Hanuman Temples can be seen with Camel as mount (vehicle) in front of his idol.
Ramayana and Parasara Samhita describes multiple instances where Hanuman could fly at wind speed and also cover long distances like flying across the ocean to reach Lanka, flying back and forth to Himalayas from Lanka to fetch Sanjeevani, flying back from Patala Loka (South America) to Lanka.
When Hanuman could fly at will, why would he need a slow moving animal like Camel as his mount ?
Valmiki Ramayana and Parasara Samhita describe that Vanaras used to live in Kishkinda and roam around a lake named ‘Pampa.’
This ‘Pampa Sarovar‘ is presently in Koppal district near Hampi in Karnataka.
It is adjacent to Tungabhadra River and is considered as one of the five sacred sarovars, or lakes in India.
The other four lakes are Manasarovar (near Mount Kailas in Tibet), Bindusarovar (near Siddhpur in Gujarat), Narayan Sarovar or Narayansar (in Kutch, Gujarat) and Pushkar Sarovar (in Ajmer district, Rajasthan).
Together, these 5 lakes are called Panch Sarovar.
Ramayana describes that Sugreeva along with few Vanaras lived on Rushyamooka or Rishyamukha parvat, which today is called Anjaneya Hill, and is wrongly identified as birth place of Hanuman.
Infact, hanuman was born on Anjanadri Hill, which is one out of seven hills in Tirumala.
Vaali killed Ravana’s brother-in-law, Dundhubhi and threw his dead body on Rishyamuka mountain, where Sage Maatanga lived. He cursed Vaali that if he steps on tha mountain, he’ll die.
Since then Vaali avoided that mountain and later when Sugreeva was chased by Vaali, he was advised to hide on that mountain to escape from Vaali.
Parasara Samhita describes that, Hanuman wished to roam around the banks of Pampa Lake.
Evam sarvasamRddhEsmin, pampaa sarasi paavanE |
hanumaansapareevaarah, viruktam chakru mae mudaa || (Pampa Saro Varnanam – 32)
Translation : Hanuman, along with his men thought of roaming around banks of Pampa lake, in a joyful mood.
gandhamaadana Sailaagra, swarNa rambhaa vanaasrayaat |
ushTramaaroohya hanumaan, hEmastaraNa bhooshitam || (Pampa Saro Varnanam – 33)
Translation : Near foothill of mount gandhamaadana, Hanuman mounted ushTram (Camel), which is decorated with golden cloth on its back.
This camel is described to be decorated with anklets made of gemstones in gold, eats desert plants like cactus with thorns, raised hump, long tail and neck, heathy, has a mind and speed of a 12 year old camel.
Sushena with Umbrella, Neela with Whisk like Fan (Chaamaram), Maagadha is praising Hanuman, Gandhamaadana walks ahead, Dwivida engages others in talks, Pavana carries footwear (Paaduka) and anticipates Hanuman’s walk after getting down from camel.
Elder man Jambavaan talks about justice, morality, administration etc, while other Vanaras walk behind the camel, despite difficulty in walking.
This clearly depicts that walking along the lakeshore in sand is not easy and only a camel can walk with ease.
There is no point in fying at jetspeed, when your mind is in holiday mood.
Even today people take camel rides in sands of beaches, when they could ride a 4WD SUV.
Hanuman looks at Pampa Sarovar and describes it to Jambavaan as : Pampa is filled with Swans which have grey (smoke) colored beaks, legs and wings.
Lake is covered with Algae, which makes it appear like clouds.
Also, Red Lotus flowers appear like powerfully placed Mars planet in zodiac. (They knew that Mars appeared Red in color).
Hanuman Sooktam also mentions him as ‘ushTraa rooDHa‘ (one who rides on camel) :
sarvaabharaNa bhooshita, udaarO mahOnnata, ushTRaa rooDHa
kEsari, priyanandanO, vAyutanoojO, yadEccam
Translation : Decorated with all ornaments, being kind and noble, mounted on camel, dearesr son of kesari, heir of vaayu, roams at his wish.