While visiting Shekhawati, my home stay manager suggested we check out the camel fair that takes place annually in the desert, just 40 km from Bikaner, where cattle owners come to sell their livestock and it’s quite a catwalk event as the animals are dolled up for probable sales.
⇐ Shekhawati is known to be the largest open air gallery in Asia and you can read more about it here⇒
Intrigued, I set out for an amazing drive on a beautiful tarred highway cutting through acres of sand dunes. In places, the wind had shifted the sand onto the road, making driving a tad bit difficult as the tyres wouldn’t find the friction, resulting in the car sliding here and there – quite an adventure I tell you.
It was easy to spot the venue in the desert as most folks I saw on the road (whether walking or in carts) were headed that way. I guess I was quite an oddity as a woman who was also driving a car (I was gawked at, at every turn and curve by young and old alike)
Rows of camels, decked in multi-hued mirrorworked fabrics, could be seen standing patiently up on the sand dunes – it’s a sight that I will never forget. They looked like models waiting to catwalk rather than animals about to be auctioned.
I chatted with a couple of the owners, who squatted equally patiently, next to their prized cud chewing mammal and each one spoke about their love and pride for them. I was quite surprised to see the emotion, considering that these were on sale.
Then I happened to spot Edward scissorhands!!! I am not kidding!
This one gentleman was busy with a pair of scissors, working patiently on his camel’s fur which he had sheared into multitude of patterns and motifs. I felt as if I was seeing the henna-ed hands of an Indian bride. The beauty of it all was the neatness and symmetry of the design which made the camel stand out from all the rest. Bonus was the colour of the camel – black as opposed to all the sandy ones around.
And that is the idea, I guess. The gentleman confirmed it when he proudly stated that his ship of the desert has been winning the competition here three years in a row. WOW! so there was really a catwalk and this guy was the showstopper!
Can you imagine the patience of growing out the camel’s fur and then shearing it to this precise and neat design? BTW it takes 45 days to work out the body art on the camel! And after the design has been set and cut, regular trims are done to ensure all the hair is equal in length.
Phew!! This is one body art that stayed in my mind ever since and I have kept a lookout for any such camels on my subsequent trips to Rajasthan, without much luck!
“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” ― Johnny Depp
What do you think of this design crafting on an animal’s body?
Do you have any pics of any unique glimpses from your travels?
Please do share your thoughts on this body art.
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- Bikaner is located about 330 km from the capital city of Jaipur Rajasthan,India which is also the nearest airport from it.
- Bikaner is well-connected to several major Indian cities via the Indian railway network.
- The Junagarh fort and the LaxmiNiwas palace are two of its most treasured heritage.
A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant ones too. I specialize in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community.I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.
You could get in touch with me for:
- Interior design services for your property
- Training and implementing of green practices at your property
- Doing an honest Travel reviews for a unique stay anywhere in the world. If you liked this review and would like for me to visit your property, please drop in a mail at email@example.com
You can hop over to read my other posts of my travels to some more unique and exotic destinations in Rajasthan, India here:
- You have got mail in Udaipur
- Colours of devotion in Udaipur
- Majestic Kumbhalgarh Fort in Udaipur
- Wish upon the stars in Jaisalmer
- RavanaHatha in Pushkar
- Leather that weathers in Pushkar
- Japanese Kalbeliya dancers in Pushkar
- Pushkar – a foodie haven!
- Stopover at Rawla Narlai