Scenes from a Fair: Pushkar, Rajasthan, India
The Pushkar Camel Fair is a festive affair – and not just about camels. Kalbeliya Gypsy snake-charmers are among the entertainers to be found around the extensive fair grounds.
I’ve been dreaming of camels lately…
That’s probably because the annual five-day Pushkar Camel Festival in Rajasthan, Northern India, finished earlier this week, and a number of my friends – including photographer Karl Grobl and local guide DV Singh – were there.
I couldn’t help but feel a little envious, as it has been two years since I visited India with them and enjoyed the Camel Fair myself.
Still, their return gave me a good excuse to revisit my photo-files from that trip.
Aagman Camp Hostess
One of the joys India is how photogenic the people are.
The Pushkar Fair attracts a fair number of international tourists and photographers in addition to the local traders.
The Aravalli Mountain Range provides a backdrop for the fun-fair grounds, the livestock, and the camp grounds at Pushkar Fair. (iPhone4S)
Rajasthani Horse and Rider
Pushkar Fair is not just about camels: Marwari horses – the distinctive Jodhpur-bred horses with the inward-turning ears – are a prominent feature. Horses with a white blaze and four white socks are considered lucky.
Running the Rajasthani Horse
Theses horses were bred from native Indian ponies crossed with Arabian horses.
Putting the Horse through its Paces
The Marwari is a natural “pacer”, with a lateral two-beat gait.
Tourists on Camels
A Chinese tour group descends from their camels.
Food is never far away; a vendor stands ready next to his paper-cones and peanuts.
The Marwari horses are beautiful animals, …
… bred since the 12th century for purity and hardiness.
Entertainers are all around the fair grounds; the Kalbeliya Gypsy snake charmers fall outside the Indian caste system.
They are a proud and regal people.
At the Water Trough
Water is shared, …
At the Water Trough
… but the camels seem to get priority.
A Man and his Camel
Clipping the Camel
The camels often have interesting and decorative clipping patterns …
Camels in the Grounds
… which are often dyed to highlight them.
Old Woman in Orange
Anita the Gypsy and her Baby
The camels are decorated with flowers, pom-poms, …
… and brass bells around their necks and ankles.
Kalbeliya Gypsy Sisters
Sisters Anita and Moira, dressed in their finery, perform dances for fair-goers. (See also: A Gypsy Portrait)
White Marwari Horse
The afternoon sun lowers through the heat and dust, …
… silhouetting the camels and tents at the edges of the grounds.
Around the outskirts of the fair, a chai wallah makes spicy tea …
… for customers in elaborate turbans and magnificent moustaches to enjoy.
Other “wallahs” make and sell sticky sweets, …
… waiting for customers …
… under harsh electric lights as the crowds make their way home.
The fair is about much more than just camels. I loved the horses – and of course the people – every bit as much.
It is no surprise it is so popular amongst foreign tourists as well as locals; it is a real feast for the senses.
After my first action-packed afternoon, I couldn’t wait to get back the next day.