India: Scenes from Pushkar Camel Fair

December 17, 2013

camel adornd GREATYou’re probably wondering what the Pushkar Camel Fair is, right? I blogged about it in February, HERE, in anticipation of our visit.  I’m going to let images and video give you the color and spectacles of our two amazing days there, with just a bit of explanation.

You’ll see what we’d consider to be a father exploiting his daughter, an Indian bitch fight, horses, camels and so much more. Did I mention camels?  Come along with us….

After walking through town, we began in the stadium. It was like any stadium, really, only not. The predominant sense was of dirt and dust, and we stood around for a long time. I’m glad we did, because what we saw helped define India for us.

stadium walkers So many of the people we saw seemed to live in abject poverty. So when we saw fathers forcing their girls to perform–gymnastics, dance, tightrope walking–we had to look at it within that context.

tightrope2This young girl had incredible balance. Here she is in video, below.

What we would consider exploitative might have been a matter of the family’s survival. But that’s the thing about India: it forced us to examine our American assumptions.

girl flexWow.

girl 2 gymna girl dances better

These performances were very ad hoc, nothing organized, really, and a small crowd as it was early in the day and early in the festival.

great overview

Like any fair or festival, color and motion ruled.

stadium ferrisFerris wheels define any fair, don’t you think?

veiled mom kid vendor scene 2 girlsAre you getting a sense of it?

vendors foodLots to eat on offer, but we didn’t taste any of it.

vendor sillyThis vendor was a silly guy and fun to watch. There’s another silly and fun man in this photo, too….

making food GREATFood and more food, cooked on the spot.

spotted horse nice horses nice horse tent bettrBeautiful horses.

cow down better cow strolls GDInvited guests.

deformed red cowWhat’s Pushkar without a deformed cow for good luck? Lots of “deformed people,” too. Our guide’s term, not ours.

couple nice crowded crowd men crowd gdThings got crowded as the morning went on.

And a bitch fight’s a bitch fight in any language.

If you happen to speak Hindi and can tell us what it’s about, please do!

I miss the noise, the crowds, the color…and even the feeling of being completely out of my element.

ghee with cans cone of redChillout CafeWho wouldn’t want to check out the Chillout Cafe? We went to the Brahma temple, instead.

temple maybeWe couldn’t take photos, but let me try to explain it.  Women and men entered separately, all clutching offerings, usually marigolds and marigold petals. We removed our shoes and since we were squeamish about being barefoot, we wore airline socks. We began calling them “temple socks” and they came in handy a time or two, as we could just leave them behind.  The women in my line were all pushing and shoving up a steep staircase to make their offerings; some of them had pretty sharp elbows. It was warm and close and fragrant, with bees buzzing all over.  It wasn’t the peaceful offering I’d envisioned and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. But I did have a few seconds to think of my parents, bless them and wish they’d had the opportunity (or the vision) to take a trip like this and enter an entirely different cultural milieu.

camel CU came face great camel okOh, wait. You lookin’ for camels?

camel stadiumHandsome.

came face great camel CUStylin’.

M took this great video of a camel getting a haircut.

camel herd2Camels at sundown as far as the eye could see. Check out the video M. shot, which looks like something out of a desert movie.

The video below illustrates almost everything I miss about our trip:

It’s almost all in this video and it’s why we keep talking about returning–although I promise you, while there, we swore we never would.

I hope this small fraction of the images we took at Pushkar gave you an appreciation for our experience. What do you think?

2 comments on “India: Scenes from Pushkar Camel Fair
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    Wonderful luck falling on that fair. I’d go back to see that , too. Let me know if you want a traveling partner!

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