you've ever wondered how much your loved ones would fetch in
exchange for camels, now is your chance to find out.
Serious camel traders from across the desert state of Rajasthan
descend on the walled city of Bikaner for the annual camel
festival on January 13 and 14.
Proceedings kick off with a parade in which the ships of the
desert are covered in brilliantly coloured drapes and beading.
The animals prove their worth in a series of races and dance
displays (yes, really). At the end of the day, it is the turn of
folk dancers to impress with their famous billowing skirts and
Other sights in Bikaner include the sixteenth-century fort which
is distinguished by its 37 pavilions. Once inside, seek out Har
Mandir, the church where royal births and weddings were
celebrated. Call the Bikaner Tourist Office on 00 91 151 27445
Fly from Glasgow to Delhi with Lufthansa from £414 return,
www.travelsupermarket.com. Travel from Delhi to Bikaner with
Rajasthan Roadway coaches
A lively and colourful event, the Camel Festival is organized 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, etc.
The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the
slightest direction of their trainers. Bridal bridles, bejeweled
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.
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.
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