Pushkar Mela
Camels walk as their herders lead them to an area to wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)

The world famous Pushkar Fair or Pushkar Mela, the annual five-day cattle fair at Pushkar in Rajasthan, began on Wednesday with camel race, music, songs and other cultural programmes. The event has attracted many foreign tourists.

The Pushkar Mela is one of the world's largest camel fairs held annually in the month of October or November, where trading of livestock, including camels, cows, sheep and goats, takes place.

Naseem Akhtar Insaf, Pushkar MLA, inaugurated the fair. The fair begins on the 8th day of lunar calendar and ends on the full moon day.

It has become one of the important tourist attractions in India in recent years. Buying and selling of livestock dominates the first half of the five-day fair while religious activities and other programmes dominate the second half. 

Ajmer district administration has declared a public holiday on November 27 on account of major celebrations during the fair, The Times of India has reported. On November 28, the fair will come to an end with a special camel parade and cattle show, followed by "maha aarti," according to the TOI.

 Check out some of the stunning pictures from the mela: 

Camels walk as their herders lead them to an area to wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
Camels walk as their herders lead them to an area to wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
Camels run as they arrive with their herders at the Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
Camels run as they arrive with their herders at the Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A hot air balloon carrying tourists flies over camels for sale at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A hot air balloon carrying tourists flies over camels for sale at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A herder tries to put his camel in the sitting position at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012.  (Reuters)
A herder tries to put his camel in the sitting position at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder looks on while waiting for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder looks on while waiting for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012. (Reuters)
A woman sits among camels as she collects material to make a bonfire at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A woman sits among camels as she collects material to make a bonfire at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder kisses the nose of one of his camels as he waits for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder kisses the nose of one of his camels as he waits for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
Camels walk as their herders lead them to an area to wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
Camels walk as their herders lead them to an area to wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder attempts to control one of his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder attempts to control one of his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder walks his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
A camel herder walks his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012. (Reuters)
Camel herders sit around a bonfire to warm themselves as they wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012.
Camel herders sit around a bonfire to warm themselves as they wait for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 22, 2012.
A woman carrying a metal container walks past camel herders waiting for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A woman carrying a metal container walks past camel herders waiting for customers at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder sits near a camel at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder sits near a camel at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder stands among his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder stands among his camels at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
Camel herders warm themselves by a fire at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
Camel herders warm themselves by a fire at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder lights a fire to cook on at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.
A camel herder lights a fire to cook on at Pushkar Fair in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 23, 2012.