11/17/2007 to 11/24/2007 | India , Rajasthan

Pushkar Mela: Camels, Pilgrims, and Tourists, Oh my!

It’s a long way from the mountains of Nepal to the deserts of Rajastan in western India.  That distance feels quite a bit further when you are riding on an 8 hour bus from Kathmandu to the border having just come down with a case of diarrhea.  I was popping Imodium like an addict, and fasting, save for a packet of coconut biscuits I picked up at one of the stops.  All of this in an effort to keep one of my two pairs of pants from having a large brown stain in the posterior region.  This catastrophe was avoided, although just barely.  After about an hour of discomfort the bus mercifully stopped in the town of Butwal.  I disembarked and asked where the toilet was, knowing what the answer would be.  The answer was a mere gesture in every direction.  I found a spot between a parked bus and wall, squatted down, and let it rip, feeling much relieved afterwards.  Fortunately, by the time I was on the first of my two night trains to get to Pushkar my bowels were back to normal.

The Pushkar Mela, or camel fair as it’s often called, is the most famous festival in Rajastan.  In preparation for the most auspicious day to bath in Pushkar’s scared lake, thousands of camel, horse, and cattle traders set up camp outside the holy city.  There are carnival rides set up for the locals, and a tourist program for the foreign visitors.  The festival reached its peak on the 24th of November, the day of the full moon, where the narrow streets were clogged with pilgrims.  If your not in the market for a camel, a purchase that will run you a little over $600 according to one camel trader I talked with, or a devout Hindu visiting everyone of Pushkar’s hundreds of temples,  then there is not a whole lot else to do than walk around and photograph the spectacle.  As a result, I managed to generate over 800 images in during my six day stay in Pushkar.  Only a small fraction of which, I will burden my readers with.

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