Rajasthan Travel Guide

The Desert Festival : Celebrating the Captivating Culture of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is not only about the royal architectures and the glorious history but the traditions and culture of the state can be seen on grandeur in the Desert festival of Rajasthan. This very popular festival is celebrated in the Golden City of Jaisalmer for three days.  The festival is usually held in the month of February and commences in the third week and eventually inviting millions of tourists from all around the world. The festival is all about celebrating beautiful and ancient cultures of Rajasthan which can be seen beautiful spread on the golden sand dunes and there are various aspects of the festival which are charming and worth remembering.

The festival is a 3-day event and celebrated every year in the month of January/February, which is also considered as the best time to visit Jaisalmer. This three-day long extravaganza of dance, music, handicraft fairs and interesting competitions like ‘Mr Desert’, ‘turban-tying’ contest and ‘best moustache’ contest and many more, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation.

The Timing of Desert Festival

Usually the festival is held on the Hindu calendar of the end of ‘Magh’ month that falls in the month of February and three days before of the Maghi-Purnima or the full moon. The celebration takes place on the glittery sands of the Thar Desert and stretched till 42 km from the city of Jaisalmer, towards the Sam Sand Dunes and indeed makes these three days an unforgettable affair for all those tourists.

Desert Festival Jaisalmer

Photo Credit – Ben Beiske

History of Desert Festival

Basically the Desert festival of the Sand dunes of Rajasthan is basically organized to attract tourists from all over the world by ‘The Tourism Department of Rajasthan’ and to uplift the cultural heritage of Rajasthan. The festival is truly an extravaganza and indeed attracts millions of tourists to the city of the ‘Golden Fort’-Jaisalmer. It is a fact that the tourists who are from outside India are significantly targeted to visit to this festival and see the beauty of the cultural traditions of the state. And factually these foreign tourists love to see the glimpses of the culture of India –especially Rajasthan through various performances and competitions that are organized presenting as important part of this festival. So, in these three days the tourists can collect the memoirs of their experience of these performances that are the presentation of the colorful culture of Rajasthan.

There is another background of the festival which is inspired by the Hindu Mythology. It is believed that Lord Krishna once said to Arjuna that one of the future rulers of the Yadav clan will built his kingdom on the Trikuta Hills and his words came true when Rana Jaisal founded the Golden Fort as his kingdom on the hills and named his kingdom as Jaisalmer. And this is the celebration which cannot be forgotten as the villagers and the local people dress in their best costumes and sing folk songs to welcome the festival with open arms and enthusiasm. They wait for this festival as soon as the winter arrives and the adieu the season with a note of celebration of their culture.

Turban tying Competition

Photo Credit – Ben Beiske

Desert Festival Competitions and the Events

Besides, the festivities and dance of the local people there are much to explore in the Desert Festival of Rajasthan and that is why the tourists who visit cannot forget these three days which enhances the beauty of the golden sands of the ‘Thar’.The festival begins with a grand processionin the early morning starting from the Jaisalmer Fort to the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium.And as the festival is organized every year the various events also include every year with the same enthusiasm.

The folk music – The calm sands of the Thar shine like gold and Rajasthani folk songs reverberate all around making ita rustic and soothing ambience with the folk song competition and make you forget rest of the world. Moreover, the local artists of Rajasthan sing and dance on the beats of traditional musical instruments which are played beautifully and will really touch your hearts and will makeyou hum them.

Camel race – Apart from music and dance there are Horse and camel sports are also organized where one can see high standing camels decorated colorfully with ornaments and bells and flowers and they go for a race and the owner of the winning camel gets huge prize money. There are also arrangements of camel polo can be seen and thus it becomes a grand affair.

Mr. Desert Competition – This is a competition which is also named as “MaruShri” or as the Man of the Desert and the caliber is measured by the length of the moustaches of the participants here and that is why the longest the moustaches will be the man will be the winner, indeed it is funny but interesting too.

Turban Tying Competition – It is another way of having and watching fun in the desert festival as this is one of the completion that is an important part of the festival. The turbans are considered as the element of prestige and the high tied it will be the person will be the winner, and these are such kinds of events which are considered as healthy competition and indeed they are safe.

Food Festival – Any Festival in Rajasthan can never get completed without food and desert Festival is one such name, so in this festival there are ample of food options can be seen here with the local food vendors and also in the local food marts and sweet marts who sell in a wide range of local Rajasthani cuisine and the food festival is a matter of grandeur which should not be missed at any cost. The local food of Rajasthan is predominantly known for its lip smacking cuisines and they are indeed a hot in all over the country for their rich color and spiciness. So, the tourists can taste the very best of the food of the state amongst Daalbati, Gatte KI Sabzi, Lal Maas, Churma, Ghevar, etc.

Other attractions – Apart from these competitions the festival also include puppet shows, snake charmers, folk dancers, acrobats, local musicians, mehandi artists, art work sellers and  many others those who literally make the festival more colorful and vibrant. The festival also get more lively when the popular fire dancers and Gair dancers take part and they dance with the fire plates on head and also standing on them. These are really enthusiastic and make the tourists go admiring of these acts.

Things to Consider

  • Do not indulge in any sort of Drug-related activity in the Jaisalmer desert festival or around. It is a punishable offence.
  • Don’t be fooled by the local frauds, exchange your money at authorized exchange counters and hire Government certified tourist guides only.

How to Reach Jaisalmer

  • The Jaisalmer Airport is well connected with flights from all the major cities of India. The Jaisalmer Desert festival’s venue is mere 42 Kms away from the city, which you can easily access via hiring a privatetaxi or regular public buses.
  • The city of Jaisalmer is also well connected via trains. Jaisalmer has its own railway station and you can easily get trains to Jaisalmer from almost everywhere in India.
  • Frequent public buses to Jaisalmer are also available from all its neighboring cities.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival Photos

Check out some photos of Jaisalmer – “The Golden City ” as pictures speaks more than words.

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