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[B] The Body Art in Bikaner, Rajasthan | Travel Tales | #atoz

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!

camel fair in bikaner in the desert in Rajasthan - travel-hospitality- holiday-India-shekhawati

Fact File:

  • 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

You can hop over to read my other posts of my travels to some more unique and exotic destinations in Rajasthan, India here:



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74 thoughts on “[B] The Body Art in Bikaner, Rajasthan | Travel Tales | #atoz

  1. 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!
    Great B!

    1. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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. ☺️

    1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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 ☺️

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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!! 🙂

      1. That’s some serious piece of art on the camel’s fur! Never thought this would exist nor that black camels existed ☺️ very interesting!

        1. 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 🙂

  6. 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

    1. Thanks Shalzz. No yaar it’s not harmful at all. The camel was quite unperturbed while the guy trimmed him 🙂

  7. 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?

    1. Ha ha Zainab – I recently had a camel ride in Jaisalmer and thoroughly enjoyed it. Infact made my mom do it too 😉

  8. 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.

    1. Thanks for such high praise Roms – this post has really been quite popular and I wasnt expecting that 😉

  9. 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.


    1. 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! 🙂

  10. 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 😉

    1. 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!! 🙂

  11. 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.

    1. 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 😉

    1. 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!! 🙂

    1. Hey Debby- no this is not painful at all to the animal. Its similar to shearing the wool off its back!!! 🙂

  12. 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

  13. 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..

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

    1. 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!!

    1. 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!!

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