaars
The fair is also popular for hosting beautiful handicrafts from various regions across India including Nagpur, Gujarat, etc. – in addition to the indigenous craftsmanship of Rajasthan. Artisans from these regions converge for the Mela to showcase and sell silver jewellery, traditional household items, and colourful animal accessories, among other things.
· Harmony Half Marathon
The event takes place from the Ajmer Sharif Dargah to Pushkar Stadium ground. Everybody who is pre-registered is allowed to participate in it.
All of these and more make Pushkar Mela one of the most anticipated annual affairs not just in India but also abroad. This kaleidoscopic confluence of people from across geographies, nationalities religions, creed, and caste further reinforces India’s unique place in the world as the melting pot where diversities are united by a common experience of love, community, and fun.
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