Kapil Muni Fair
The largest fair of Bikaner, the Rajasthan Kapil Muni Fair is held on Kartik Poornima. The venue of the fair is Kolayat. It is located approximately 50 km to the southwest of Bikaner. This place was originally known as Kapilayatan, after the sage Kapil. It is believed that Sage Kapil did tapasya (meditation) at this place for the redemption of mankind. Even the sacred Puranas make a mention of Saint Kapil, along with the Kolayat Lake. It is believed that Kapil Muni was a descendent of Lord Brahma.
Located in an arid area, Kolayat has a lake with 52 Ghats. Some of these ghats are reserved for women. The Kolayat Lake has numerous temples on its ghats. One of the ghats is known as the Kapil Muni Ghat and houses a temple dedicated to Kapil Muni, consisting of a marble statue of the Muni. Kolayat is regarded as a great pilgrimage place. People think that a one-day visit to Kolayat holds as much significance as spending ten years at any other holy place.
Although the lake at Kolayat is thronged by devotees throughout the year to seek redemption, it holds a special significance at Kartik Poornima. Hoards of people swarm the place to take a dip in the holy water of the Kolayat Lake at the time of the Kapil Muni Fair of Kolayat near Bikaner. At the time of the Kapil Muni Fair of Bikaner, Rajasthan a cattle fair is also organized. The main animals traded during this fair are buffaloes, camels, horses and cattle. There is also a prize distribution ceremony, where certificates and prizes are given to the best breeders at the fair.
Karni Mata Fair
Situated at Deshnok, Karni Mata Fair of Bikaner, Rajasthan is held two times in a year. Deshnok is a small town near Nokha in Bikaner district. The Rajasthan Karni Mata Fair is dedicated to Karni Mata, an ascetic who spent her life working towards uplifting of the deprived and oppressed communities. Legend has it that she possessed mystical powers. She was the founder of Deshnok. In the present times, her main followers worship her as a goddess. She was also regarded as the patron deity by Charans, as well as the rulers of Bikaner.
The Karni Mata temple at Deshnok is constructed of stone and marble structure. Also known as Madh, the temple houses a 75 cm statue of Karni Mata, ornamented with a mukut (tiara) and garlands. There are also images of the sisters of Karni Mata and Avad Mata. It is a ritual among the Rajputs to bring their children to the temple for their first hair cut. The cut hairs of the children are placed at Mata's feet for her blessing.
The first fair (larger one of the two) is held during the period of March to April. It is the time of Navratras and the days of the fair are from Chaitra Shukla Ekam to Chaitra Shukla Dashmi. The second fair (the smaller one) takes place during the period of September to October. This period is the time of the second Navratras, the fair being from Ashvin Shukla to Ashwin Shukla Dashmi.
The Karni Mata temple is open to the public as early as 4.00 a.m. in the morning. First of all in the morning, Charan priests conduct Mangla-Ki-Aarti and offer bhog (special food). The most unique feature of the temple is the swarm of brown rats wandering at leisure inside the temple. The rats are believed to be lucky and are even made offerings by the devotees.
Bikaner Camel Festival
Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan organizes the Camel Festival in Bikaner every year. The festival takes place in the month of January. Rajasthan Camel festival is basically dedicated to Camel, the ship of the desert. It is held in the city of Bikaner with the massive and magnificent Junagarh Fort serving as the background. The camels, dancing to the tunes of their owners and trainers attract hoards of tourists to this festival every year.
Camel is regarded to be of much importance in the desert state of Rajasthan. And the worth of the camels is reflected in the way a proud breeder dresses up and displays his camels. A colorful procession of ornamented and decorated Camels marks the opening of the Camel Festival of Bikaner, Rajasthan. With the advancement of the festival celebrations, follow the other attractions of the Camel Festival including the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance, acrobatics, etc.
The efforts and the hard work of the trainer show in the way camels dance to his tunes and directions, displaying amazing footwork. The camels ornamented with bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and casting long, lanky shadows on the sand mesmerize the onlookers. In the evening, superb artists and folk dancers enchant you with their performance and charisma. Dancing with their skirt whirling in the sky, they present a figure of euphoria. Along with that, the fire dancers balancing burning lamps on their foreheads while dancing, leave you speechless.