When Shri Hanuman meets Mata Sita in the Asoka Van, he asks her to mount his back, so that he could immediately take her to Shri Ram. During crossing of the mighty ocean on the Ram Setu, Hanuman carries Shri Ram on his shoulders and sees that his swami is not tired. In the battle, he carries Shri Ram and Lakshman many a couple of times, fulfilling the means of a swift chariot for them. Such is the power and might of Hanuman, that he carries the Almighty on his shoulders. The same mighty warrior mounts a camel which is his vehicle.
The Animals have always been given a significant place in our Epics and Puranas. All the gods of the Hindu Pantheon have a vehicle associated with them. Although not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan, the Parashar Samhit mentions Shri Hanuman riding the camel.
गंधमादन शैलाग्रा स्वननरंभा वनाश्रयत उष्ट्रामरुद्या हनुमान हेमास्टरना भषू िताम II
The sloka mentions that Shri Hanuman mounted a camel which is decorated with gold seat
cover and roamed around on the banks of Pampa Sarovar, (उष्ट्रं means camel)
The camel is a desert animal and lives on desert plants like the cactus, thorns. It has the ability to walk for long distances without food and water, especially in the sand. Hence, it is called the Ship of the desert. It is well known that the hump of the camel has the capacity to store food and water through which it sustains the long distances.
When we look at the geographical location of the Pampa Sarovar (present day Hampi area) it is as a place spread with sand at all areas, and quite a hot place. The hills and rocky terrain, along with sand makes it a difficult place to walk easily. It’s only a camel which can walk without hindrance, as its feet are specially equipped to walk on the rough and sandy areas. Hence, it would be the right choice of Shri Hanuman as he resided in Kishkinda. The Parshar Samhit mentions that Shri Hanuman enjoyed the camel ride accompanied along with his accomplices, Jambavant, Nal, Neel, Gandhamadhan and other monkey warriors and they had long discussions about Philosophy and Dharma.
The camel signifies patience too. When one walks in sand, the feet get dogged in, because of the weight of the sand. It gets hot very fast, and the feet get scorched when walking barefoot in sand. It takes double the effort for anybody to walk in the sand. But, the camel feet are equipped to deal with these conditions and hence can travel for long miles in the sand and rocks with patience. Another special feature is the camel can run with good speed even in the sand which is actually difficult for any other animal to do so. It is a balance between the both conditions which it maintains.
The tasks Shri Hanuman faces also to resolve his swami Shri Ram’s problems require
patience and on the other hand, swiftness to plunge into action when required. He needed
to act with patience during the search of Mata Sita in Lanka and once he found her whereabouts, he immediately gets into action by destroying Lanka and sends a clear message to the enemy that it’s doom is nearing. As the same balance of managing according to the circumstances can also be applied to the camel and hence it is the vehicle of Shri Hanuman.