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Camel


Scientific NameCamelus dromedaries
Common NameOne-humped camel, Oont (Hindi), Ottagam (Tamil), Ushtraa (Sanskrit)
Conservation StatusDomesticated

In religion and mythology

Camels play a central role in various rituals, customs, traditions and ceremonial functions of the Raika pastoralists of Rajasthan. The animal has influenced the culture life of the Raikas to a great extent. Traditionally, Raika neither sell camel milk nor other products like hair nor hide. Sacrificing of camel for meat is also prohibited among the Raikas. Pabuji, the hero god of the Raika, is also depicted riding a camel. He is believed to have brought camel to Rajasthan.

Camel is also considered to be the vahana of Kalyana Anjaneya (Lord Hanuman). A verse in ‘ Hanuman Mangalashtakam ' goes as follows:

“Suvarchalaa kalathraaya chaturbhuja dharaaya cha Ushtraa roodhaya veeraya mangalam Sri Hanumathe”.

(Salutation to Lord Hanuman, having four arms, accompanied by His consort Suvarchala Devi, seated on a camel and exhibiting extraordinary valour)

(Sources : Tripathi.H & Rajput, D.S., “Customs and beliefs of Raika pastoralist of Rajasthan associated with camel husbandary”, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol.5, N0.2, April, 2006 and http://www.hindu.com/fr/2005/01/07/stories/2005010702891000.htm )

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