After researching camel prices at the Bateshwar Cattle Fair over the Diwali weekend, I’m now primed and ready to bag myself a decent specimen at this year’s Pushkar Mela.
A camel that caught my eye at this year’s Bateshwar Cattle Fair in Uttar Pradesh over the Diwali weekend.
Raju was brought to India’s second largest animal fair to be sold by Pravinder Singh. That’s only if Mr Singh, who had travelled from a village 300kilometres away, could strike the right price.
Pravinder was asleep under his camel cart as I approached Raju. He slowly stirred from his slumber as I wandered around his prized camel making admiring noises. Clearly surprised by my foreign face, Pravinder was quickly on his feet and eager to chat.
I knew I needed to impress from the get go if I was to strike a good price. But what to ask?
Focusing in the on the basics must be the way forward, so I asked Pravinder what the thing was on Raju’s nose. A flower came the reply. “My camel is beautiful.” I nodded in agreement. Raju is certainly a very beautiful beast.
A twenty year old, this camel is in his prime. There’s another 30 years of life in this working animal and I’m told that there’s breeding potential there too. With his orange scarf and attractive red knee attire this camel is making a serious fashion statement.
Raju is the camel equivalent of Karan Patel, Shakti Arora or Virat Kohli, heart throbs of Bollywood and cricket proportions.
So, what about the price?
Pravinder looked me up and down, “Pachaas.” I reached in my pocket to pull out a fifty rupee note, but left it there when Pravinder added the word “hazaar”.
Raju is 50,000 rupees worth of camel (that’s about US$750 US and around £600 sterling). He’s a beauty with that flower in his nose, but he is too rich for me.
When it comes to camels, Raju is really nothing special. Most traders at the fair were looking for around 50,000 rupees for their camels. So, what else could I buy?
The beautiful white horses on display were the most expensive animals at the fair, with asking prices starting at over a lakh (about US$1500 or £1,200 sterling).
At the other end of the scale was the dear donkey. For around 25,000 rupees (around US$375 or £300 sterling) you could snap one up.
When I visited the fair there was no cows or bulls for sale. I’m told that in recent years the fair has shrunk in size and the cattle traders no longer come. This fair is billed as India’s second biggest, but having been to the Pushkar Mela I’d say that Bateshwar is a bit smaller.
The hay days may be over, but this still a sizeable fair. Traders travel in from Rajasthan and all across Uttar Pradesh to be here. And what Bateshwar doesn’t have is flocks of tourists. I came across no other foreign faces wandering around the site, not like at Pushkar where there are plenty of foreigners on display.
If the truth be told, I won’t be at Pushkar Mela this year. But wait until 2017. With a little more research I reckon I’ll be able to bag a bargain. Camel traders, you better watch out.