Pushkar Camel Fair

As the sun comes up a man leads his camels through the desert on the way to Pushkar Fair

The Indian festival of Kartik Poornima,is celebrated with particular fervour annually in October or  November in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Its held in the honour of god Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar. The mela commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi in the Hindu calendar and culminates on Kartik Purnima which is the full moon day and the most important. On the morning of Kartik Poornima thousands of devout Hindus take a ritual bath in the Pushkar Lake which is considered to lead one to salvation and the mela attracts over 200,000 visitors and pilgrims. Running concurrently with the Pushkar Festival is a huge cattle and camel fair. Semi-nomadic tribal people with hordes of cattle, camels and horses descend upon the town setting up a vast camp on the  outskirts of the ancient town. Serious cattle trading takes place before the official opening of the mela between farmers, breeders and camel traders. Events begin four to five days before the full moon and include camel and horse races,  a tug of war between Rajastanis and foreigners, a Sari fashion show and competitions of horse and camel ‘dancing’. Jugglers, acrobats, magicians and folk dancers abound while salesman of equestrian and camel-related merchandise do a roaring trade in the bustling camp. A visit to the fair is an essential Indian experience especially for a photographer. The images here are a small edit from those I took during recent visits to the fair.

A camel trader leans on his camel cart in the early morning
A young girl snuggles in a quilt in the early morning chill
Mr Dhanic Ram Meena


Sardar (17) a nomadic ‘Kalbeliya’ (gypsy) tribeswoman

Camels greet each other over a drinking trough at sunset
Dusk at Pushkar Mela, a camel trader cooks over an open fire 

Method: all natural light as befitted the subject matter. I used Nikon cameras throughout: D700, D3 and D2X


9 thoughts on “Pushkar Camel Fair”

  1. Absolutely stunning photos… They perfectly capture the magic, mystique and the reality. I can almost smell the smoke from the burning campfire

  2. Love the girl in quilt – clearly happy. Of course the camels in the dust and light. Then there’s Sardar! Great shots Simon….. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Beautiful pictures Simon. I can’t help but be impressed by just how lean and fit and people look, young and old, wrinkled or not. Particularly like the campfire with camel, mountain and starry sky backdrop; so atmospheric. Felt rather uneasy about the poor horse, though.

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