An annual festival of Rajasthan, the Bikaner Festival is dedicated to the ship of the desert. It is also known as the Camel Festival of Bikaner. Bikaner is one of the major desert cities of the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan and the camel is the most prominent feature of Bikaner. Therefore the department of tourism of the government of Rajasthan has taken the initiative to showcase the importance and usefulness of the camel in the Bikaner way of life through this festival.
Legend behind the Bikaner Festival
The Camel Festival of Bikaner is held at the backdrop of the legendary red sandstone structure of India, the Junagarh Fort. This fort dates back to late 16th century India and is one of the architectural marvels of the country. Located close by is the Karni Matha Temple, an important praying place for the Hindus in Bikaner, where the bejeweled camels proceed from the fort.
The camels and local artists perform at the famous Polo Grounds of Bikaner.
Customs, Traditions and Cultural Importance of the Bikaner Festival
It is a custom of the Rajasthani locals to decorate their camels before they take part in the festival. The most common events at the festival include camel race, best breed of camel competition, camel milking, camel bands, designs made from camel fur and camel acrobatics. The owners have to train their camels before the month of January every year, when the festive celebrations start. Camels from all parts of Rajasthan participate in the events; camel dance is the most unique form of performance by an animal from any part of the world. The camels match steps to the local music and the folk dances of the Rajasthan villagers.
The festival generally takes place for two days in the second week of January. Fire dancing is another notable custom associated with the Bikaner Festival. It is said that the Siddh performers of Rajasthan have divine powers that assist them in playing, walking and dancing on fire bare skinned.
Camel beauty contests are also arranged where the most beautiful camel is crowned winner of the year. The Rajasthan government has introduced this event to uphold the culture of the state through the display of color and gaiety. The Bikaner Festival is the perfect occasion in Rajasthan to take photographs of the local beauty. The Camel Festival of Bikaner also has much in store for music lovers. Folk artists use unique instruments to belt out folk songs as the camels perform. Multi colored chunris and lehangas are as much part of the festivity as the camels are!
Do not forget to try the local cuisine on sale in stalls arranged at the Polo Grounds. Daal-baati, gujiya and choorma are the delicacies that a visitor must never forget to taste. Also try the sweets prepared from camel milk.
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