Rajasthan through eyes of ARU
ARU | 20th February 2018
Have you been to the Camel festival of Bikaner?
An ode to the ‘ship of the desert’ The distinguished Camel festival in Bikaner is one of the best proofs of the ubiquitous and incongruent Indian culture, which goes much beyond the spheres of religion and philosophy.An enthusiastic yet heartening jamboree that’s dedicated to the humble ship of the desert, the Camel festival is initiated by the Department of Tourism, under the State Government of Rajasthan. Orchestrated every year in the month of January, it is a celebration and a deed of dedication to the ever-dependable camels that are cognate with the state of Rajasthan.
The association of camels with Bikaner goes decades back to the era when the city had been newly founded by Rao Bika Ji. The fortified city of Bikaner surrounded by deserts on all sides, had no other option but to depend on these gentle mammals for commute. Serving as the only mode of transport amidst the vast,arid deserts and extreme temperatures, camels soon became an integral part of the city- life. In fact, history states that a camel troopby the name “Ganga Risala”,which was founded by Maharaja Ganga Singh, also formed a unit in the Imperial State Army. Having fought for the allies in historical wars like World War I & II and the Indo-Pak war, these camel troops are still employed by the Border Security Force of India. How it all unfolds: A two day affair, the Camel festivals kicks off with an interesting parade of charmingly adorned camels against the majestic milieu of the Junagarh Fort. As the day progresses, various mesmerizing events displaying the flairs of these majestic camels are staged before the audiences, prime among which are camel dances, creative fur cutting, camel acrobatics, best breed and camel milking contests. Watching elegantly bedizened camels compete against each other to win the camel beauty pageant, while their owners cheer for them, burgeons the fact that these desert-animalsarea matter of pride for the locals. The remarkable presentation of a multitude of camels in dazzling girdles, colorful necklaces and sonorous anklets make for a picturesque spectacle drawing photographers and journalists from all parts of India and abroad to capture this event. The camel festival of Bikaner also serves as an opportune time for camel traders, many of whom converge here during the festivalbesides the mesmerized tourists.
There’s a lot to it
The Camel Festival also takes you on an edifying ride across the food and culture of Bikaner, Rajasthan. During the fair, you get to gorge on scrumptious Rajasthani dishes including camel milk tea and sweetmeats, as you rejoicein the folk dance and music of the state. Flawless fire dances and puppet shows narrating popular folklores continue on the second day of the festival, which then comes to a grand closewith spectacular fireworkslightingup thesky of the garrisoned desert city. The next edition is tentatively slated for January 12 th and 13 th in 2019. Come visit at that time, and revel in the gusto yourself!