MEN WITH CAMELS – Bikaner

Yes, this is a show camel, but it's a good show.

Yes, this is a show camel, but it’s a good show.

Bikaner is a small town by Indian standards, with a mere 2 million people eking out a living on the fringe of the Rajasthani desert. It also has an awful lot of camels.

Our tour organisers have arranged for a few of them to be waiting to greet us at the end of the red carpet leading us off the Maharajas Express. I think I may have mentioned once or twice that we were travelling on a luxury train?

The bike may be the way most people get around the desert these days.

The bike may be the way most people get around the desert these days. Fine if the road is up to it. If it’s not, you’ll need a camel.

There’s nothing like a few camels sprinkled around the streets to make you feel you’ve arrived somewhere exotic. Bikaner does feel like a frontier town, though the border with Pakistan is still a couple of hundred kilometres away.

Bikaner street camel

Bikaner street camel

A camel’s face doesn’t give a lot away. If it’s thinking anything it’s, ‘Okay, take my photo if that gives you a buzz. It’s all the same to me. I’m in no rush. It’s hot and I could do with a drink.’

The inscrutable face of the camel.

The inscrutable face of the camel.

The faces of men who work with camels have pretty much those expressions too. Perhaps they’re chosen for their faces and that’s how they get the job. They’re wonderful faces.

The camel man. He's not giving much away.

The camel man. He’s not giving much away.

Neither is this guy.

Neither is this guy, the man who plays the drum for the dancing camel.

...and this gentleman apparently earns his living from being colourful and standing by a colourful camel.

…and this gentleman earns his living from being colourful and standing by a colourful camel…

This camel man is in Jaipur, and his face is his fortune. If I had his job I'd try just to put up with it too.

This camel man is in Jaipur, and his face is his fortune. If I had his job I’d try just to put up with it too.

We can’t help it; we still have to take a photo of every camel we see.

Look - there's another one!

Look – there’s another one!

And we’re mighty impressed when as sundown approaches, our bus pulls up by some sand and we’re loaded onto our own camel carts for a trek out into the dunes.

Kids following our camel train.

Kids following our camel train.

Music to ride camels by. Sure it's a show, but who cares - it's got camels in it.

Music to ride camels by. Sure it’s a show, but who cares – it’s got camels in it.

The writer travelled on the Maharajas Express as the guest of Railbookers.

7 Comments

Filed under India

7 responses to “MEN WITH CAMELS – Bikaner

  1. I rode on a camel once at Fire Mountain on the island of Lanzarote – I don’t think I would do it again!

  2. So no bikes for you this time. I am a bit disappointed.

  3. I remember those camels so well I rode one for 4 days across the Thar desert. I also rode a bike for 4 days across to Agra

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