Tag Archives: Camels

Camel Race Day

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Its arrived!! At long last it is the season for racing. After having trained for close to a year, the camels get their chance to prove themselves.Those who have arrived early are relaxing, its warm, and they know that they will need all their energy for later on, once the racing starts. Others are arriving, all excited, and happy that the time has finally arrived.

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For some of the others, its just a normal day in the desert…..But wait, these are the ones on sale..once the races are over, many of the traders and owners of other camels will come here to inspect them and see if they will fit into, and benefit the herds that they already have.

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Back on the race-track, its not yet time for the races to start, and there are some that have come just to add a bit of flavor to the races. They do a leisurely lap on one of the tracks,  as if sampling what it would be like to race on it some day.

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OK, things are warming up now, suddenly the place has turned very active and businesslike. Announcements are made, and the herders start moving the camels towards the start pits. It is interesting to watch, because the animals are nervous, and anxious to get it over and done…slowly and reluctantly, they all make their ways through the gates and towards the start line.

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After a lot of coaxing and pushing, the camels are finally in their places and are waiting for the barrier to be raised in order to display their prowess and speed achieved over the past year.

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And then, without any warning the barrier is raised, and they are off……..

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It is a spectacle well worth watching. The dedication shown by the herders, the love between the owners and their animals, the entire festival with traditional tents, cultural dances and campfires, it is almost too good to be true. If you are ever in the Middle East during Camel Festival time (it generally happens between December and March), this is one event that you should witness.

 

 

At the Desert

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It is always an adventure going to the desert…..the very thought of being able to be there with the huge sand dunes, experience the strong wind blowing, listen to the sounds of nature, and have life slow down a bit ….the experience is soothing and rather priceless!!

Firstly you have absolutely no idea what you will encounter, there is always something happening there, you just have to be able to find it.

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The Camel herders are perhaps one of the more common sights that you will come across as you start venturing into the desert.  Being able to capture a picture of them just waking their herd of Camel, or against the backdrop of the large dunes is very satisfying, (although it would be a whole lot better of there were’nt so many tyre tracks on the dunes…that’s man announcing his presence there too).

SONY DSCSome others prefer to watch the sun go down with a birds eye view of the desert. It does make for some spectacular viewing, and must have been as challenging for them to make the trip up there (and down later on in the dark), as it would be satisfying for them to just sit there and watch the sun sink into the golden dunes.

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The light slowly slips away, another day has passed. Its time to bid farewell to these dunes, and get ready for the long drive back home.

 

The Daily Walk

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With the climate cooling down its the perfect time to travel to the desert to get some good pictures of the culture around us. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, and the fact that you may actually have to venture into the off-beaten track, you can find the trainers with their camels in the dunes. The satisfaction in getting these images is that other than the camels and their riders, there is no other trace of civilization around you.

We came across this group  more by chance…they suddenly appeared from behind a dune and we had to opportunity to make a few good photos before they again vanished behind another large dune. A few minutes after this the wind picked up, and we soon found ourselves in the middle of a lot of swirling sand, and very reduced visibility. There was really no way in which we could use our cameras without getting sand into them, and so decided to make our way back to our vehicle, all the while protecting our camera gear, while the sand kept getting into our eyes, mouth, hair and clothes. Something a little different from the normal routine day.

All in a Day’s Work

All in a day's work

 

Very often we tend to ignore the day-to-day happenings around us; seeing how busy we all are with our meetings, schedules and appointments. Unfortunately, we fail to realise that by doing this, we are slowly doing away with our past habits and ways of life,  and are now moving into a new way of living. This is why it is so important to preserve the cultural and behavioral habits of our surroundings.

Above is a picture of the trainers walking their camels in the morning, getting them used to the race track. This is something that happens every morning in the areas close to the Camel Race track in Dubai, and it has become such that most of the people that pass by, do not even glance towards the camels and their trainers. Interestingly, we also see a number of tyre tracks in the sand, the desert no longer belongs to the “ship of the desert” !

While modernization and progress is something that we all try to achieve in our lives, it is equally important to remember our roots, and try and strike a balance between the two.

An evening in the Land of Kings

A fun evening

Jaipur, the capital of India’s largest state is a city filled with forts and monuments,  by virtue of  its Rajput Rulers. One of the largest tourist centers in India, this city (also known as the “Pink City”) allows you to experience the culture, heritage and grandeur of days gone by; and there is no better place in Jaipur to experience this than the “Chowki Dhani” village.

Half an hour of driving through the crowded streets and you find yourself at the  entrance to the Chowki Dhani Tourist Village. As soon as you enter the doors, you pass into another place and time. Brightly painted haveli’s, colourful costumes and rich colours, traditional music and dance forms, pottery and handicraft, handprinted block printing, rides on colourful camels, puppet shows in the most basic form, traditional musicians and dancers; – all this followed by a sumptous Rajasthani Thali – makes your trip to Rajasthan truly unforgettable.

But thats not all; after you have dined; (I must warn you here…it involves sitting cross-legged on the floor, on large cushions, which is uncomfortable for those not used to it, but its when you have to get up that you really have a problem), you take a stroll acroos the open sands, and you will come across many traditional coir strung beds. Stretch out on these crude but extremely comfortable platforms, enjoy the gentle warm breeze as it travels over the hot desert sands, and gaze up at a sky full of stars. Its another world !

One can easliy spend a whole evening in this place without being able to fully participate and take in all the excitement and activity that it has to offer. You generally leave wishing this magical evening does not have to end !