Monday, May 14, 2012

Bikaner camels and the camel festival

Rajasthan is a province in western India. See it there on the map below?

The name, Rajasthan, means land of kings and it once was. The word for king in Sanskrit - and in the modern language, Hindi - is raja. The word for great king is maharaja.

There is a town in western Rajasthan, called Bikaner. There the camels arrive with loads of grass, nightly. Here an interactive panorama of that market.

In the old days, the maharajas had their armies, with horses and camels as transport, during the British colonial times too.

Camels are still used as transport in Rajasthan.

The camels were and are especially useful because the terrain in parts of Rajasthan is desert.

The men in Rajasthan wear marvelously colorful turbans

and some great mustaches

Maharaja Ganga Singh

He lived in a huge palace, Lalgarh, in Bikaner, which also contains the fourth largest private library in the world. The royal family still lives in part of the palace and there are parts of the palace that are hotels now.
Maharaja Ganga Singh also created the Bikaner Camel Corps.

Fun old fashioned toy

Naturally, there are camel breeders, who take pride in their creatures. Once a year in Bikaner, there is a camel festival, where there are - among other things -shows of camel dancing, camel racing and beauty pageants.

Bikaner Camel Festival

From January 8th to 9th, camels bedazzled with a colorful array of Rajastani textile, march into the city of Bikaner to compete for the title of pageant champion. While many are used for racing, some of these animals are born to dance and compete in acrobatics. But the most captivating spectacle of the day is easily the beauty contest.


Apparently there is camel milk for sale in Bikaner but it's not often considered tasty to most humans.

In the Arab Emirates they like camel milk
There is even camel milk chocolate

And camel milk ice cream


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