A lively and colourful
event, the Camel Festival is organised by the Department of Tourism, Art &
Culture, Rajasthan in Bikaner every year. January is just the right month for
a desert spree, and Bikaner just the right place to see the Ships of the Desert.
In the camel country Bikaner, these desert leviathans pull heavy cart loads, transport
grain and even work at the wells.
The Camel Festival begins with a colourful
procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh
Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed
by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance and acrobatics,
The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest
direction of their trainers. Bridal, bridles, bejewelled necks, jingling anklets
and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands cast a magical spell. Hundreds of
tourists and thousands of locals and dignitaries revel in this man-and-animal
affair organised especially for the tourists.
The evenings close with
a different tenor and tempo altogether: a traditional rendezvous of renowned artistes
of Rajasthan and the local folk performers.
The jubilant skirt-swirling
dancers, the awe inspiring fire dance, and the dazzling fireworks light up the
fortified desert city of Bikaner.
Bikaner is connected by rail and road
with all the major cities. The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (243 kms.)