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Pushkar Fair 2010
Pushkar, an important religious place for Hindus, is located only 11 kms from Ajmer in Rajasthan. This little town is known for "Pushkar Fair', "the Lord Brahma Temple", a "picturesque lake' and "camel fair". An ancient religious town its fair is a great tourist attraction. People from around the globe come to the Pushkar which is transformed into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik. People bathe, worship and delight in the dazzling wares of roadside stalls. Camels are bought, sold, beautified, raced and parade. Most unusual are the small groups of men and women seen busy tattooing their hands and other parts of the body.
The fair is predominantly a rural gathering. Villagers come from different parts of the state and bring their cattle with them. Camel, horse and bullock races on sand dunes are great crowd pullers. All roads lead to the lake, which is flooded with pilgrims. The movement of the crowd is like a tide of colours. Dance, music, gaily-attired men & women, various cultural events add to the fun and charisma on the occasion. The phenomenal camel races are the most interesting part of the fair augmented by cattle auction and colorful shops exhibiting beautiful handicrafts. Evenings at the Pushkar Fair have there own charm. The silent night is pierced by calls of camels. Ballads are sung by actors in passionate tones. Folk dramas, skits and folk dance are organized for the entertainment of the tourists.
Every ingredient that makes Rajasthan a distinct place can be spotted in the fair including men dressed in colorful traditional clothes, women in mirrored skirts and vivid shawls, embroidered clothes, exquisitely designed jewelry, pots and ornaments. This four-day long fair full of fun and frolic falls on the full moon of Kartik Purnima and offers an unique opportunity for a shopping spree while giving an edge to the consumer product marketing in rural Rajasthan. Improved accommodation facilities have made it an International event a large camel fair in which traders from all over Rajasthan participate to parade, race and trade their camels, horses and cattle give it a fascinating touch. The acrobats, jugglers, snake charmers and fire-eaters will leave you mesmerized with their skilled performances. Cruise on a camel safari and get the real flavor of the fair. Pushkar is a sacred town for the Hindus, situated 11 kms. to the north-west of Ajmer. About 400 temples and shrines are located at Pushkar around its holy lake, which finds a mention in the Padma Purana. Legend has it that Lord Brahma in search for a spot to hold his 'yagna' (religious ritual), droppe
d the lotus from his hand, the three spots touched by this flower were turned into lakes. These are today known as the 'Jyeshtha Pushkar' (main Pushkar), the 'Madhyam Pushkar' (medium Pushkar) and the 'Kanishtha Pushkar' (little Pushkar). A temple dedicated to Lord Brahma is located at Pushkar; the other important temples are those of Gayatri, Savitri, Shiv and Badri Narayan.
The Pushkar Lake is surrounded by 52 flights of steps, called 'ghats', many having special legendary importance. Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared at the Varah Ghat in the form of a boar.
Brahma took a bath here and performed Yajna at the Brahma Ghat, accompanied by Vishnu and Mahadev. Guru Govind Singh chose this site for reciting the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed at the Gandhi Ghat, which was previousl
y called Gau Ghat.
There is a steady flow of pilgrims throughout the year to Pushkar, which is among the five principal places of Hindu pilgrimage. It is, however transformed into a bustling fair-ground in the month of Kartik (October-November) when the annual Pushkar Fair and a cattle fair are held simultaneously. The fair starts from Kartik Shukla Ekadashi and goes on for 12 days, till Kartik Purnima. Both the religious fair and the cattle fair are now internationally renowned tourist attractions. A small fair is held in the month of Baisakh, which is primarily a local event.
THE HOLY DIPS ( SNAN )
People consider the water of the Pushkar Lake to be very sacred and the ritual of taking dips in the holy water is believed to bestow salvation. The holy dip is most auspicious on Kartik Poornima. Even before sunrise, people descend the ghats, aided by the 'pandas' (Brahmin priests) to take the sacred bath. Offerings of coconut, flowers, and cash are made to the lake and the priests.
VISITING THE TEMPLE
After bathing at the lake, people proceed to pay homage to the creator of the Universe, Lord Brahma, at the Brahma Temple.
Most pilgrims perform the oblations at the Jyeshtha Pushkar while some opt to visit all the three Pushkar and this is called the Panch-Kosi-Parikrama. Many pilgrims visit all the shrines at Pushkar in seven days and this is called the Chaubis-Kosi-Parikrama.
FLOATING LAMPS ( DEEP DAN )
It is customary to float lighted earthen lamps after placing them on 'pattals' (plates made of leaves) on the waters of the lake. This creates a spectacular view in the evening when the sacred lake takes on a mystical tint sprinkled with twinkling spots of light. 'Aarti' is offered at the lake in the morning and evening.
In conjunction with the religious fair, a cattle fair is also organised in the month of Kartik at Pushkar Cattle-breeders bring a large number of cattle of various popular breeds such as Nagauri, Haryanvi, Mewati, Kankrej etc. to the fair to be sold to the rural folk who appreciate well-bred animals. The cattle are decorated by their owners during Pushkar fair and also participate in the races and are paraded on the sand dunes.