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.
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, 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.).