Camel Festival in Bikaner Rajasthan, Bikaner Camel Festival
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Camel Festival in Bikaner Rajasthan, Bikaner Camel Festival
Camel Festival in Bikaner Rajasthan, Bikaner Camel Festival
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Rajasthan Tours Travel  »  Festivals of Rajasthan  »  Camel Festival - Bikaner

Camel Festival - Bikaner

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Camel Festival , Bikaner In the very heart of the Thar desert lies the camel country of Bikaner, famous for its architectural marvels, its hot and spicy cuisine and its larger-than-life Camel Festival. Camels have always been an integral part of the culture of Bikaner and to this day it is using the loyal, submissive and low maintenance camel for all its needs. They transport grain, pull heavy carts, work the wells and have a rich historic significance. In medieval times, along with pulling caravans, camels were also an integral part of the state's defense strategies and even now they are used by the Border Security Forces to patrol the border along Pakistan.

So each year in the winter month of January a two-day Camel Festival is organised to celebrate this humble beast. An initiative of the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture, Government of Rajasthan, it has become hugely popular with the locals and also a big draw for visitors. Bikaner is the only city in the country to have its own camel breeding farm, but during the festival the indigenous camels of Bikaner are joined by a staggering number of camels that travel across the golden sands to collect at this venue. They come from all directions, their masters astride them, flicking the sand at every step with casual ease. And during the days before and after the festival this barren landscape is full of such camel caravans carrying men, women and children to the festival.

The scene of the festival is thoroughly captivating, men and women are dressed up in their brightest most flamboyant outfits, men sport big multicoloured turbans and women wear the traditional skirts and ornate jewellery. The prize winner however is the camel, who has been washed, preened and then decorously laden with beads and finery.

Dancing camel Bikaner Camel Festival Rajasthan IndiaThe festival starts with a procession of these beautifully decorated camels which are led through the city streets to the open sands ground, the venue for the festivities. Once at the venue, the camels are truly in the limelight and its time for them to show their mettle. Here the camels compete for the title of, 'the Best Decorated Camel'. The fur designing, camel milking and camel hair cutting competitions are also very popular and a chance for the locals to showcase their imagination. The camel can also dance, really, don't be surprised, he has been trained well and many who compete in the dance competition have some nifty footwork to show. Definitely a must-see event. The camel races are as thrilling as they sound, hordes of camels go charging down the field in a blaze of dust and glory. The competition is fierce as the best camels vie for the honors, thousands of excited tourists and locals cheer the favorites. Its the day of the camel and resplendent in all their finery and showcasing their many talents this beast will surely win you over.

The camel is the lifeline of the desert folk, not only is he their vehicle but also their provider, amongst other things it provides them with an abundant supply of camel milk. Many stalls at the festival are lined with sweets made of this milk and the hot and syrupy tea, again made from camel milk is also a must try.

After all the excitement of the day, the nights are given to cultural displays, song and dance have always been popular here and the visitor is treated to some famous exhibits. The rare Fire Dance is one such performance, a devotional dance performed late on a winter night, it sees dancers perform on large beds of flaming coals, their steps move to the beat of drums that rise in crescendo till the dancers appear to be in a trance. And no, they don't have any blisters to show later on. The other dances may be less dramatic but are equally fascinating, skirts swirl as women dance to haunting desert rhythms in perfectly co-ordinated sequences. The grand finale is a magnificent display of fireworks which illuminate the desert city of Bikaner.

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