Journey Details & Raika Gurus

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Camel Milk From 36 Medicinal Plants


Camel milk and its medicinal properties have been a main focus of LPPS in an effort to develop an alternative source of income for the camel herders. According to traditional knowledge, camels browse on 36 different trees and shrubs all of which are also used in local ethnomedicine. This makes the milk very powerful and ongoing research indicates it may be of benefit in the alleviation of symptoms of autism and diabetes. During this journey we will explore these plants that grow naturally in and around the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and learn about the unique camel feeding behavior which instead of degrading vegetation actually conserves. Under the expert guidance of Raika leader and traditional healer, Mrs. Dalibai, we will learn about these medicinal plants that have many traditional uses besides their healing properties for both people and animals.




Traditional way of Life


Life of the herders (primarily men) is one in rhythm with the seasons. There is great variation in the distances herders may cover with some returning home most nights and some on a more permanent migration. Herders are natural minimalists, carrying only a herding stick, a blanket for sleeping, a milking vessel, a few cooking utensils and ropes for tying down the camels at night. The mornings start off with milking one or two lactating camels for milk to make chai tea which is traditionally drunk in Aak plant leaves often carried in their amazing turbans! After tea it’s time to inspect the camels for any injuries or skin problems., treating them with their traditional medicinal knowledge. Grazing is the biggest part of the day and usually occurs from 8 or 9 in the morning until the same time at night. The camel herders and farmers have a close relationship as camel dung is highly valued as a non-chemical fertilizer with many benefits such as its slow release lasting up to 3 years!




Nomadic Women Gathering from '36 communities'


Play, sing and dance with women from the ’36 communities’. Rarely will you experience such an exuberant display of joy of life, despite the restrictions these women face and the physical hardships they have to endure every day. Reevaluate your life – you will be a changed person! More info coming soon.




Living in Harmony with Animals and Nature


“The camel is globally recognised as one of the most important species for future food security in arid zones. In Rajasthan, bloodlines developed over centuries and superbly adapted to local conditions will be lost without conservation support.” (The Camels of Kumbhalgarh: A Biodiversity Treasure) Obtaining recognition for the important role the Raika and their camels provide in the management of biological diversity, has been a major focus of LPPS. A Raika Biocultural Protocol (RBP) has been developed to assist the communities in achieving national and international recognition for their contributions of traditional knowledge and resources, while advocating for their customary rights. The steep decline in camel herds has been primarily due to a decrease in traditional income producing work options for the male camels in the agricultural and transportation industries, but perhaps the most significant challenge the herders face is that they have lost almost all of their grazing rights in the forest (now National Park) as it has been determined the camels are detrimental to the vegetation and have been denied access. Your participation in this journey can help - the unique friendly nature of the Kumbhalgarh camel allows visitors to walk freely among them and this will be one of the first efforts to work closely with the Raika community to develop an ecotourism effort which we hope the National Park may see as a valuable asset for them as well.




Useful Links and Photo Credits


TEDX talk about The Nomads that feed us LPPS (Livestock Herders of Rajasthan) YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUVilcvv1RI&feature=youtu.be Camel Milk:Camel Charisma YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFHd8hsKCvM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f45NakX2I0s Traditional Knowledge: http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/the-black-sheep-of-rajasthan/ and http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/raika-sheep-husbandry/ New Article published in Animal:Are we on the right track towards livestock sector sustainability ? http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731117001513 Biocultural Protocol http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/Raika_Biocultural_Protocol.pdf http://www.lpps.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/BCP-of-Rajasthans-camel-breeders-final_28-Oct_2017.pdf http://blog.rolexawards.com/2018/04/valuing-the-landscape-of-traditional-ways/ Websites: www.pastoralpeoples.orgwww.ilse-koehler-rollefson.com www.lpps.org www.camelsofrajasthan.com www.camelcharisma.wordpress.com Books: Highly recommended reading before attending the Journey: "Camel Karma. Twenty Years among India's CamelNomads" published by Tranquebar Press. www.camel-karma.com Photo Credits: For the beautiful photos on this website and other materials associated with The Raika Journey, we are most grateful to: Dr. Ilse (Need Umlaut) Rollefson, Kate Hardy, Gemma Julia, Reference: The Camels of Kumbhalgarh: A Biodiversity Treasure published by LPPS




Foraging for Medicinal Plants


Forage for medicinal plants with a special Raika healer, learning how this ancient wisdom is used to treat both themselves and the camels. Watch TEDX talk about The Nomads that feed us LPPS (Livestock Herders of Rajasthan) YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUVilcvv1RI&feature=youtu.be





Mrs. Dailibai Raika

An outspoken, internationally renown community advocate who is also a traditional healer and mid-wife.

Harji Ram

A panch and a highly respected Raika elder, a treasure trove of traditional knowledge, and owner of a small camel herd.

Bhanwarlal

A young herder who can’t imagine a life without camels, both as a a breeder and a trainer of riding camels.

Ratta Ram

The owner of the “wedding camel” that is required by Raika customs for the bridegroom to sit on when he enters the house of is bride. Ratta Ram is an ace mixer of traditional herbal potions for keeping camels healthy.