Across the deserts of Rajasthan live the nomadic Raika people, custodians of the camel. Each year around October-November many of them converge on the grasslands around Pushkar for the greatest camel fair in the world. From near and far they come, many with great herds of camels to sell, others with just a few.
The land around the fairgrounds is filled with Raika men and their camels and what a wonderful sight. Camels as far as the eye can see, and more arrive every day. The trading goes on independent of all the tourist activities created. Ferris wheels, tented camps, painted camels, shaved camels, camel competitions, beggars, charlatans, adventurers and opportunists, gypsies and musicians swell the numbers of this normally quiet town. It is a bazaar of fun with all the fun of the fair. Under the night skies, more activities take place including the haunting tones of gypsy music crying out the songs of the desert. One year I am thinking it may be fun to go to the fair as well.
Even though the herds are shrinking, you would never guess it from the wonderful display and now the Rajasthan Government has introduced new measures including a 10,000 Rupee cash bonus for the birth of each new camel. Let’s hope that these measures, together with tourists and the ever popular camel tours will keep the camels thriving. In the meantime, the fair is as fabulous as ever.
About Author -
Jill Gocher is a well published photographer known for her evocative imagery specialising in travel and the human condition. Exotic is what gets her senses alive and the more remote the area, the happier she is. An unfamiliar world is always arousing whether it be visiting with desert folk, or simple villages on remote roads. People are her especial love and what she has discovered is, that, basically, we are all the same, responding to the same stimuli, the same smiles. It is just that the more remote people are more honest about it. She will never forget the way a Tibetan nomad will scrutinize you, seeing you, reading you before action. Indian villagers are similar. You can look into a person’s face and see them even as they see who you are.
Her work has been exhibited and published extensively. Jill’s work has been published in Singapore, The United States under Simon and Shuster, Fodors, Uk, France, Indonesia and more. Check out some of her book on Amazon. She is represented by Getty, and she loves to work with magazines and galleries.
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