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The mention of Pushkar Mela (fair) usually generates an excited buzz in travelers to India. Domestic and foreign tourists alike visit the fair for a glimpse and experience of Rajasthan’s intense colors and customs.
However, the original fair itself started as a venue where Rajasthani farmers traded camels and cattle. Each year, in the Hindu month of Kartik, farmers from all over India’s northern state of Rajasthan converge around the Pushkar Lake (taalaab) to participate in the Pushkar Mela, a weeklong event. Many farmers arrive a week before the actual start of the fair, and their deals sealed, leave when the mela starts. Many others stay and enjoy the multitude of festivities that also feature a camel race, moustache contest, and a turban (pagdi) tying contest for foreigners. Unique handicrafts and semi-precious jewelry draw their own following. The Pushkar mela is also an especially auspicious occasion for Hindu pilgrims who believe that all 330 million Hindu gods and goddesses are present in Pushkar Lake during the time of the fair.
Although Pushkar’s main draw is the mela, this small, ancient town is also home to the 14th-century Jagatpita Shri Brahma temple, one of the handful of temples in India known to be dedicated to the God Brahma.
When I visited Pushkar, it was at a quieter time of the year, with few tourists visiting the temple and almost none by the Pushkar Lake. The main temple painted bright blue with orange/red dome with a pinnacle was hard to miss; surprisingly, it lacked the hubbub of a tourist attraction and felt peacefully silent like a small village shrine where fabled monks come in search of spirituality and enlightenment.
Pushkar mela dates for this year are Nov. 8-14 From Ajmer railway station, Pushkar is less than 15 kms by road. Jaipur is also a major entry hub for Pushkar, with many buses, taxis, as well as package tours plying the approximately 150km route.Conversation: Getting to Pushkar
Let’s listen to this conversation of a tourist asking a tourism official for information.[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/hindi/files/2016/10/Pushkar-hindi.mp3]
Lady (tourist): जी, यहॉं से पुष्कर कितना दूर है?
Jee, yahan se Pushkar kitna door hai?
(Excuse me, how far is Puskhar from here?)
Man (tourism official) : जी, लगबघ १५० किलोमीटर।
Jee, lagbhag 150 km.
(Approximately 150 km.)
Lady: अच्छा। वहाँ कैसे जाते हैं?
Accha. Wahan kaise jaate hain?
(OK. How does one get there?)
Man: आप बस या टैक्सी से जा सकती हैं।
Aap bus ya taxi se jaa sakti hain..
(You can go by bus or taxi.)
Lady: कितनी देर लगेगी?
Kitni der lagegi?
(How long will that take?)
Man: ढाई-तीन घंटे।
Ummm … Dhaai – teen ghante.
(Ummm, about 2 ½ to 3 hours.)
Lady: क्या अब पुष्कर मेला जारी है?
Kya ab Pushkar mela jaari hai?
(Is the Puskhar Fair going on now?)
Man: जी नहीं।
Lady: पुष्कर में और क्या देख सकती हूँ मैं?
Pushkar mein aur kya dekh sakti hoon main?
(What else can I see in Puskhar?)
Man: आप पुष्कर में ऊँठ, पुष्कर तालाब, और ब्रह्माजी का मंदिर देख सकते हैं। पुष्कर सुन्दर जगह है।
Aap Pushkar mein oonth, Pushkar taalaab, aur Brahmaji ka mandir dekh sakte hain. Pushkar sundar jagah hai.
(In Puskhar you can see camels, the Pushkar Lake, and the Brahma Temple. Puskhar is a beautiful place.)
The words in bold are transliterations and pronunciations.
यहॉं से Yahaan se – from here (yahaan=here se=from)
मेला mela (may-laa) — fair
कितनी kitni — how much? For example: kitni door = how far? Kitni acchi = how nice
दूर door (rhymes with moor) — far
है hai (hay) – is
जी jee — a term that denotes respect;
can be used independently or as a prefix or suffix
लगबघ lagbagh (lug-bug) — approximately
अच्छा accha (a-cchhaa) – OK/I see
वहाँ wahaan (wa-haan) — there
कैसे kaise (kay-say) – how
जाते हैं jaate hain – get/go; jaate is a conjugation of the root verb jaana = to go.
आप aap — you (second person with respect)
जा सकती हैं jaa sakti hain (jaa suck-tee hayn) – can go
(sakti (female) = conjugation of sakna = can, or to be able)
देर der (dayr) — long/time
लगेगी lagegi – to take; conjugation of lagna = to take.
ya – or
ढाई-तीन dhaaee-teen — 2 ½-3
घंटे ghun-tay — hours
अब ab (ub rhymes with sub) — now
जारी jaari — going on
और क्या aur kya (ore kya) — what else
देख सकती हूँ dekh sakti hoon — can see; dekhna = to see
ऊँठ oonth – camel
ब्रह्माजी का मंदिर Brahmaji ka mandir (Brahma-jee ka mun-deer) — literally, Brahma’s temple
पुष्कर तालाब Pushkar taalaab – Pushkar lake
सुन्दर sundar (soon-durr) — beautiful
जगह jagah (jug-eh) — place
धन्यवाद dhanyawaad (dhun-ya-vaad; the first syllable rhymes with “bun”) — thank you