Camel herding is in Durga Singh Rathore’s blood. “We have been here in Rajasthan working with camels for hundreds, probably thousands of years,” Mr. Rathore said. “Camels are our cars when we have to go somewhere. They are our trucks when we have to move our things. They are our tractors in the fields. We use them for everything.” So it is no surprise that Mr. Rathore’s family uses camel milk for their morning cups of chai.
We found ourselves in Pushkar for its annual camel mela, a weeklong festival during which this small Rajasthan town swells with tourists, camel traders, and Hindu pilgrims visiting the Brahma temple and taking a dip in the holy lake during the Kartik Purnima full moon. Herders from around Rajasthan bring their camels to the mela ground just outside the city where a sea of camels – some 50,000 of them – stretches across the sand as far as the eye can see.