Camel Festival revellers in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India 09 Nov 2016

Posted on 09 Nov 2016
Camel Festival revellers in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Camel Festival revellers in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Camel Festival revellers in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

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Camels are seen everywhere in ­Bika­ner, car­ry­ing people, transporting goods, pulling carts, ploughing fields, plod­ding patiently through trackless sands or sit­ting still in camps after a hard day under the blis­ter­ing sun. ­Camels are still very important in Rajasthan’s daily life for transport, milk, meat and hides. At most festivals, fairs and ­weddings, people pay tribute to their importance by decking out their camels in colourful ­gor­bunds (or­na­men­tal harness and cam­el accoutrements) dripping ­cowrie shells, coral beads, ­silver chains and silk tas­sels. It’s worth spending a little time watching the huge camel herds be­ing watered, fed and exercised at the State Camel Breeding Farm near Shiv Bari.

This is a unique camel breeding farm that produces superior camels for domestic and military use. Camels have been used in Bikaner’s military history since 1465 when the Bikaner Camel Corps was founded. The Ganga Risala Camel Corps served in both World Wars and during India’s border conflicts with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Together with the Jaisalmer Camel Corps, they are now the 13th Battalion of the Grenadiers and are a part of the border security force. The camels bred at Bikaner are famous for being able to carry extremely heavy loads. There are approximately 230 of them and at the centre you can visit the baby camels and enjoy a camel ride. 

Discover breathtaking Rajasthan by booking Insight Guides' Rajasthan: The Land of Kings trip, and visit Jaipur's fabled palaces, as well as sacred pilgrimage sites and, of course, the famous Taj Mahal.

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Andrey Gontarev/Shutterstock