Mumbai, Nov. 1 (ANI): The annual camel and cattle fair of Pushkar witnessed a subdued start this week.
The colourful festival, which attracts thousands of camel traders, villagers and foreign tourists, had low visitor turnout due to global economic slowdown and scanty rainfall in various parts of the country.
Each year under the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartik, nomadic tribesmen set camp on the surrounding sands for a week of serious camel trading.
On average, about 20,000 cattle change hands during the fair, but this year the number of deals are far fewer and it is a buyer's market with supply far outstripping demand.
Sunder Singh Yadav, a cattle trader from Jagrajpur in Rajasthan, said the drought had forced the people to sell their cattle as the prices of fodder had surged.
"Business is bad this year, our expenses are running high and sales are very low. There is a drought so everyone wants to sell and very few want to buy. It is quite bad," said Sunder Singh Yadav, a livestock trader of Jagrajpur.
Parts of northern and western India, specially Rajasthan and Gujarat, have suffered severe drought with many lakes, reservoirs and canals drying up-sending the prices of food and fodder beyond affordable limits for many.
Paramhans, another cattle trader from Samdhabad in Rajasthan, said the drought and recession have hit farmers so hard they were finding it hard to feed their own families, so feeding animals was beyond their capacity.
"This year we had no rain and there is a severe drought. We have no fodder to feed the animals so we have brought them here to sell, but there are no buyers," Paramhans said.
Until the early 1970s, the Pushkar camel fair was largely a rural affair where thousands of nomads and cattle owners used to come to trade in camels.
But over the years it has evolved into India's biggest tourist attraction, where foreign travellers mix with villagers and their animals. (ANI)