Camel is a important, loved and respected animal of the desert. There are very few events held in the honor of animals across the world. One of such events is the “Camel Festival of Bikaner”, which is an annual event held in the month of January. In my travels across the state of Rajasthan I learned a lot about these beautiful animals. The more I traveled the more I fell in love with this wonderful specie. I wrote a post on these beautiful animals earlier and can be read here “Camel…..The cultural Identity of Rajasthan” . In 2008 the Camel Festival will be held on 13th and 14th January. The event is a 2 day event and attended by locals as well as tourists from all over the world. It is a sought after event in Rajasthan. The event is organised by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture of Princely state of Rajasthan. The event is held every year in the honor of the ship of the desert “Camel”.
The Camel Festival starts with a colorful parade of beautifully decorated camels. The other events that follows are Camel Race, Camel Games, Tug of war, Wrestling, Turban Tying Competition, Camel Milking and other cultural programs. Rajasthani Folk Dance Performance is one of the major attraction of the event.
The ceremonial process starts around 11 am from Junagarh Fort and ends at Dr. Karni Singh Stadium. Dr Karni was the last Maharaja of Bikaner state to hold the title of “Maharaja”. He lived from 1924-1988. He was a shooter and participated in five Olympic Games from 1960-1980. He represented India at Clay Pigeon Shooting. He was also a politician and Member of Lok Sabha (MP).
The route of the Camel Parade
The camel of this region are famous for their endurance, strength and beauty. The Bikaner Army had an elite Camel Corp, which was known as “Ganga Risala”. This Camel Corp took active part in both the World Wars. The unit was continued after Independence of India and also took part in Indo-Pakistan war.
The City of Bikaner was founded in the year 1488 AD by the Rathore Prince Rao Bika, son of Rao Jodha of Marwar. It is a beautiful city. While in Bikaner do not forget to visit:
- Junagarh Fort: one of the best maintained forts of India
- The famous Rat Temple of India – Karni Mata Mandir
- National Research Centre on Camel
- Old Bikaner City and watch beauty of some of the old havelis
- The royal Cenotaphs
- Ganga Singh Museum