Shabbat in Pushkar, India’s Hidden Gem; I’ll be back in November for the Camel Festival.

Sure Shabbat anywhere in the world is special. It is Shabbat, after all, isn’t it? But, how about enjoying the Sabbath in an exotic locale like India’s Pushkar?

Yeah, I thought you’d like that idea.

Pushkar is not only sacred on Shabbat, but a sacred pilgrimage site (one of five) for devout Hindus. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country, dating back more than 60,000 years.

Throughout Puskhar’s long history (and its designation as a holy site) many Hindu temples were built. Too bad during Muslim conquests many of them were destroyed; but many were rebuilt in the subsequent years. One of the most famous is the Brahma Temple, a 14th century building.

A few other temples to see while you’re out in the area are the Sri Sawai Bhoj Temple, the Varaha Temple of Rangji, and the most visited Varah Temple–dedicated to the god Vishnu.

Stroll along Pushkar Lake, considered a holy lake when a lotus was dropped Brahma’s hand personally.

Yet, as exciting as Shabbat in Pushkar is, it gets better. How? The Pushkar Fair is a famous 5-day Camel Festival every November; which brings more than a quarter of a million of visitors a year to see it. At first glance you might just think its one big camel market, where thousands of camels are sold (or traded).

But, it is the way they’re traded & sold that makes this out of the ordinary. They’re all decked out wearing silver and beads, jingling and jangling while they walk. Even the camels’ noses are pierced.

Mostly this festival takes place in November, but it’s possible for it to fall in October as it falls according to the moon calendar. The festival kicks off with a camel race, with music and shopping going on throughout the entire festival. Competitions (like who’s got the longest moustache) and art & sport exhibitions take place, also.

Alongside the sacred Pushkar Lake, women set up stalls selling their wares of jewelry, fabric, and other bric-a-brac; all the while, men are still off selling or trading the ornately decorated camels.

Come to think of it, with that many people coming to Pushkar is it really a hidden gem? I don’t care, but I do know I’ll be there in November for the Camel Festival. Won’t you?

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