Pushkar Mela by Simon de Trey-White

  • A camel herder leads his camels  through the desert in the early morning to the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Marwari horses staked out at the Pushkar Horse and  Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan,  India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Camel traders at their camp fire in the evening at the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Camels at the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • A camel herder drinks camel milk in the desert forest near Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • A camel with a red nose decoration at the Pushkar Horse and  Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan,  India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Men haggle over the price of a cow at the Pushkar Horse and  Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan,  India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • A man trims the ear hair of his camel at the Pushkar Horse and  Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Camels and their owners walk along a desert road to the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • A view of the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar , Rajasthan, India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Camels passing a small lake in the early morning near the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.  Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • Camel traders squat around the embers of a fire and chat in the early morning at the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. Simon de Trey-White for The National
  • A hot air balloon passes near camels greeting each other in the early morning at the Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. Simon de Trey-White for The National

December 6, 2012

Photographer Simon de Trey-White recently photographed India's Pushkar Mela which is one of the country's most photogenic annual events, drawing onlookers from around the world. The event is regularly scheduled alongside the livestock market sited on the outskirts of the holy lakeside town of Pushkar. Involved are such events as camel races, moustache competitions, a tug of war between Rajasthanis and foreigners, dawn hot-air balloon rides, and pilgrims jostling alongside tourists. There are ferris wheels and amusement parks, handicraft shops and camel safaris. But at its heart, the essence of the Pushkar Mela is unchanged, says Simon de Trey-White, who spent a few days photographing the event.

"Over the years the Rajasthan Tourism department has revamped this traditional rural affair with the creation of an arena and a program of events designed to broaden its appeal," he said.

"Diverting as these events can be, it's the original desert camp and the camel traders that interest me, particularly at dawn and dusk when low-raking soft light coming though dust and cooking fires offers spine tingling opportunities to document scenes that have changed little in decades."

Text and interview by journalist John Henzell

Picture editing by photo editor RJ Mickelson

                     
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