Tags: bikaner

The Fire Dancers at the Bikaner Festival 2009 in Rajasthan

I was lucky to have been in Bikaner to witness their annual camel festival held from January 10-12 this year. One of the most fascinating events was the fire dance performed by members of the Siddh who are known to have a special vardaan or divine powers to be able to walk and dance of burning wood and coal. See all the images on Flickr.

There was a group of these people who danced around a fire for over half an hour, and would take turns to walk over the embers. Of course they would do it quickly and hit the dusty ground immediately to try cool their feet. But there was no trick here: they were clearly barefoot - you and I would not be able to do this

A few of them also took burning pieces in their mouth and let out sparks. WOW. And it was all so surreal in the setting: It was past 10 at night, in a desert with a full moon. Beat that.

Some images are given below, or you can go to Flickr to see all.

When the dogs stop you from exploring Bikaner

Anyone who has spent time in India knows street dogs are everywhere. It may be the cows on streets that catch the fancy of those from outside India, but dogs are much more ubiquitous than the bovine species.

When I reached Bikaner two days back, I was advised against venturing on foot late at night as the dogs can turn ferocious, and bite people. Who said barking dogs don’t bite? In Bikaner, the dogs don’t seem to believe in this at least. No one said anything about early morning though.

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Test drive a Ferrari on the road to Bikaner in Rajasthan

If you are in India, and miss those highways where you can rev up those fancy cars of yours, head out to Bikaner.

It is one of those great drives where you can actually cover the Delhi – Bikaner distance of about 530 kilometers (330 miles) in seven hours which I did (plus an additional one hour coffee break). Except for certain stretches between Kotputli and Sikar, the roads are almost as good as any in the world. Not just your Ferraris, even your normal Honda or Suzuki sedans will feel like mean machines.

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