Pushkar Fair is around the corner. The Kartik month according to Hindu calendar has begun for 2019 and so the dates for the fair have been set. The Fair commences on 4th November 2019 and goes on till 12th November 2019.
I have been planning to go to the fair for past few years but for some reason or the other, I haven’t been able to. I hope this year I am able to make it to the fair. Excitedly, I mentioned to a friend that I am planning to go to Pushkar Fair and he asked me two simple question –
- What is a fair and how they started?
- What is the significance of Pushkar Fair?
And I Answered him basis what I had heard from people and read online. To which he said that’s all fine, but his questions were still unanswered.
The discussion went on for a while and then he answered simply –
- Fair or Mela simply means ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’. It can be religious, commercial, cultural or sport-related. The fairs actually started as places of congregation. And when people gather together, there would be food, utility items, vehicles which were primarily animals back then. Therefore, with time these congregations took the shape of fairs. In rural traditions melas or village fairs were (and in some cases still are) of great importance.
- Pushkar fair also started the same way. This is where the various nomadic tribes across Rajasthan and Gujarat would meet in the month of Kartik. This was a place of convenience for all and time was fixed as the last five days of Kartik Month, being powerful basis the planetary positions. As the tribe were in transit due to season change, they would move with families and all belongings. This led to barter of products. With time money was introduced and livestock, clothes, jewellery etc were sold for money. Slowly, entertainment options for children and women were introduced to keep them engaged while the man went about their business. Thus, with time this congregation of need became a full-fledged fair. And it is called the camel fair as camel was the primary mode of transport in desert so camel trading was a significant aspect of the congregation.
Apparently, the area around Pushkar Lake exudes extremely positive energies at that time of the year, with rays being strongest on the full moon night, so taking a dip in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake had spiritual, psychological and medicinal imapcts.
When my friend explained this, it made total sense and I realised this would be the root cause of starting of any fair, be it nauchandi ka mela, Kutch Rann Utsav or others.
Over the years Pushkar fair and all other melas have been given many stories and reasons, both mythological and historical, which may all be true too. Some of those facts are documented too but none of them talk about the origin of fairs or the concept of fair. They just talk about how an established fair was promoted by the people of those time and they have become tourist attractions over the years.
Well, that too has its own importance but sometimes going back to basics too helps! Watsay?