Pushkar, is a town in the state of Rajasthan, situated at 14 km north-west from Ajmer, and is one of the five sacred Dhams (pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus). It is often called “Tirth Raj” - the king of pilgrimage sites. Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. It lies on the Shore of Pushkar Lake. The date of its actual origin is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation. It is mentioned that Brahma performed penance here for 60,000 years to have a glimpse of Vishnu. Pushkar has many temples. The Pushkar Lake has 52 ghats where pilgrims descend to the lake to bathe in the sacred waters.
Pushkar is also famous for its annual Pushkar Camel Fair. This fair is one of the largest cattle fairs in the country. Animals, including over 50,000 camels, are brought from miles around to be traded and sold. Trading is brisk as several thousand heads of cattle exchange hands. All the camels are cleaned, washed, adorned, some are interestingly shorn to form patterns, and special stalls are set up selling finery and jewellery for the camels. Camels at the Pushkar Fair are decorated with great care. They wear jewellery of silver and beads. There are silver bells and bangles around their ankles that jangle when they walk. An interesting ritual is the piercing of a camel’s nose. According to Indian Mythology, after visiting all the Hindu pilgrim towns and temples (Four Dhams), if Pushkar is not visited for Pooja, then salvation is not achieved. According to the Hindu calendar Pushkar Fair commences in Nawami (Ninth Moon) and ends in Purnima (Full Moon) in the month of Kartika, which can be in October or November depending on the Moon calendar.
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