Lesson 44: Pushkar Camel Fair

In the various states of India, there are many different languages and dialects, dance forms, music, architecture, food, customs and festivals.

The Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan is one such unique festival.

Pushkar Lake is a historical and sacred lake in Ajmer.

Held in the month of either October or November, this seven day spectacle attracts farmers and traders who bring thousands of camels, horses and cattle to Pushkar Lake.

The camels are dressed up, paraded and entered into beauty contests and races.

There are also folk music concerts, arts and crafts bazaars, temple dancing, magicians, snake charmers, and much more.

Earlier the Pushkar fair used to attract only foreign tourists. But nowadays many local tourists flock here. On occasion the number of people visiting has reached the 400,000 mark.

If you should decide to visit, you need to be prepared to handle the bustling crowds.

A) Vocabulary:

architecture – the art and science of building structures, especially those we live in
dialects – a regional variety of a language differing from the standard language
spectacle – sight, or anything that you can see
bustling – energetic activity by many people
flock(verb) – to gather in one place

B) Discussion points:

  1. Why is India considered a unique land? Name five reasons.
  2. Research the camel fair in Pushkar on the Internet and describe it in your own words.
  3. Describe a tradition that you follow in your family.
  4. Do you know of any other unusual fair or mela in another part of India?
  5. What else do you know about the state of Rajasthan?

C) More than 20 languages are commonly spoken in India. Hindi is the most widely spoken language, followed by Bengali and Telugu. There are hundreds of dialects. Braj Bhasha and Haryanvi are two of the several dialects of Hindi. Did you know that more people speak Bangla (Bengali) in Bangladesh than in India?

What is your mother tongue?
What languages do you speak?
Do you speak a dialect?

D) Malayalam’s Ghazal – By Jeet Thayil

Listen! Someone’s saying a prayer in
Malayalam.
He says there’s no word for ‘despair’ in
Malayalam.
Sometimes at daybreak you sing a
Gujarati garba.
At night you open your hair in
Malayalam.
To understand symmetry, understand
Kerala.
The longest palindrome is there, in
Malayalam.
When you’ve been too long in the
rooms of English,
Open your windows to the fresh air of
Malayalam.

Despair – loss of hope
Symmetry – having parts that match each other, especially in a pleasing way
Palindrome – A word or phrase that reads the same backwards as forwards. Examples: madam, nurses run.