Camel known as Ship of the Desert is one of the important ecospecies that survive harsh desert heat. With its body evolved to support the lack of water, sand dunes, hot weather condition and walking on a hot sand Camel is known to be preferred means of transport in deserts worldwide. From many centuries to till this date, there has been not any animal used as a mean of transport carrier in the desert except camels. Due to this, camels have been used in warfare till date and have occupied special status with regards to the military. The Thar Desert or Great Indian Desert is one of largest desert land in the subcontinent of India has many of Indian Breeds of Camels that are situated in the state of Rajasthan. So much so that these have been part of Bikaner Camel Corps which fought during World War I and World War II.
Being a known place for Camels, Rajasthan has a specific Camel Research Center located in the city of Bikaner which was established by Government of India in the year 1984 under Indian Council of Agricultural Research and upgraded to National Research Center on Camel in the year 1995. The centre focus on addressing Issues of Single Hump Camel found in arid regions of Rajasthan and Haryana and Double Humped Camel situated in colder regions of Ladakh. One of must-visit tourist attraction in Bikaner, the research centre allows tourists to witness different breeds of camels and their behaviour. There are facilities such as Camel Riding, Safari with an option for Photo/Videography available for tourists. One of the most crowd gathering places here is the availability of Camel Milk at Camel Milk parlour where a vendor sells products such as Camel Milk Ice-cream and other hot and cold beverages prepared using camel milk.
There are 5 local breeds of camels which include Bikaneri Camel, Jaisalmeri Camel, Kachchhi Camel, Mewari Camel and Jalori Camels. We can find 230 camels of 3 of the breeds here at the centre where they focus on how to improve the local inbreed camels via genetic improvement through conventional and molecular means of increasing production and productivity. How camels adapt to changes in temperature, humidity and stress physiology, camel reproduction and physiological efficiency, management of camel disease and its health conditions, development of camel management including human assistance in camel health and husbandry etc. These areas are main which are concentrated in the National Camel Research Center where we can learn about camels in general.
People of all ages can visit this centre and it is open from 14:00 – 18:00 hrs every day and tickets can be purchased at the counter. Ticket price costs 20INR for Indian citizens and 50INR for citizens of other nationals. One of the must-visit places in Bikaner where you would learn about Ship of the desert i.e., camels and it would be informative for children to learn about these majestic creatures of arid lands called Camel.