Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pushkar Fair - Cavorting with the camels!

We drove along straight flat roads (I think its a Bangalore thing - the Brits talk about the weather wherever they go, Bangarloreans the roads!) from Delhi, through little towns and scrub to Pushkar Fort.  This would be our (me, another dozen or so photo buffs and our leaders - plug here for Hema Naraynan - teacher and friend) accommodation for the next three nights, tents for two. Posh tents that is, with a bathroom (sort of) and proper beds. With an extra cover and my cleverly remembered camping blanket it was actually quite cozy when the desert had cooled down for the night.

The purpose of the the trip was to do photographic justice to the camels and peoples of the Pushkar Camel Fair. An annual melee of camels to be traded and peoples to buy, sell, socialise and of course  party!

The first camel our party saw roadside as we drove into town elicited a flurry of excitement and camera clicks. A few hours later a herd of 20 camels crossing our path much closer would hardly result in a raised eyebrow. How quickly the unusual becomes the norm, the extraordinary, the ordinary.

The best hours for photography are the hours immediately after sunrise and before sunset when the light is softer and kinder. However, this results in some very early mornings and chilly evenings......but in the name of art (ha-ha) we braved the cold and managed our pre-breakfast jaunts to the 'dunes' to see the world coming to life.

Our transport in and out of town and round and about were camel carts - in four of them we bumped along. Our little convey was definitely efficient and as the days passed we got to know the camels by their degrees of aggression and frequency of emissions from either end!!

I have to say by the end of the trip, although camels will never feature in my list of cuddly cute animals they do have a certain dignity and grace and an ability for incredible peace and stillness.

The turbans (I'll be coming back to them) and the camels just filled the sky line.

The early morns were my favorite times - just to see the calm before the madness of the day, the campfires giving some warmth and food to the folks spending the nights huddled in thin blankets huddled under the clear and cold sky or some make shift shelter.

 And the aim of the exercise was business - buying or selling I'm not sure which!

Camels appeared from all directions...

Much as I did grow to find Camels slightly more appealing - the teeth........

and the tongue............never!!!

Except of those of course of best in show, dressed to kill......the best turned out..... Mr Johnson!

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