Camel Festival India

Bikaner Camel Festival in Images

Camel races at the Bikaner Camel Festival, India

Camel Festival in Bikaner, India

My dreams (both day and night) are still filled with images of the snow-tipped Himalayas, the burning ghats in Varanasi, traditional weddings, the spectacular Taj Mahal and scenes of the Thar dessert, be it camping under the starry sky on a camel trek, or standing under the relentless sun to watch camel jockeys race their long-legged friends across the sand to great crowd applause.

The Bikaner camel festival is a smaller version of the more famous event in Jaisalmer, but it’s still worth a stop on your itinerary. Bikaner itself is a fantastic little town in the northern tip of Rajasthan, India’s desert state, and the annual camel fest takes place outside of town near a village called Ladera.

Bikaner Camel Festival

Bikaner Camel Festival

Upon arrival, camels and their owners prance around in bedazzled decor, in search of paying riders. There weren’t many foreign tourists in attendance, but the Indian children love to climb on a tall animal’s back and see the view from above. I had yet to go on a camel safari (that would come later, outside Jaisalmer), but I saved my money during this event and focused on hydrating myself instead. Standing on the sand in 100+ degrees felt like  sauna.

Bikaner Camel Festival Bikaner Camel Festival

There were several concession stands set up, though many of the stalls sold the same things – either homemade candies like the ones featured above (they taste like fried sugar balls), or drinks including chai, soda and water. There were few places to get a meal, so sugar and water satisfied me during the eight-hour day.

Bikaner Camel Festival After a wrestling match, the crowd gathered around to watch a rather intriguing game of Kabaddi – a complicated and much more entertaining version of tag that is popular in these parts of the country. When the games were finished, the crowd barreled over a few dunes to sit beside the longest, flattest part of the desert, a place already groomed for the highlight of the day: camel races.

Bikaner Camel Festival

Crowd monitors enforced a line of bailing twine to separate the sometimes unruly camels and the overeager crowd, but each time the animals raced by with tiny men between their humps, urging them faster! faster!, the entire crowd stood, ran out onto the track and after the camels.. It was an act not unlike the way fans rush the court after their basketball team wins the championship; one that I will never quite understand.

I think these guys had the best view of the chaos, and all of it’s attempt to be orderly.

Bikaner Camel Festival India


Bikaner Camel Festival in Images
Written by:Jessica J. Hill

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6 Comments

  1. I love the photo from the camel race! The rider looks so into it! 😀

    We definitely have plans to hit up Bikaner when we make it to India—what time of year is the camel festival? We’ll be in India during the winter months, which hopefully will mean the weather will be a bit milder than what you experienced…

    • jessicajhill says:

      Thanks, Steph! And thanks for the nomination for Capture the Colour. My post will go up tomorrow!

      The Bikaner festival was in March, but I believe the Jaisalmer one is in January so you might be able to catch that one. Bikaner is still worth a stop though! It’s a quaint little town with friendly locals, and I can recommend a great Couchsurf host there if you like.

  2. Frank says:

    Great photos Jessica! Always enjoy your posts.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  3. Ankt Bansal says:

    I’ve never heard about this festival before. Rajasthan is also known as pink city and the fest part is their way of celebrating festivals. Every states in India are famous for their way of celebrating different festival. like in Rajasthan, West Bengal is famous for Durga Puja, Bihar is famous for Chhath Puja. You can check out the major festivals updates of North Bengal at: http://www.bengalfestival.com

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