Pushkar fair provides an opportunity for religions to meet
A showcase for the local culture, world-famous fair in Ajmer District (Rajasthan) opened until 8 November. Activities include a march by representatives of different faiths. For Fr Cosmos Shakhawat, it is an important “symbol of communal harmony”.
Ajmer (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of thousands of people have converged in Pushkar, a town in Ajmer District (Rajasthan), for the annual livestock fair (mela).
Traditionally known as Pushkar Mela, the event is famous worldwide for its unique cultural fête.
In addition to religious activities, the fair showcases cultural events, spiritual walks, a sand art and a kite festivals, etc. Performers take part in a religious procession and highlight Rajasthan's culture and colours.
An interfaith prayer meeting was also held, attended by people of all faiths. Father Cosmos Shakhawat, vicar general of the Diocese of Ajmer and director of the Office for Interreligious Dialogue of the Diocese of Ajmer, represented the Catholic Church.
“The Interreligious Friendship Association of Ajmer (Sarvadharm Maitri Sangh Ajmer) met for a spiritual march on the occasion of Kartik Ekadashi,[‡] an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar,” Fr Shakhawat told AsiaNews.
"The Department of Holy Places and Ajmer civil authorities organised this Yatra, which started the Pushkar Mela. The interfaith group in Ajmer was invited especially for an interfaith prayer and a spiritual march.
“Myself, as well as Sikh, Buddhist and Jain representatives were present along with Hindu clerics. Our group, Sarvadharm Maitri Sangh Ajmer, always participates in religious services, a symbol of communal harmony in the State of Rajasthan.”
[*] Eighth month in the Hindu solar calendar (October-November in the Gregorian calendar).
[†] Full moon.
[‡] Eleventh day of the month of Kartik.