EXPERIENCE PUSHK AR C AME L FAIR
The Pushkar Came Fair usually takes place towards the end of October/november. Visit Rajasthan’s Tourism’s official site for exact dates: www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in
With so much going on, the camel fair merits more than just a day or two to really appreciate all that it has to offer.
While the fair remains a festival of homage to Rajasthan’s renowned camels and their colourful caretakers, the Rabari’s way of life is becoming increasingly difficult as they lose access to the grazing lands that they have used for centuries on their seasonal migrations.
Over the past decade, the onehumped camel has experienced an estimated 50-percent decline in population. As a result, camel numbers have been down in recent years at the Pushkar Camel Fair, leading some to question whether the Rabari’s traditional way of life will survive through future generations.
Back on the sand dunes, as the week’s festivities are drawing to a close, Hukuma Ram confesses: “It’s hard work taking care of camels, especially nowadays.”
As children of the Rabari have increased contact with the modern world, many opt to go to school in cities, leaving the family tradition behind them. Camel trading is now at risk of fading away.
“Traders used to trade in a friendly manner. We all knew each other and were like a close knit family,” Ram explains. “After coming here for 20 years, I see the changes. Now, the fair feels more commercial and the sense of community is lost. Camel numbers are declining, but I’m still certain that the tradition will live on. It has to.” ag BRENT LEWIN is an award-winning photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand. His work has been featured in National Geographic, the Newyorktimes and Time, among others. More of his work can be viewed on his website: www.brentlewin.com.