Camel Festival, Bikaner ( January )
The Camel Festival organised by the Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan is a lively and colorful event. Held every year in the month of January, the otherwise quite desert city of Bikaner becomes alive in a riot of color as bedecked camels -the ships of the desert make their way to participate in the only festival that is held in their honor.
Camels have always played an important part in the history of Bikaner. Bikaner situated as it is in the heart of the desert belt, was always an inaccessible land and before the advent of modern motorways, the camel was the Lifeline of the people of Bikaner.
Famous for their endurance as well as their strength and beauty, these desert leviathans can still be seen pulling heavy carts, transporting grains and even working at the wells. Infact, such is their importance that both the Indian Army as well as the BSF have a separate elite camel corps that helps them in patrolling the Border areas.
And, with such a long association with Camels, it is but natural that a festival be organized in honor of these magnificent animals.
The two day festival starts with the procession of beautifully decorated camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. The procession then head towards the open sand grounds where the festivities begin. Various activities and competitions are held. Contests like best decorated camel, fur cutting design, camel milking, the best camel hair cut and camel races are hugely popular and one can find the largest number of audiences there.
Camel dance performances are also held and it is fun to see camels with bejeweled necks and jingling anklets dancing gracefully to the music. At the festival, visitors can also savor the various delicacies that are prepared from camel milk and enjoy the jubilant skirt-swirling dancers, the awe inspiring fire dance, and the dazzling fireworks that light up the fortified desert city of Bikaner.