Planning to visit the desert town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India? Consider visiting during the famous Pushkar Camel Festival held each November. The market is much bigger during this time, and you can watch or participate in many different festivities. Maybe you’ll even win a race, as I did during my visit!
Day 1 of the Pushkar Camel Festival
Our last excursion in India was to Pushkar, about an hour and a half from Jaipur. It’s located in the desert, and was extremely busy because of its annual, world-renowned camel fair. The event is so popular that it even had its own Snapchat story!
We had lunch and spent an hour or so exploring the market, which was really awesome! But more about that later…
After the market, we climbed on our camels and ventured out into the desert. It was rather hard to hold on as the camels stood up, as they straighten their front legs completely before starting to raise their back legs. Plus they’re quite tall!
We rode for an hour or so through the desert, and it was so much fun! Some areas were very sandy, while other places had a good amount of dune grass growing there.There were also some mountains in the distance, which looked stark but majestic against the setting sun. Also, the ride was much smoother than my camel ride in Morocco, and I didn’t get spit on once!
We finished our ride as the sun started to set, and the giant orange glowing orb looked amazing as it hovered above the sandy horizon.
We spent the night in tents in the middle of the desert, but the tents were surprisingly fancy. They had actual cots to sleep on, outlets, and even an attached bathroom with hot water! Even my bathroom at home in Jaipur didn’t have hot water!!! We had dinner around a campfire and enjoyed a performance by typical Rajasthani musicians and dancers.
Day 2 of the Pushkar Camel Festival
After leaving the desert, we dropped our camels off in a huge stadium back in Pushkar. As we were disembarking, our tour guide asked if wanted to participate in some traditional Rajasthani festivities. After some debate, we decided to give it a try. We chose a female-only race in which the participants run while balancing large clay jugs filled with water on their shoulders.
In the end, not only did I have a one-of-a-kind experience, but I actually won 3rd place! Even crazier, our group leader one 1st place and another girl in our group one 2nd place. The three of us were interviewed by several news broadcasting companies, got our pictures taken, and received trophies!
We also appeared in the province’s most famous newspaper, and got multiple phone calls from local friends saying, “Hey, did you know you’re in the newspaper?!” To see the online addition of this newspaper, click here.
After the race, we spent several hours exploring Pushkar’s outdoor market. It is definitely the best market that I’ve been to in India; in fact, maybe the best ever! The prices were good, the merchants were unusually laid back and not very pushy, and there was SO much to see (and buy)!
Happy Travels! XOXO Ann