The Nagaur Mela is the largest cattle fair in Rajasthan and draws a great deal of camels as well (at least two or three thousand). It was a perfect opportunity for me to meet some Raikas (a sub caste of camel herders) from all over the state who are doing long distance migration and see how they traveled to the fair.

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Most of the Raikas that I met are camel breeders, though some types of Raika (mostly from the Godhwar region) also raise cattle, sheep or goats. The Naguar Fair was my first real contact with these people and a large factor in me later deciding to head down to Pali upon leaving Jaisalmer to learn more about them. More than any of the many nomadic castes in Rajasthan, the Raikas are still moving and traveling and dealing with a lot of the issues central to my project. With the Raika (as with all ghummakar in Rajasthan) mobility is intimately tied up with issues of natural resources -- distribution of land, water and food. And their lives have been impacted greatly by the changing social and physical landscape of the region.


Layout of the fair, commerce and other activities

Social function of fair: bringing together herders and clans in between migration