Jaisalmer Desert Festival
(14 feb-16 feb 2022)
Every year during winters, Jaisalmer celebrates its famous and much awaited Desert Festival. Usually held in the month of February, it is held for a few days in the lap of the sand dunes in front of the Jaisalmer Fort to celebrate the magnificent Thar desert.
People dressed in brilliant bright hues sing and dance to the haunting ballads of tragedy, love, and valour. Every year, many artists come from across the country to Jaisalmer for this event. Caravans used by people to travel here are brightly coloured and can often be spotted during this time.
Ideally, this is the most amazing time to visit Jaisalmer as the rich and vibrant cultural heritage of the city is on display at its glorious best. The celebrations go on late into night making it the most unforgettable and magical experience for the tourists.
When and where:
- Date: 14 Monday 2020, Friday – 16 February 2020, Wednesday
- Location: Sam Sand Dunes Desert Safari Camp, Jaisalmer, Kanoi
How to reach:
You can travel to Jaisalmer by taking a flight, train, or a state transport bus. The venue of the festival, Sam Sand Dunes, is located about 48 kms from the Jaisalmer Railway Station, around the same distance from the Jaisalmer Bus Station, and about 51 kms from the Jaisalmer Airport.
For commuting within the city, local transport is easily available. Among the available options to visitors are auto rickshaws, buses, private cabs, as well as cabs operated by the government. There is also a provision for sightseeing buses in the city which can be a budget option for the tourists for desert festival.
A few days before the spring full moon, Jaisalmer dons a beautiful festive look, welcoming musicians, dancer, and other performers from across the country and put the rich folk culture on show. The otherwise barren and dusty landscape is filled with vibrant hues marking the onset of the festival filled with fun and happiness.
The Jaisalmer Fort, built in the 12th century from yellow sandstone, provides a picturesque fairytale like background. It is only once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the folk art forms in the environment that has nurtured them since hundreds of years. Each year sees an addition of a few new events, even though the basic design of the event remains the same.
The final day of celebration is the full moon night and the festival ends with an enthralling light and sound show in the middle of the sand dunes.
What all to do at The Jaisalmer Desert Festival:
Admire the intricate craftsmanship: During the day, the tourists can visit the desert craftsmen. Hand woven shawls, rugs, gorgeously embroidered skirts, intricate carvings on wood and stone, chic leather bags, ethnic silver jewelry, camel decorations, and terracotta are brought in from all over the place. The festival is a paradise for a handicraft lover.
Witness the majestic procession: On the first day itself, we get to see the royal procession, beginning from the Jaisalmer Fort and proceeding to the Shaheed Poonam Singh Stadium. Musicians and dancers take part in the colourful and brilliant procession, depicting the local folklore and historic tales from the desert.
See the Camel events: The events tell us how camels are an integral part of the desert life. Stunning attires are specially prepared for the camels with hours of efforts to dress the beast for the “Best Dressed Camel” competition. There is also a unique folk song depicting the making of the “Gorband”, the necklace of the camel. Camel owners also compete with each other in the Camel Race. Interestingly, there are two more fun and unique events for the camels- the Camel Polo, and the Camel Dance.
Enjoy the quirky contests: Apart from the unique camel competitions, you can also be a witness to, and a part of other quirky contests like Turban Tying competition, the Longest Moustache contest, Mr. Desert Contest, Cricket matches, etc.
Witness the folk culture: As artists and performers arrive, a delightful series of music, dance, and other arts begins in Jaisalmer. There is music and magic everywhere, and at every point of time. There are numerous snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, and folk performers to enthrall you with their talents and special shows. The main shows of music and dance take place usually in the evenings.
Vibrating desert drums can be heard from miles far away, and the amazing music casts a spell in and around the lanes of the fortified town, the rivers of the abandoned villages, and the sand dunes. Almost all the variations of performing arts of these talented artists are displayed. And even though it is primarily a festival of performing arts, there are many other events also that give a sneak peak at the rich and vibrant desert culture.
Shop, shop, till you drop: People who have a hobby of shopping, this is exactly the place where you need to come! Exquisite Rajasthani crafts, beautiful local attire, jewelry, accessories for yourself and your homes, handicrafts, showpieces, wooden decorations, souvenirs; you name it, and you get it!
Taste the mouth watering local cuisine of Rajasthan: Dal Baati Churma, Gatte ki Sabzi, Pyaaz Kachori, even the mention of these delicious dishes is enough to make our mouths water. However, you can eat all these and even more at the Desert Festival. So go ahead, and savour the taste of the amazing delicacies at the festival!
Importance of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival:
The Desert Festival, also known as the “The Festival of Performing Arts”, majorly includes folk music and dances of Rajasthan, as well as other arts like snake charming, puppets, etc. There is also equal significance on the culture as a whole in addition to the local crafts making it a center of attraction. The festival is one of the best ways to maintain, promote, and value the music culture of the desert.
The idea of the Desert Festival has been inspired from the Music Festival of Salzburg, but with the intention to cherish the Rajasthani folk art. Government also uses this chance to promote tourism in the Thar Desert, making it a prime tourist destination with a high number of tourists during the festival.
Today, this coveted event of cultural extravagance is a hotspot for music lovers- the performers, as well as listeners. For performers of all arts, it has become a prestigious stage to participate and showcase their talent, while also finding new talents and expending patronage to them.