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Camel Festival of Bikaner

Camel is regarded to be of much importance in the desert state of Rajasthan because the excellent roadways and motor vehicles are recent infrastructural and mechanical development. But the transportation in this desert area is still difficult even after this development and the survival of the people of this region depends on the 'Ship of the desert' - the Camel. The camels of this region were renowned for their breed as well as their strength and beauty. Even, the Bikaner army had a privileged camel corps called the Ganga Risala which took active part in both the World Wars. The Ganga Risala was a Camel unit in the army even after the Indian independence and it was used very significantly during the Indo-Pak wars.

The only Camel breeding center in India also lies in Bikaner. Camel can still be seen pulling heavy loads on carts in this region. So the camel festival is dedicated to these brave and courageous camels which are the life line for the people living in this region. The festival is held in the city of Bikaner, usually in the month of January, which begins with a colorful procession of ornamented camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the celebration advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed rivalry, the tug-of- war contest, camel dance and different acrobatic, performances.

Department of Tourism, Art and Culture organizes Camel festival in Bikaner every year with desert region's Folk dances and Music. These cultural events are added for maximizing the charm of this festival otherwise it is an exclusive camel festival when the ships of the desert are seen at their best performance. These quality breaded camels attract tourists from all over the world with their movements, charm and loveliness. A show of strange camel performances: camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides are performed during this festival.

The festival begins with the parade of beautifully ornamented camels, with bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and casting long, lanky shadows on the sand hypnotize the onlookers. The parade heads towards the open desert grounds covered with sands. Here, the festivities begin in solemn. The Camel procession is held on the first day wherein the possessors showcase their Camels' decorations and ornaments. Camel dance shows are also held to make it more interesting and attractive. A rivalry for the best ornamented camel, fur cutting design, camel milking and the finest camel hair cut is performed. The camels put on display amazing footwork, dancing stylishly to the slightest direction of their drivers. Colorful bridles, festooned necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadow on dusky sands, glow with a miraculous spell. During this festivity, the tea and sweets prepared by camel milk are made available to the visitors interested in enjoying them. On the next day, the bravest and fastest runner camels of the region take part in the camel races.

The contest is ferocious as the best camels vie for the honors. Many excited tourists and locals cheer the favorites. The triumphant, skirt swirling dances, the overwhelming fire dances and many other equally interesting performances entertain the visitors. The grand finale is a fantastic show of fireworks which illuminates the desert city of Bikaner. Indeed, you will be you speechless while participating and enjoying this festival.

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