During the festival different activities involving camels are organized. Camel traders and craftsmen who come from across Rajasthan converge on Bikaner for the festival. The Camel Festival also gives opportunities to shopaholics who could indulge in shopping some handicraft material from this place.
History of the Camel Festival
The festival has its roots in history. The festival was started to recognize the services of the camels. Situated in the heart of the desert belt, Bikaner was always an inaccessible land. Before the advent of modern motor vehicles, the survival of the people of this region depended on the "Ship of the desert" - the Camel. The camels of this region were famous for their endurance as well as their strength and beauty. The Camel Festival, in a way, reflects the long association of the animal with the dwellers.
In fact, the Bikaner army had an elite camel corps called the Ganga Risala which took active part in both the World Wars. The Ganga Risala was a Camel unit in the army even after the independence and it took part in Indo-Pak wars.
Celebrations of Bikaner Camel Festival
The festival opens with a parade of beautifully ornamented camels which in itself is a colourful spectacle against the red backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. The procession heads towards the open sand grounds. Here, the festivities begin in earnest. The Camel Pageant is held on the first day wherein the camel owners show off their Camels’ decorations and jewellery. Camel dance performances are also held. A competition for best decorated camel, fur cutting design, camel milking and the best camel hair cut is organized The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers. Colourful bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands, cast a magical spell. As the camels walk across the desert they make a jingling sound and look stupefying in middle of the desert. They are at their best and display some unusual stunts. The best-decorated camel is rewarded.
In this festival tea and sweets prepared by camel milk are made available to the visitors interested in enjoying them.
On the second day the camel race is organized. The swiftest animals participate in this race. At times the race can be very dangerous. Both locals as well as tourists throng the desert region to watch this race. On both days, the evening ends with a rendezvous with the renowned folk artists of Rajasthan. The jubilant, skirt swirling dances, the awe inspiring fire dances and many other equally interesting performances entertain the visitors. The Camel Festival ends with fireworks that light up the entire desert region. It is a visual treat to watch this illustrious sight.
Other Places to see
Bikaner is famous for Junagarh Fort, The Suraj Pol or Sun Gate, Lal Garh Palace, Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum, Gardens and Parks and many more.
Connectivity to Bikaner Festival
Bikaner is a well connected city with the nearest airport at Jodhpur, regular train services from Delhi, Allahabad, Kolkata etc and the travellers can also opt for bus services, rent car or jeep from the neighbouring states. Rajasthani festivals like Camel Festival are also a good way for promoting tourism.