Nov 23, 2010 9:52:39 PM
World’s best festivals: Bikaner Camel Festival
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s A Year of Festivals.
Location: Bikaner, India
Dates: Varying dates in January (during the 10th month of the Indian lunar calendar)
Level of Participation: 2 – watch camels and then ride one
Home to India’s only camel breeding farm (and the largest such farm in Asia), and with a burgeoning camel-safari industry, it’s unsurprising that the Rajasthan city of Bikaner should have a festival devoted to – nay, obsessed with – camels.
Held over two days, it’s a homage to the humped ones. There are camel races, camel rides, camel tugs-of-war, a camel pageant, dancing camels, competitions for the best decorated camel and the best camel haircut, and even a camel beauty contest – they have the eyelashes for it, at least.
The festival begins with a pageant of decorated camels, while the second day belongs to the camel races. Nights offer the camels a break from all the adoration, and are given over instead to traditional dances, including Bikaner’s famed fire dances, which can now only be seen during this festival. The festival concludes with the inevitable fireworks.
Local Attractions: Continue the theme by joining a camel safari out of Bikaner, which now offers an excellent, offbeat alternative to the Jaisalmer safari scene. Tours of the camel breeding farm are also available.
More Info: Rajasthan Department of Tourism (www.rajasthantourism.gov.in)
See a list of other festivals in January here.
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