Follow that camel!

By Jo Finzi

Look out for the Bikaner Camel Festival in Rajastan on 2nd and 3rd of January. The festival kicks off with an amazing procession of camels dressed up in their finery.

The camels are then put through their paces in numerous displays of racing, dancing and acrobatics. There’s even a beauty competition! pictureThousands of people from all over Rajasthan and beyond converge on Bikaner every year to witness the spectacle, including all the major camel traders in the region. So pay a visit and you may find a special souvenir to bring home!

Celebrations go on throughout the evening, with local musicians and folk performers entertaining the crowds. It’s then time for skirt-swirling and fire dancers, followed by a finale of dazzling fireworks that light up the skies above this fortified desert city.

Bikaner is a walled city founded by Rao Bikaji, in 1488. It has a 16th century fort that houses palaces, temples and a mosque. It also has 37 pavilions, with a line of balconies and aerial windows of intricate designs. A vast arched doorway leads to the Joramal Temple. A “must see” is the royal chapel, Har Mandir, where royal weddings and births were once celebrated.

January is a perfect time to go to Rajastan or “Land of the Kings”. The days are not as muggy, humid or hot as in the searing heat of summer. The evenings can be quite chilly though, so take something warm.

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