The swollen Pushkar Lake and the recent visit of the Obamas seems to have worked for the Pushkar Fair that is witnessing a surge in the tourist numbers this season.
Hotel owners believe the brimming lake is one of main reasons for drawing tourists to the holy city. “Last year, there was a slump in the tourist arrivals, but this time the room rates have almost doubled with enquiries still pouring in,” said Deepak Sharma, a hotel owner.
The visit of US president Barack Obama and his speech on co-operation in combating terror also seems to have played an important role in attracting more tourists to the Pushkar fair. In the past 10 days, 53 group bookings from US have been made. Bookings from Europe and Australia have also increased,” said Vikram Singh, an international guide. Nealry 5,000 tourists from different parts of the world are expected to witness the 15-day extravaganza.
Besides tourists, sadhus and saints from across the country come to Pushkar during this time to take a dip in the lake on purnima’ (full moon). “It is believed that taking a dip in the Pushkar lake on the full moon helps one attain moksha’. We have come all the way walking from Gorakhpur for this auspicious day,” said Mahadev Das, a sadhu.
Looking at the large number of tourists on the second day of the fair, the district administration has made arrangements for accommodation at dharmshalas, and taken up a massive cleaning job of the town. The tourism department is also setting up Swiss camps on the dunes. Vigil has been increased at the Brahma Temple.
Foreign tourists are soaking in the Rajasthani culture at the international cattle fair. “It’s my first trip here and I am loving it. I participated in some local competitions,” said Mark John, an English tourist.
The hot air balloon show, organized for the first time this year, has been an instant hit with the tourists. “It is great to get an aerial view of the beautiful dunes,” a tourist said. Several other performances by local artistes have been organized to entertain the tourists.
What is Pushkar Fair?
The Pushkar Fair, or Pushkar ka Mela, is the annual camel and livestock fair, held in the town of Pushkar near to Ajmer in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs, and apart from buying and selling of livestock it has become an important tourist attraction and its highlights have become competitions such as the “matka phod”, “longest moustache”, and “bridal competition” are the main draws for this fair which attracts thousands of tourists. Every year there are new attractions to the Fair like the Hot air Balloon safari added this year. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, mentions an attendance of 100,000 pilgrims in early 1900s.
It is celebrated for five days from the Kartik ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day (the 15th) of Kartik (November-December) in Hindu calendar. The full moon day is the main day and the day, according to legend, when the Hindu god Brahma sprung up the Pushkar Lake, thus numerous people swim in its sacred waters
News Courtesy: TimesofIndia