Jaisalmer Desert Festival is an annual event that take place in February month in the beautiful city Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). It is held in the Hindu month of Magh, three days prior to the full moon. The festival is celebrated amidst the beautiful dunes of the Thar Desert in the Sam dunes (42 kilometers from Jaisalmer). Romantic, remote and unspoiled, the location comes to life during the three day extravaganza of the delights of the desert.
As legends goes; Lord Krishna, ruler of Yadav community told Arjuna (one of the Pandavas) that a successor belonging from the Yadav community will set up his kingdom on the Trikuta Hill.
In the year 1196, the prediction made by the Lord Krishna came true, when Rawal Jaiswal, a descendant of the Yadav clan, established his kingdom in Jaisalmer. Celebrations were organized throughout the kingdom, when the people came to know that the prophecy has come true. The celebrations soon developed into a festival that is now organized every year. The government started marketing the vibrant festival as international drawing visitor to the Desert City.
History of Desert Festival
The city of Jaisalmer rolls back to the 12th Century where the city was first discovered by the Rajput king, Maharawal Jaisal Sing. But ancient histories reveal that before the capturing of the city by the Turks with Ala-ud-din-khilji the place was inhabited by the Rajput Bhatis.
The city like most others in the royal state of Rajasthan has been a witness of several bloody battles between the Rajputs and the Islamic conquerors that tried to capture the ruling seat as well as the Bhatti rulers. The Bhatti rulers had later migrated to some other parts after the capture by Khilji, most of which is now in Pakistan.
During the British Rule, the Bhatti rulers went on to rule the state of Jaisalmer which was a key stopover to the trade routes to Central Asia, Egypt, Arab and Persia, which is why it was home to several trade fairs and festivals akin to the Jaisalmer Desert Festival of today.
The Fusion of Dance, Music and Puppet Shows
While one part of the fair is crowed with snake charmers, puppet shows, folk singers and dancers, the other part showcases the beauty of the place with stalls on handicrafts, leather shoes, boutique apparels, handbags, silver jewelry and many more. For music lovers, the festival is nothing less than a paradise for them as many well-known singers and musicians participate in the festival. The traditional dance performance of the city fills the tourists with the utmost passion and excitement. The songs of the ghazal or Sufi singers are certainly delights of the ears.
Special highlights of the festival:
- Since the last day of the festival falls on a full moon day, the melodies of the musical concert conducted under the starry night will get etched in your memory forever.
- The camel race is also one of the best activities of this festival. The animal is decked up beautifully while the artists are seen doing various acrobatics on the camel back.
- Since the festival is conducted in the desert, it’s an ultimate experience to camp in the desert near the sand dunes.
- The festival also offers an assortment of local delicacies which makes it even more interesting for food lovers to attend this festival.