Godwad II – the Raika Misters

27. February 2019


I got to know a Raika family a few years ago. They lived in the Thar Desert near Bikaner and were traditional camel breeders. Somehow I had got it into my head that the Raika are only involved with camels. However, there are hardly any camels in southern Rajasthan, but many Raika. And I learnt: it’s about cattle breeding in general. They tended to own sheep and goats. It was time to shear the animals.


in the pen 1


in the pen 2


shorn sheep


The Raika men obviously wear a kind of uniform: a bright red turban and a white shirt with a scarf wrapped around the trousers. For added splendour, they are embroidered and wear smart jewellery. A moustache completes the good look.




You saw them everywhere, these gentlemen dressed alike. This one was chopping branches from the tree to take home as fodder for his animals. His wife helped him.








This Raika man is very, very tall. Unfortunately, I missed taking a photo of the two of us. He also works at the resort and picked us up so that we could walk a few kilometres. I loved walking right behind him. I had never seen such a harmonious gait before, which was very reminiscent of camels. I could have actually filmed it. I have to go again! He is in his mid-30s and told me that he used to herd animals as a boy. His world ended where he went with the animals. That’s his biggest life change: that the world became much bigger with television and tourism.


very tall Raika


These red turbans just look too chic…. And I love the gnarled tree skeletons too. But it’s also funny: you’ve seen the photos of these gentlemen and think that they’re all dressed up for a photo. And then they actually walk around like that in everyday life. Not all of them, but a lot more than I thought.


Tree + Turban


And that’s the end of the journey. There is one more blog entry about the landscape and a short summary.