Once a year in winters and on the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival of Rajasthan. The festival is organized by the Rajasthan State Tourism Corporation. The Desert Festival of Rajasthan is a colourful, joyous celebration of the rich heritage of Rajasthan. This festival of Rajasthan takes place in Jaisalmer in the month of February and lasts for three days.
Musicians entice you with haunting ballads - a mixture of romantic verses weaved together with tunes of tragic pain. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels also play a stellar role. Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized with folk artists performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes of Rajasthan on the full moon night. Surely a not-to-be missed event.
During the desert festival of Rajasthan, the sands around Jaisalmer are adorned with vibrant hues of music and dance of Rajasthan, accompanied with sounds of laughter and joy. The Jaisalmer Fort of Rajasthan provides an ethereal backdrop to the annual Desert Festival celebrating the traditional performing arts and creative crafts of Rajasthan. The otherwise barren landscape is splashed with vibrant colors marking the opening of the Desert Festival of Rajasthan. Over the years, the desert dwellers in their solitude have woven a fascinating tapestry with threads of music and rhythm and the Desert Festival of Rajasthan is a celebration of their heritage. It is a chance of a lifetime to see the folk art forms against the landscape of Rajasthan that has nurtured them for hundreds of years during your Rajasthan tour.
The desert festival in Jaisalmer of Rajasthan was started to attract foreign tourists, who always wanted to explore as many facets of Rajasthan as they could in the possible crunch of time. The rich culture of Rajasthan is on display during this three day long extravaganza. The three-day event stresses more on local elements and heritage of Rajasthan. For example, this no-nonsense festival will only showcase Rajasthani folk songs and dance. These are presented by some of the best professionals of the art. This is truly a moment worth preserving. You will never forget marvels like the famous Fire dancers that are the major attraction of the desert festival celebrations of Rajasthan.
Attractions of the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India
The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show in Jaisalmer for a few days during the Desert Festival of Rajasthan. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their bright costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other in their musical superiority.
The preparations for this festival of Rajasthan begins well in advance, where a few days before the spring full moon according to the Hindu calendar, musicians, dancers and performers from all over Rajasthan start moving in colorful camel caravans towards the golden town of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, which already begins to don a festive look. The 12th century fort of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, built in yellow sandstone, provides a fairytale background for this festival of Rajasthan. It is a chance of a lifetime to see the folk art forms against the landscape that has nurtured them for hundreds of years.
Though dessert festival of Rajasthan is mainly a grand display of performing arts, there are several other events that give a glimpse of the desert culture in Rajasthan. Through the day, visitors can come face to face with the desert craftsmen. Exquisitely embroidered skirts, hand-woven shawls, rugs, carvings on wood and stone, camel decorations, embroidered leather bags; ethnic silver jewelry and terracotta are brought in from all over the desert. These skillfully achieved crafts are objects d'art for the handicraft buff and are great buys for tourists on Rajasthan vacation.
Evenings are meant for the main shows of music and dance. Nearly all the variations of performing arts of these desert people are displayed. Continuing till late into the night, the number of spectators increase by each night and on the final day, under the full moonlit night, the whole place is swarming with people who make it a point to be there to witness this mega show. This desert festival of Rajasthan closes with an enchanting sound and light show amid the sand dunes on a moonlit night.
Other interesting competitions on the fringes are the moustache and turban tying competitions, which not only demonstrate a glorious tradition but also inspire its preservation. Both the turban and the moustache have been centuries old symbols of honor in Rajasthan. 'The moustache competition' of Rajasthan is very popular among foreigners. This is simply because of the surprise value attached to this event. Proud moustached villagers, dressed in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned camels. Foreigners can be seen posing for pictures with the winners. Similarly, local customs such as Turban tying etc have been added to make it more exotic and colorful in its outlook.
Camels are not just beasts of burden but an integral part of the desert life and the camel events during the Desert Festival of Rajasthan confirm this fact. Special efforts go into dressing the animal for entering the spectacular competition of the best-dressed camel of Rajasthan. To add some more fun and color, the camel show has camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics, camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like.
The high points of the festival of Rajasthan are - snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers and Camel Shows. The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are big draws and laughter. The Mr Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls. Jaisalmer is the only place where this desert festival is celebrated with great zest and zeal. Rajasthan being a popular tourist destination, the festival adds to its color. The perfect time to visit the golden city Jaisalmer is during the Desert Festival, held in January / February every year, when the city reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms.
Location and Transport
Desert Festival is held every year in Jaisalmer which is situated in the very heart of Rajasthan and is a popular tourist destination. Being part of the Desert Triangle and the venue of Desert Festival of Rajasthan, the place is accessible by rail, road and air and has tourist accommodation ranging from high budget to low budget. The city is also covered by the "Palace on Wheels" of Rajasthan a train-cum-road package, which needs no description. This place too witnesses large flow of tourist traffic in winters.
Distances of important cities from Jaisalmer: New Delhi (864 km), Jaipur (558 km), Mumbai (1177 km), Ahmedabad (626 km).
Though Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport is 285 Km away. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur of Rajasthan you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to your wish and preference.
Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer of Rajasthan are available to Jodhpur of Rajasthan as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is connected through both 'Broad gauge' as well as 'Meter gauge' tracks. You can also travel to Jaisalmer by Palace on Wheels.
Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is well connected to the rest of state by well-maintained roads. Due to its proximity to Indo-Pak boarder, special emphasis is given on its maintenance. Deluxe & Ordinary buses of Rajasthan Roadways & Private companies operate form Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahemadabad etc, Roadways main bus stand opposite Railway station & Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two major bus stands.
General transportation in Jaisalmer of Rajasthan consists of auto rickshaw and bicycles because these are good means to get around. Auto rickshaw is a cheap mode of transportation but drivers might not be friendly all the times. It is recommended to take rickshaw when you take congested roads in order to avoid bottlenecks.
Facts of the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India
Location: Sam Sand Dunes 42 K.M. from Jaisalmer
How to reach: SUV or Camel safari
Timing: In the month of February
Attractions: Cultural showcase
The Rajasthan tourism organizes the Jaisalmer Desert fair/festival. There is tourist help cell to deal specially with the problems faced by foreign tourists. The arrangements are monitored by local administration and state of the art Medical vans, equipped with the best of medical amenities, are kept on alert. If you want to buy gifts or souvenirs for your dear ones, this is the place to be. For this place not only have items from and around Jaisalmer but of the whole Rajasthan. Mobile money exchangers are there in case you need to exchange currencies. And if you run out of cash, guess what! Nearly all the kiosks in Rajasthan have the facility to accept credit card.