Camel Fair Bikaner 10-11 Jan 2009
A lively and colourful event, the Camel Festival is organised by the Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan in Bikaner every year. January is just the right month for a desert spree, and Bikaner just the right place to see the Ships of the Desert. In the camel country Bikaner, these desert leviathans pull heavy cart loads, transport grain and even work at the wells.
The Camel Festival begins with a colourful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance and acrobatics, etc.
The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their trainers. Bridal, bridles, bejewelled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands cast a magical spell. Hundreds of tourists and thousands of locals and dignitaries revel in this man-and-animal affair organised especially for the tourists.
The evenings close with a different tenor and tempo altogether: a traditional rendezvous of renowned artistes of Rajasthan and the local folk performers.
The jubilant skirt-swirling dancers, the awe inspiring fire dance, and the dazzling fireworks light up the fortified desert city of Bikaner.
Anup Mahal is the most beautiful palace in the Junagarh fort the gold Vermilion varnished work.Accents are effected by slighting the relief by replacing the vermilion background with a glorying green, blue and violet, by motifs treated completely in gold and by mirrors and mirrors or glass mosaic.This mahal also feature one throne where the rules would sit and entertain most of his foreign guests and highly placed officials. Old and antique carpets is product of Bikaner Jail,which leaves most visitors spell bound.
Vikram was the sanskrit name of Rao Bika Ji, it was the part of old palace.But in 1937 remodelled by Maharaja Ganga Singh as Diwan-I-Khas (hall of private audience) was use to receive kings, dignitaries.The most attractive, Sandal-wood throne.North to the throne up's there, the pavilion are jali (Net) screens to enable the women of the court to watch durbar hall without being seen anybody.This beautiful palace built by local red sand-stone from Bikaner, the dexterous fingers of the stone carvers have best created masterpieces of art.
Now a museum of arms, daggers, knives, chhuris, bow and arrows swords, shoulder plate guizis of royal past.
... remember to remove your shoes!
We met a lovely Indian family who was visiting and they took us around. One rat ran over my bare foot...very auspicious. And we spotted a rare white rat, also good luck. To further your karma you can eat the 'prasad', or holy food offerings that have been salivated on by the rats, but I drew a line at that.
Fortunately, the thousands of rats scampering everywhere are not the dog size rats of Bombay and therefore not so intimidating. I even felt comfortable stroking some of them. But bizarre? I cannot think of an adjective to aptly describe the worship of rats!