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.
Intrigued? Pin it for later!
- 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.
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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
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- 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
74 thoughts on “[B] The Body Art in Bikaner, Rajasthan | Travel Tales | #atoz”
Wow! What a journey and stunning pictures – Interesting story. I can’t imagine caring for an animals for years, only then to auction it off – my heart would break! The body art’d camer is a beauty – I have NEVER heard or seen such a thing! & My 1 overpowering thought is this – If only I cared for my hair as much, I’d have long flowing tresses by now! lol!
Thanks so much Ish… you have gorgeous hair darling. Try the oil Mayuri has made. It’s great.
And yeah it can be heart breaking to sell off something this gorgeous n taken care of over ages. But that’s the whole point of beautifying it. So that it attracts a great price
That is absolutely gob-smackingly gorgeous – I’d ride his camel just because it was so pretty. I guess it gives the guy something to keep busy with while waiting around for riders!
Leanne | cresting the hill
I know Leanne, I was so attracted to this camel as it really stood apart. I would have loved to ride it too but I think the owner was only showing it off- no riding them during the fair.
Camel rides are great fun, though they get a bit adventurous when it gets up and sits down.
Wow! What an amazing piece of work. Does the camel stay still for so long? Your pics have so beautifully captured the art work. 🙂
Ha ha Radhika- good question! I saw it standing still and chewing cud. It was least bothered by the attentions of its owner. I am glad you liked the pics. ☺️
That is Beyond stunning! just Brilliant. and the photographs do the story great justice. ThumBs up for B
Thanks so much for the appreciation Nilanjana. I couldnt find you on twitter – or you not there?
Incredible! What artistry as well as patience. I agree with the thought of heartbreak when you have to part with an animal you’ve cared for for so long, as well as one you’ve invested so much of yourself into. Blog a Book as you Build a Better Blog
I agree Shirley. But the whole idea is to sell it to make more money. But this is just a creative side of the guy for sure.
Wow! Sheer living art, that is what that camel is. And after all that, the owner was willing to auction off that camel?
I hope not.
Something new I learned today.
Boketto and Bohni: Exotic words with no English Equivalent
Thanks Cynth. I guess the whole idea of beautifying the beast is to attract better sales.☺️
That’s super awesome info shalz. Haven’t seen such a camel fair. I m loving that camel’s hairy design patterns. Travel more to inspire us with your snaps and experiences. Have funOfun
Shalz that is interesting and amazing to know about camel fair. I loved that hairy design patterns on camel . Travel a lot and inspire readers with your snaps and experiences. Have FunOFun
Thanks Shraesta. I am glad you connected with what I have shared here.
Incredible post love, I so loved the showstopper camel and only you could have done justice to such candid description 🙂
Oh wow Roma – such feedback is what makes a blogger happy!!! Glad to know I have a fan of my work in you as you are an incredible writer yourself
Ooo! This is all such a beauty Shalini! And I am so intrigued to go once and witness it all!
Thanks Geets – I sure do hope you do
Wow! How beautiful! The camel seems proud. Rare colour for a camel indeed. And the design is so pretty. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
I know even I didn’t know camels could be black and the patterns looked gorgeous against his skin. Thanks for the encouragement.
Cheers Preethi ☺️
My goodness – that black camel with its fur cut was quite a sight to see. Incredible. And the owner – a real artist!
Blame #Lexicon of Leaving
I know- right!!! I was really taken aback too.
Thanks so much for stopping by Kalpana ☺️
Oh wow! That’s amazing art…imagine getting the camel to stay still throughout that process!
Yeah Sanch, it actually is least affected by it. I witnessed some camel shearing too in Pushkar – even with the sound of the shears, the camel is calm and just sticks to chewing patiently.
That was simply amazing. I had no idea of what bodies you were talking about till I read this post. Mind boggling designs.
Isn’t it just!?! I was stunned too at first and couldn’t get over it. But apparently among the camel folks this is normal stuff and most of them possess this level of creativity and patience.
Oh wow! that was stunning! I’ve never seen anything like that on a camel, and I live in Jaipur! No wonder he’s been a winner for 3 years straight. Thank you for sharing this.
Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com
I know what you mean Chicky. I am from Jaipur too and been to most of Rajasthan – Pushkar, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Alwar…. but never seen this anywhere in all these years. God bless the homestay manager for sending me to this fair. I loved seeing the village fair and thoroughly enjoyed clicking the camels.
Amazing pictures Shalini 🙂
Have seen similarly styled camels in the Pushkar Fair and just like you, I was in awe of the meticulous craftsmanship that brings about such photogenic results.
Thanks Era – yeah Pushkar had some such camels too when I visited later that year!! 🙂
Wow that is gorgeous. I cannot imagine sitting next to the camel for 45 days to create that. I guess the nice thing is if you mess up on any area, you can let the hair grow back and try again. That must take a lot of upkeep as well. Very cool.
Thanks Allyse – yeah you are right about messing it up. And yes this is a painstaking process but the guy seemed such a pro at it and loved it!! 🙂
How breathtaking! I’ve never seen a black camel and certainly not one with such exquisite body art, Shalini! WOW.
