I found myself amongst the lakhs of people who visit the Pushkar Mela in Rajasthan.
I am a South Indian from Chennai. I've grown up with an abundance of trees around me – coconut trees to be exact. The closest desert experience I have had, until recently, was when I was left alone, for five minutes, to fend for myself at Marina Beach. And I didn't see any camels.
Decades later, I found myself at the Pushkar 'Livestock Trading' Fair in Rajasthan. My journey started at Chennai where I boarded the Jaipur express. It took 36 hours to reach Jaipur. From where it was another 2 hour train journey to Ajmer, and then a 1 hour bus ride to Pushkar.
Pushkar Fair is a spectacle to behold. It’s held every November for two weeks, where camels, horses, and other cattle come together to be sold, bartered, raced, and more. It is one of the last great traditional melas that India has to offer. It's a blend of colour, of culture, of tradition, and harmony. Being the largest cattle fair in India, I got to see a range of people, from the local gypsies to Marwari traders, camel herders, rural musicians and snake charmers.
Pushkar also sees a lot of pilgrims passing through to take a dip in the Pushkar lake during Karthik Purnima.
As one would expect, a fair of this magnitude does attract a lot of foreign tourists... and photographers, like yours truly.
These are my photographs. This is Pushkar Mela, 2017.
Dawn at Pushkar
A rural musician performs
Pushkar locals dressed up as Hindu gods
Children dress up for a 'spiritual walk'
Ravana and Ram
Foreign tourists form a majority
Snake charmer puts on a show
Local idea of having fun
Pilgrims taking a dip in the Pushkar lake
Live desert performances
Local performers at the Mela ground
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By Vijayaraj PS
Photographs by Vijayaraj PS