From The Jacket
Come November, the eighth century town of Pushkar turns into an unusual combination of the spiritual and temporal. Even as its narrow lanes bustle with groups of pilgrims heading for its sacred waters, not far away preparations begin for the world's larges camel fair.
Pushkar lies seven miles from Ajmer in Rajasthan, on the outskirts of the Great Indian Desert, a harsh, hostile and merciless land of creeping sands, shifting dunes, erratic weather and hot winds. Its people are in complete contrast to the land they live in, with Pushkar in November forming a showcase for their spirit, their battle for survival against terrible odds.
In the words of Ennala Praveen, "The sun beating down on the desert awakens the camels at dawn. The desert is crowded with camel traders. A lot of haggling takes place, but this adds to the spirit of the fair. As the tempo of business slows down, the proud owners of a newely acquired camel visit the stalls in search of Rajasthani handmade saddles, long strings of beads and embroidered saddle-straps. The camels are almost well dressed as the women
at other times, Pushkar surprised me with its quiet surroundings, vast desert and comforting breeze. It presented a different view of itself at every turn."
To some, Pushkar offers archaeological treasures inconspicuously tucked away in its myriad cobbled streets. Sprinkled around the lake are about four hundred temples of great antiquity, including the only Brahma temple in the world. Over the centuries, people from different walks of life like kings, sages and the wealthier class have built these temples for worship. Some are on the plains while others stand gloriously on hilltops. Fifty-two ghats encircle the lake to facilitate pilgrims wanting to spiritually cleanse themselves and imbibe its curative properties.
The unforgettable spectacle of Pushkar in its many avataras has been captured beautifully for this volume by Ennala Praveen. The hallmark of his work is the quiet moment, the fleeting glimpse, the small detail, which put together form a magnificent and unusual portrait of this ancient desert town.
Ennala Praveen was born in 1965 in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Starting his career as a legal practitioner, he went on to acquire a degree in photography from JNT University, Hyderabad. He ha received an award from the Associateship of the Royal Photographic society, UK, for his work on Pushkar.
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