Saddle up for the Bikaner Camel Fair India

I like to experience the unusual.  I think that life should be a bit of an adventure, and when planning trips I like to see if there is something a little bit odd that I could do, that’s why I’m considering visiting the Bikaner Camel Fair that is held each January in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India.

Bikaner is a town in the Rajasthan desert, and the camel is the traditional method of transportation there.  Because they were so important to the local economy, Bikaner’s camels are revered for their endurance, strength and beauty.  I must admit to ever thinking of camels as being beautiful.  I don’t particularly dislike camels, but their attractiveness factor for me is nil.  Mind you, camels probably think that I’m pig ugly too, so camels and me may be even.

The Camel Fair is the big event in Bikaner, and thousands turn up to share in the festivities and excitement.

The festival starts with a procession of ornately decorated camels, and then a camel pageant and camel dances are held.  They also have competitions for camel milking, and best camel haircut (I wonder if camels have mullets?).  According to the publicity surrounding the Camel Fair: “The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers. Colourful bridles, bejewelled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands, cast a magical spell.”

On day two they hold the camel races, a fierce competition for which major prizes are won.

Apart from the Camel Fair you can visit Junagarh Fort and Lalgarh Palace.  Bikaner has coach and rail links with other major cities, with the nearest airport being in Jodhpur, which gave its name to the riding pants.

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