Thanks so much Shailaja. I a, so happy to hear such praise from you 🙂
I didn’t knew about this kind of body art before. This looks incredible on the camels.
I know- I was stumped by it too and thats why did this post on it 🙂
This is a crazy crazy fact I’ve come across from your post. Amazing. Look forward to more such facts and posts. 😀
Thanks so much Ashwini – such lovely words , made my day man 🙂
That’s some serious piece of art on the camel’s fur! Never thought this would exist nor that black camels existed ☺️ very interesting!
I hear you on that as even I was surprised to see black camels. The artwork is another level of art isnt it? I was so awestruck by it that at first I thought they had painted the camel 🙂
Amazing pics, Shalini. I loved seeing the camels and riding on them on my visit to Jaisalmer. The body art looks stunning. Is it harmful for the animal in anyway? :O
Thanks Shalzz. No yaar it’s not harmful at all. The camel was quite unperturbed while the guy trimmed him 🙂
This post makes me want to ride a camel! I this I rode one when I was a small kid,)
You’d pics are wow – what camera do u use?
Ha ha Zainab – I recently had a camel ride in Jaisalmer and thoroughly enjoyed it. Infact made my mom do it too 😉
I use a Canon 70D DSLR camera – it’s my pride and joy!!!! Do you like photography Zainab 🙂
Body art is a fascinating form of art, in that it takes it usually takes expert(s) to create spectacular art right on skin but I did not expect something on an animal that too on camel would be done! Bookmarking this amazing post.
Thanks for such high praise Roms – this post has really been quite popular and I wasnt expecting that 😉
Creativity is a wonderful thing! I hope the camel wasn’t in discomfort though. What a tremendous idea to execute. The design looks flawless. Great post.
Thanks Anjali – no the camel was in no discomfort or pain. Infact this is a regualr practice and is similar to shearing off the wool off its back. It was quite content to chew cud while his owner jumped around to trim the design! 🙂
That’s classic artwork with scissors . Beauty
Thanks Aditya. I was lucky to see this guy working on the camel. 🙂
Omg! Never knew that kind of art existed. such intricate work.No wonder the guy has been winning 🙂 Lovely post.
Looks like you will make me visit Rajasthan 😉
Thanks Parul – yeah India is amazing and Rajasthan is just incredibly beautiful. Look out for an amazing temple place that I will share soonest from there!! 🙂
That’s amazing body art and the artist is a master in his craft. I was showing these pics to my husband and he said that this type of body art is even done on cows and on legs of horses in animal fairs. Henna designs are made on cows as well.
Thanks so much Shilpa. I didnt know about the cows and horses also as never seen them. Thanks for the heads up as I will keep a look out for them now 😉
I am blown away by the thought that you were sharing my post with your Hubby – feeling popular and Kickass 😉
Honestly I feel sad seeing animals that are made to go through such nonsensical human attractions
Hey Bhavya – dont be sad. This is not painful or irritating for the animal. Infact these beasts are quite treasured by their owners and were very well fed!! 🙂
I love those pictures. I’ve been there! What a great post.
Thanks so much Jacqui 🙂
That is quite attractive for those camels. I’m for it, as long as it doesn’t hurt or harm them in anyway.
Baby Boomers – sheltered from life’s fallout??
Hey Debby- no this is not painful at all to the animal. Its similar to shearing the wool off its back!!! 🙂
I never knew this kind of art also exists. I heard about Camel fair but this is something amazing and uncalled for. Thanks for sharing. I am loving the detailed pics of yours Shalz
Thanks Upasna – yeah this was a stunning surprise for me too and I loved experiencing it! 😉
OMG!! like my little one would say.. the Camel fair is something on my bucket list for sometime now.. and looking at this has moved it up my list 🙂 incredible..thanks Shalz..
Thanks so mych Vidya – this fair happens in Jan end in Bikaner region of Rajasthan; actually most districtts of Rajasthan have the fair as its one of the main things there. Pushkar is another huge place where a camel fair takes place. I hope you do get your wish soonest!
I’ve never been able to travel outside the U.S. but your words and pictures made me feel like I was watching the event with you. I never thought of a camel as a living piece of art!
Thank you for sharing your adventure.
Thanks for dropping in Rose – your comments have made me so happy! Glad you enjoyed it. Stay tuned to read about some more – all april as I dig into my archives for such moments!!
Wow! Now I know the middle east loves it’s henna or Mendi but Camel body Art. That’s a new one on me.
Thanks Carl. Happy AtoZing 🙂
Body Art!!!! This is one of kind thing I witnessed through your beautiful photos. Do they apply some kind of color on camel? Or is it the original color of the camel ?
This is the original colour of the camel; their hair and skin are this colour. Even I was perplexed at first, till I went up close and checked it out!!
What a great post, I’ve never seen a post like this before so i love that you share something unique! Interesting too!
Thanks so much Zoe- I fell in love with it and just had to share it. So happy to know you loved it too 🙂