Camel Festivals across Rajasthan
Large areas of the State of Rajasthan are covered with the Thar Desert, and camels have played an essential role in the life and culture of the people of the region. Camels are one of the few who can survive the harsh conditions of living in a desert and are often referred to as the Ship of a Desert. Camels form a significant part of the livestock of the people living in the various villages, small towns and cities situated in and near the Thar desert.
Camels are revered as a highly significant beast, and Rajasthan is host to various camel festivals all across Rajasthan, which involve trading of these majestic beasts along with a cultural extravaganza which attracts a large volume of tourist and travellers to these camel festivals.
Bikaner Camel Festival
The Camel fair at Bikaner is an annual event which is organised by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture and this two-day event is held in January every year. This festival is celebrated honouring the ships of the desert and includes various activities such as camel dance, neck shaking rides on camels, camel races etc.
Various Celebrations at the Camel Fair, Bikaner.
This two-day festival commences with a colourful parade involving herds of camel beautifully decorated against the backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. These camels are adorned with sparkling bridles, traditional necklaces, heavy anklets etc. by their owners who wish to show-off and display these majestic beasts.
Travellers can also witness a wide array of events such as camel race events, camels indulging in various sports and games, and numerous traditional and cultural performances. These events attract thousands of travellers annual to Bikaner who visit the region to witness and experience the festivities of the Camel Fair.
The biggest attraction of this festival is the traditional Rajasthani Dance and music performances during the festival. Other events such as fire dance, acrobats, other forms of traditional performances add a lot of glamour to the festival. Performers from all over the country showcase and display their skills and entertain the visitors with their spectacular acts.
Another attraction of this Camel fair is ifs puppet shows where beautiful and colourful puppets shows are organised with the puppet dolls narrating various stories including local folklore. The festival witnesses a spectacular and a vivid firework display as its closing ceremony.
Travellers can indulge in some local delicacies during the festival which includes in traditional Rajasthani cuisines and highlight of the festival are special sweets and tea made of camel milk. Travellers can also shop for traditional handicraft, jewellery, pottery and other traditional articles.
Sightseeing around the Bikaner Camel Fair.
After commencement of the two-day Bikaner Camel festival, travellers can stay back for a few more days to explore various local attractions. These include the Junagarh Fort, which is famous for its complex and detailed stone carvings adorning the red and golden sandstones all over the Fort.
The Devi Kund, which is a collection of chattris or cenotaphs which showcase an amazing blend of the Mughal and Rajput architecture. The Kote Gate, which is the main entrance gate to the city of Bikaner, also separates the old city and the new city of Bikaner. The Bhandasar Jain Temple dedicated to the fifth Tirthankara of Jainism is a spectacular Jain architecture. The Prachina Cultural Centre and Museum and the Ganga Government Museum contains a wide array of historical objects, ancient artefacts and showcases a large range of terracotta objects ranging from medieval musical instruments, weapons, arms and armour from periods of various Rajput Kings, statues and artefacts of various time periods etc.
The Deshnok Karni Mata Temple, which is dedicated to Karni Mata is famous for its rats, who are revered in the temple and considered sacred. The Shiv Bari Temple is also known for its architecture.
Pushkar Mela is an annual livestock fair and also the most significant trading of livestock in India, that takes place in the town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, usually during the months of Oct-Nov every year. The city of Pushkar attracts almost a million visitors annually with 1/4th of the visitors visiting Pushkar during the fair.
The Pushkar Mela is not only about livestock trade and pilgrimage and is highly popular among tourist for a wide array of reason, especially among the foreign tourist.
Various Celebrations at the Pushkar Mela.
The Pushkar Mela is famous for its local culture and hospitality which attracts thousands of travellers annually to this region. Travellers can mingle with the locals, dress up in traditional Rajasthani attire, indulge in rich Rajasthani cuisine while witnessing the entire city Pushkar covered by decorated camels, colourful staffs, locals dressed in traditional attire, the divineness of the Pushkar Lake, etc.
The Pushkar Mela also hosts many live musical events ranging from traditional music to modern rock and music bands. Well known bands to have performed at the Pushkar Mela include the Indian Ocean, Prem Joshua and Band, Advaita and many more.
The Pushkar Mela is also the home to some of the strangest and most bizarre competitions in the world. These include bride-groom contest, a contest of pot breaking, tug-of-war, turban competition, moustaches and beard competitions, turban competitions etc.
The town of Pushkar have several local markets or bazaars, with the most famous being the Sarafa Bazaar, Kedalganj Bazaar, the Bada Bazaar which sells a wide assortment of traditional Rajasthani garments and handicrafts, jewellery, leather items, rose items, trinkets etc. These bazaars have a lively, colourful atmosphere filled with the hospitality of the local people which enhances the entire experience of shopping.
Sightseeing around Pushkar Mela
Travellers and tourist have a wide array of sightseeing options and activities to indulge in post completion of the Pushkar Mela and extend their stay at Pushkar to witness and experience the local sights and sounds of Pushkar. Travellers can experience hot air balloon rides and have a bird’s eye view of the colourful and vibrant sights and scenes of the fair while also enjoying the mesmerising natural beauty of Pushkar and areas around it.
The town of Pushkar is also famous for several outdoor activities such as camel and horseback safaris. Pushkar offers travellers a wide array of camel and horseback safaris from a short hour-long safari, sunset and sunrise safari to a full day Pushkar fair on horseback to an overnight camel safari with overnight camping in the desert under the stars. Visitors can explore the rustic landscape of Pushkar, travel through sand-dunes and enjoy the sights and sounds of the country-side of the region.
Further, any visit to Pushkar is incomplete without spending a night camping in the desert. With colourful tents set under the stars, festivities can last the entire chilly night with music and bonfire. Travellers can experience lives of nomads and tribal of Rajasthan.
Also, with over 52 ghats and 400 temples surrounding the sacred lake, the Pushkar Lake receives thousands of visitors every year who come here to take a dip and bathe in the holy waters of the sacred lake. Visitors can witness an assortment of sights and scenes at the Pushkar Lake which includes Hindu saints and sadhus, pilgrims’ bathing in the holy water and various religious ceremonies being held on the ghats of this sacred lake. Some of the famous ghats among visitors include the Bhrama Ghat, Varaha Ghat, Badri Ghat, Gangaur Ghat, Yajna Ghat and the Saptarishi Ghat.