FAIR AND FESTIVALS OF RAJASTHAN
A lively and colorful event, the Camel Festival is organized by the Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan in Bikaner every year. January is just the right month for a desert spree, and Bikaner is just the right place to see the Ships of Desert. In the Camel country Bikaner, these desert leviathans pull heavy cart loads, transport grain and even work at the wells. The Camel Festival begins with a colorful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance and acrobatics, etc. The Camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their trainers.
The evening closes with a different tenor and tempo altogether: a traditional rendezvous of renowned of Rajasthan and the local folk performers. The jubilant skirt-swirling dancers, the awe inspiring fire dance, and the dazzling fireworks light up the fortified desert city of Bikaner. Bikaner is connected by rail and road with all the major cities. The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (243 Kms.)
The Elephant festival is an inimitable event held annually in Jaipur. Groomed flawlessly, rows of elephants do a catwalk before an enthralled audience like fashion models to make this festival an amazing one. The elephants move with poise in pageant, run races, lay the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. It is festival time with elephants typically celebrates one day before the Holi, Indian festival of colours. Staged at Jaipur Chaugan stadium elephants put up a variety programme and the arena is brought alive with musician and dancers. The crowd, which includes sizable presences of foreign and Indian tourists, electrifies the atmosphere. The festival starts with an impressive procession of the majestic animals lovingly painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets. There are deadly and fierce elephant fights. A ceremonial procession is recreated with caparisoned elephants, lancers on horses, chariots, camels, cannons, and palanquins.
Most of the participants are female elephants. The female elephants wear anklets along with painted trunks, foreheads, and feet with floral motifs. The game of polo forms the highlights of festival. Finally the tourists are invited to mount the elephants and play Holi. Participants dance with great vigor and the excitement rising to a crescendo. Jaipur was a favourite spot with the important personalities of the British rule and Maharajas always arranged for their guests of honour elephant rides upto the Amber palace.
The festival celebrating the reunion of Lord Shiva and Parvati is celebrated at the onset of monsoon. Teej is festival of swings. Young village girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs and swing in celebrating the advent of monsoon. An elaborate procession is taken out at Jaipur for two consecutive days with ornately dressed elephants, horses and camels, bands of various artists and colorfully dressed. Goddess Parvati is invoked to bless her worshippers with conjugal harmony and bliss.