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Published: December 21st 2018
We have been to the Pushkar Camel Fair three times and loved every minute we spent there. As you know, it kept us coming back for more and hopefully will again in the future. But each time, we also wondered about the fair that happens after Pushkar, Chandrabhaga. We were never able to work it into our schedule, so this year we made it a point.
We left Pushkar a little early and took the day long drive to Jhalawar so that we could be there a day or two before the fair actually began and also be able to enjoy the actual fair days. We have found that we enjoy the days leading up to the actual events almost as much, if not more than the actual fair days.
The Chandrabhaga Fair promised color, authenticity, livestock and a sense of being off the tourist path. It is pretty safe to it delivered on these promises.
At Chandrabhaga, we found camels, buffalo, cattle and Marwar horses. There was the standard Indian carnival, booths selling goods, barbershops and food stands. And, of course there was the excitement that probably bubbles up
at every fair around the world.
We did not know what to expect in regards to the camel population, but were hopeful the population was not dwindling at a disappointing rate. We found there to be as many if not more camels than at Pushkar, which was a relief. We also found that the camels looked a bit different than at Pushkar.
Chandrabhaga showcased a lot more light colored camels than Pushkar and we immediately noticed the Malvi camels which have a different shaped nose. The Raika cameleers also seemed to dress just a slighty bit differently than the Raika cameleers we saw at Pushkar. Their pants were a bit shorter and they seemed to have different colored turbans. But like at Pushkar, the Raika at Chandrabhaga were wirey, weathered and tough looking as they strolled across the sand with their large camel caravans.
There are not a lot of western tourists at Chandrabhaga. In the five days we were there, dad and I each saw one other white person. I saw him and he saw me! Seriously.
creates a whole new dynamic. We did not just slip through the crowds unnoticed. People stopped what they were doing to just stare at us. Some people took photos of us—it is India after all where “selfie” may be the most used word in the vocabulary. Some people walked right up to us and then just stood and stared. Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds. Then there is the reality that if you can afford to fly from the United States to attend a livestock fair, you can afford to spare a few rupees, so there was also a bit of begging which I suppose is to be expected.
I decided to buy some accouterments for the Shamrock Farms camel herd. My process is to first walk through the booths selling camel and horse bling, check out every possible item and then go back to make purchases. This process proved to be of great entertainment for the fair attendees. As I walked from booth to booth, so did more curious Indian men than I could ever count. When purchases were made, there was chatter, photos and looks of astonishment.
Another interesting crowd observation was the glaringly obvious lack of women at the fair. I saw one at the horse show and near the river there were two. So, being a white and female was again something of a scene.
Dad enjoyed watching the Raika watch me as I walked among the camel herds. Because lets be honest, camels are usually more curious of someone new than people tend to be. I would walk into a herd of camels, speak English which seemed to startle them and then I would just stand still. I probably don’t have to draw a picture of what happened next. The abrasive American accent was not enough to keep them away. The camels needed to sniff and nibble and investigate us. This all seemed to amaze the speechless Raika and amuse me.
So maybe we didn’t exactly walk a mile to see these camels at the Chandrabhaga Fair, but we drove all day in India, which is not an easy task!
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