Sunday, 15 July 2012

NAGAUR FESTIVAL


Nagaur Fair, Nagaur

Nagaur is a district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is the fifth largest district of the state and has many historic associations. The district is located at the geographical center of the state and was a part of the erstwhile Jodhpur state. The Nagaur fair is a traditional affair now promoted by the Department of Animal Husbandry in association with the department of tourism. Counted among the major Fairs and fairs of Rajasthan, this fair has brought Nagaur into prominence among the tourist spots of Rajasthan. An immense number of cattle owners participate in the fair, with an equally astonishing number of cattle being traded. 

Every year, sometime in January or February, the quaint little town of Nagaur comes alive with tourists, journalists, government officials and the vast number of cattle owners. This huge gathering is called the Nagaur fair, which is the second largest cattle fair held in Rajasthan. The 4 day fair witnesses the trading of more than 2, 00,000 cattle, including camels, horses, and bullocks. This type of mass trading in cattle is a very old practice, and it continues to be a vital part of the lives of the region’s farmers and common folk, who depend in many ways on these animals. 
During the fair, people from all corners of the district and neighboring areas arrive with their cattle, hoping to strike a good bargain. The vast numbers involved are enough to take the first time visitor by surprise. According to recent statistical reports, about 80000 cattle owners are involved in the fair. Watching the hordes of animals being displayed by the owners to potential buyers is a fascinating experience. The sights and sounds are equally impressive. People sport traditional clothes and colorful turbans, while the animals are also decked up, sporting their best look for the all important day. The sound of animals, people chattering, shouting, and the constant tinkling of the jewelry used in the decoration of the animals make up the strange but amazing audio-visual experience. 

A number of events have been added to the fair to make it popular among tourists. These activities include tug-of -war, camel races, bullock races, and cockfights. Despite the cattle and their huge numbers, the Nagaur fair is famous for the largest chilly market in Asia. This market is called ‘mirchi bazaar’ in local language and is set up at the fair premises only during the duration of the fair. In addition to all this the unique acrobatic displays, folk songs and dances provide a befitting background score for the proceedings. After dusk, the bards start singing the eternal stories of love and valor involving local heroes. 

The Nagaur fair is an ideal place to experience the rustic charm of Rajasthan. Apart from the famous Pushkar cattle fair, it is the only other fair of such magnitude. With proper support and promotion, it is surely going to be among the major highlights of tourism in Rajasthan in the near future. 

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