AJMER, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
INTRODUCTION: The camel, traditionally known as 'the ship of the desert' could earn itself a new title -- the racehorse of the desert.
AJMER, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
1. GV Camel cart races, circuit and stop. Several entrants, passing each other (6 shots) 0.32
2. GV & CU Spectators (3 shots) 0.43
3. GV Camel parade with women riders (2 shots) 0.59
4. CU Decorated women riders (4 shots) 1.14
5. CU Women in crowd 1.18
6. GV Testing loadbearing capacity of camels. Camel topples with many people on back (2 shots) 1.32
7. CU Crowd 1.34
8. GV Camel gets up with people on back. Riders falling 1.44
9. SV Crowd 1.49
10. GV Camel stands, people stay on briefly before falling as animal moves off 2.02
11. GV Donkey race (2 shots) 2.16
12. GV People watching from tree 2.18
13. GV Camel race (3 shots) 2.37
14. CU Riders 2.47
15. GV Winner 2.55
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Background: AJMER, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
INTRODUCTION: The camel, traditionally known as 'the ship of the desert' could earn itself a new title -- the racehorse of the desert. Though their build is cumbersome, camels can speed impressively across the sand -- as shown recently at a sports meeting in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
SYNOPSIS: A cart horse with a difference. It's not what you would expect to see at an international trotting meeting, but for the 200,000 villages of Ajmer, the event was the highlight of their sporting year. The pride of the local camel herd, urged on by their eager drivers, racing, and sometimes stalling, on the sand soft the Great Indian Desert. Out here, winning by a neck doesn't always mean a close race.
What counts is not the poetry of the spectacle, but the betting and the rivalry among friends.
These tribal women live more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) from the clamour and fashions of the Indian capital, Delhi. But they grasp the chance to show off fine costumes and their best jewellery. Many tribes inhabit the Rajasthan region. Some are wandering tradesmen and artisans; others farm the land or tend animal herds. Hinduism is their religion, and the main language is spoken in four dialects.
This is known as the Laddoo Camel contest desert version of "stacks-on-mill' A bunch of jovial people seem intent on disproving the old adage about a straw doing the ultimate damage to a camel's back.
First prize for the camel in this contest sis a week's supply of water. An ungainly running style helps to shed some unwelcome cargo.
It's up, up -- a few staggering steps -- and away. Fifteen men show how simple it is to dismount quickly from a camel.
The donkey also survives well in the desert. Donkey races are preferred by race goers with a taste for speed above charm, an who aren't bothered by the lack of a grandstand and conventional comforts.
Still, you can't get away from it -- the most appealing segments of Ajmer's sports day are the camel races. And they work best with a single jockey in the saddle. These jockeys are amateurs, but immensely skilled, many of them having been perched on camel saddles as infants even before they could walk. The Department of Animal Husbandry had organised the programme to encourage villagers to groom their camels for racing, which strengthens them for their labours.
Source: REUTERS - SATYA PRAKASH