For Himmat Singh of Nagaur, International Cattle Fair at Mela (Fair) ground did not bring any cheers as none of his five Camels found any buyer this year. Last year he was able to sell four out of seven, price ranging between Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per camel.Fair disappointed Singh this time, but another farmer and his neighbour at the Mela ground Dhanraj from Pakka Sarna village in Hanumangarh district, who came with 10 camels, was lucky enough sell nine camels and fetched nearly Rs 15,000 for each.
“Camels are lifeline for agricultural and transportation activities in our desert areas. Though the government has made roads, still due to long stretch of desert, we need camels of routine activities, said Dhanraj, who like Himmat comes every year to Pushkar fair which is held in November every year.
The district administration first time made experiment of Pushkar camel fair and made it a festival of long fifteen days in which the cattle fair and cultural festival was organised form November 12 to November 27.
Mela Ground: Man-Animal Connect
The Mela ground presents a very colourful and lively scenes. Not only it presents platform for convergence of camels, horses and other cattle owners of all over the country at one point but also the stalls across the ground showcases accessories for camels and horses and other useful items for the farmers and rural folks. Mass trading of cattle takes place in Pushkar during this time. Camels, goats, horses, sheep, and cows are bought and sold like daily commodities.
With camel dance and race, mustache competition and other competitive activities, the ground is full of life, colour and Rajasthan fervour. Large number of foreign visitors actively participate in such activities. After the transactions, a parade of well-bred and beautifully decorated animals takes place. One can even buy colorful clothing, jewelry, and other items for camels. Several decorated camels participate in a ‘beauty contest’ and the best ones took away prizes. There is a relatable connection between animals and the people here, which is a spiritual experience in itself.
Business As Usual
Business and trade was as usual this year and even a week longer activities did not yield much in volume trade compared to last year. In November 2014, the fair did a business of Rs 9.11 crore and this year also it almost the same, according to Rajasthan Department of Animal Husbandry, the main organiser of the Fair.
“This is mainly our show for trade of camel, horses and other animals. Camels are still indispensable for the farmers of our state. During the fair, we provide of facilities like sales support, water, treatment. Department of Tourism has added new dimensions to the fair to attract more visitors here,” said Virendra Gandhi, Joint Director, Department of Animal Husbandry.
Gandhi, who is Mela Officer also, informed that last year total inflow of animals ( Camel 4,772 and Horse 4,312) was 9,934 and this year, it is well above 10,000 with 5215 camels, 4,340 horses. “Though final figure will come later, however, during this fair 1941 camels and 943 were sold with total animal trading crossing 3000. Camel fetched a highest price of Rs 55,000 and a horse was sold at the maximum price of Rs 5.5 lakh,” he adds.
“Main business surrounds camel here as horses for those who have studs and interest in horse-riding etc.But camel is for farmers,” the official said.
The mountains, the lake, the sand dunes and the small but colorful and now a musical town – Pushkar is expected to become one of the most happening places in the country during November every year. Sanjay Mehta, Joint President(Commercial), Shree Cement said, “ Pushkar fair draws thousands of people from India and abroad and is one of the biggest fairs in the country with socio-cultural orientation. To promote such a unique fair, this year we came forward to support hosting of Shree Cement The Sacred Pushkar 2015 which was a musical treat for the visitors and locals.”