The five-day Panchtirth at Pushkar was a lackluster affair and for the first time, Tirthraj Pushkar could not attract devotees in large numbers for the holy event. It is for the first time that the various ghats of Pushkar looked barren with fewer devotees for the Panchtirth that ended Monday. The coronavirus pandemic acted as the spoilsport.
Notably, Pushkar has the world’s only Bramha temple which attracts a large number of Hindu devotees from all over the country that made Pushkar acquire the name of Tirthraj Pushkar.
Pushkar known for its cattle fair
Pushkar, in the past 40 years, earned fame for its cattle fair and a large number of tourists made a beeline to witness the fair which is known for its colours. But this time because of the coronavirus, the visitors, especially foreign tourists, were almost negligible as international flights are not operating.
In the month of February-March this year, over 8,000 foreign tourists had booked for visiting Pushkar, but because of COVID-19, the cancellations started in the month of April and when things did not improve, mass-scale cancellations followed. The cancellations have left the hospitality industry of the holy town in a lurch.
Poor footfall, absence of foreign tourists
“I am 80-year-old and never in my lifetime have I saw such poor attendance for the Pushkar fair or for the Panchtirtha. People could not come because of the pandemic. This time only the saints could make it. They braved the pandemic and came for having a holy dip in the Pushkar lake. But it’s the foreigners who lend colours to the fair and during this time, Pushkar blooms with the arrival of the tourists,” said Vijay Shanka Vishnav, a priest.
“But it looks barren with neither foreign nor domestic tourists opting to come to Pushkar. The district administration had made elaborate arrangements both in the temples and the ghats, but the crowd was missing,” he added.
The five-day Panchtirth bath started in Pushkar on November 26 and on the day of Devuthani Ekadashi, devotees took a dip in the lake and offered prayers. However, due to the impact of the coronavirus infection and the appeal of the administration, fewer devotees have reached Pushkar.
It is believed that bathing in Kartik Panchtirth is like bathing in Ganga a thousand times. Bathing in the Pushkar Sarovar is like bathing a hundred times in Prayagraj. Those who follow the rules of the holy month of Kartik get salvation from all sins throughout the year.
Camel fair affected due to pandemic
The worst-hit was the camel fair and the business of buying and selling was poor. Camel and cattle owners throng the place during the Pushkar fair. The fair also attracts a large number of buyers from the neighbouring states, who come here to buy the indigenous Marwari breed of horses.
The hotels showed only 20 percent occupancy and the shopkeepers, who thrive on the visitors had no business. They will have to wait for the next year.
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