Well, the National Research Centre for Camel at village Jorbeer is one of the destinations one should not miss when travelling to Bikaner. Infact, visit the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke and proceed to this place. The visiting hours are in the late afternoon so plan accordingly
This place houses a museum on camels, camels of different breeds — both adult and calves, camel ride, camel milk products and leather/hair products besides the research centre. More of an educational destination with some fun thrown in for those who take interest in animals.
I have had an unpleasant experience with camel milk in one of my trips to Salasar, so refrain from any indulgence in its milk & its products. But this in no way should deter you from trying it out ….. in fact most people seem to relish them, especially the kulfi.
It was fun watching the huge number of camels in a place. Pretty quiet and peaceful lot. There was a separate enclosure for the males, females and calves while the aggressive and sick have special enclosures. There are guides to show you around though I think they need to share and show more for what they charge.
The centre maintains 300+ genetically improved elite camels comprising of Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Mewari, Kachchhi and some cross breeds. Besides the research work on camel improvement they also have the facility of animal husbandry, popularizing of camel milk and its products etc
The Bikaneri breed are attractive, have a good height with a strong built and active habits. Their skin color varies from brown to black, in some reddish tinge is also found. Those with ample growth of black hair on eyebrows, eyelids and ears are called jheepra. The fore head has a well-marked depression above the eyes, which is characteristic of this breed. They are one of the major camel breeds found in India and are well known for milk and draught potential.
The Jaisalmeri camels are medium sized with long and thin legs. They have a thin neck and prominent eyes but no luxuriant growth of hair on their eyebrows, eyelids and ears. The body color is predominantly light brown. They have thin skin and short hair and are well known for their racing potential.
The Kachchhi camels are generally brown to dark brown in color with absence of hair on eyelids and ears. They are stouter, shorter and dull to look at with a loose muzzle. They have hard and thick foot pads which help them adapt to the humid climate and marshy land of Kutch. This breed is known for milk production,
The Mewari breed’s colour varies from light brown to white. They are well adapted to travel and can carry loads across hills. The body hair is coarse and it protects them from the bites of wild honeybees and insects. They have a heavy head, thick neck and loose muzzle. They are known for their milk production potential.
We did not come across any Bactrian or double humped camel (found in the cold desert of Nubra Valley of Ladakh) so not sharing its details.
We did a short camel ride within the campus. Even though this was my third camel ride I remained all tense during the ride 😀 The museum updates one on the developmental and research aspects of the camel in the desert ecosystem. Its is not a well developed museum hence there is a scope for improvement to make it interesting.
You can shop for camel leather jooties (like mule footwear), camel hair stole, camel hair and silk shawl. Other things one can buy are decors made of camel bone / teeth, bags/wallets made of camel leather etc. There is not much variety but sufficient enough for souvenir shopping.
“…..ICAR-National Research Centre on Camel, Bikaner, is a Premier Research Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India….”
Read more about my Bikaner trip here
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Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe