Parul Bakshi (parulbakshi) wrote in india_travels,
Parul Bakshi

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - Rajasthan at its colourful best....

DrummerDancing Camel
I was waiting from my friends to get back from the amazing Jaisalmer Desert Festival to write again. My two colleagues - the sprightly Roli and the intrepid traveler and photographer Abhishek had a fabulous time at the festival and have provided me with their experiences and photographs to share with you all. The travelogue has been written by Roli and the images are all Abhishek's.

Roli's narrative.....
GOld Fort

And lo! We were on the wide open highway to Jaisalmer..


Abhishek and I went to attend the Desert festival this year held in Jaisalmer on 7, 8 and 9th of February. The land of Thar – Jaisalmer, is so beautiful even on those one of the ordinary days when I went there first, and I was so excited to see how the colours come up when a lady dressed in vibrant Rajasthani skirt dances in front of the majestic Golden Fort.



I was coming all the way from Delhi on the Mandore Express to Jodhpur, only to find out that there are government buses every half an hour from the railway station itself, which was fantastic for a continuous journey to Jaisalmer. There are good hotels like Kanishka just at a walk’s distance from the station, where you can go and refresh yourself for the journey onwards.


Travelling in a government bus can be one of the best ways to interact with the local lot and witness the cotemporary core culture of the region, and that is why I took the option. Trust me, it was real fun and a treat to the eyes and soul.


While in Jaisalmer, I would like to stay nowhere else, but in the only living fort of the country. We were in a budget hotel inside the fort that costed us Rs/- 750 for the base category. It was a beautiful location and the hotel provided us with all the modern day facilities essential for a comfortable stay.


Gair Dance
Coming to ‘The Festival’, in my entire writing ahead, I will only wish one thing - if I could share all that in DETAIL….. :-)


The festival starts with a grand ceremonial procession from the lake ‘Gadisar’ to the main stadium where all the activities were going to take place. First day activities included events like Mr. and Miss Desert competition, moustache competition, turban tying competition which was between Indians and foreigners and we all saw a lovely foreigner lady winning that!! Then there were beautiful rangolis (patterns made of powdered colours), intricate embroideries done by women, clay paper and Massey work – all in the form of competitions ended with a fun filled show of puppetry.


First day was culminated with a grand cultural evening that was spectacular, more so because the colours were spread with the golden fort as their backdrop. Apart from the elegant ghoomar and the loud and vibrant Kaalbelia, there was a lot about the culture of Rajasthan that we all discovered in the desert festival. That was an evening of soul – in singing, in dance and in experience.


Next morning saw the events happening in an even more grand scale. Beautifully decorated Camels marched to put on the camel decoration competition. Different types of races and competitions were organized inputting the local punches and expertise, to sparkle the entire festival with desert colours. There was the water pitcher race, tug of war between Indians and foreigners, camel polo, camel race etc. Then there was an aero show by the Indian airforce, soldiers jumping off from 9000ft. was an amazing sight to witness!!

 Decorated Camels

Afternoon was a musical symphony of various Indian classical instruments. In the evening, the soldiers of the Border Security forces set up a beautiful show with their camels. Displayed were all the tactics and techniques that they can play up with the camels while in the vigilance and security of Indian borders. It was a display of expertise and co-ordination between the heroes of the desert – BSF and the camels.


Culmination was a beautiful fashion show of Rajasthani attires!!


The last day of the festival came with a very rustic and different flavor. The morning events were held in a deserted village called ‘Kuldhara’ that carries a legend behind it getting deserted. The entire village was set up as living - a group of blacksmiths working here and the girls painting their houses traditionally there…. A match of the rural game of kabbaddi here and one snake charmer setting up his show there – it was total character!!


Now we talk of the most glamorous evening of the festival – on the Sam sand dunes… There were camel races, horse races, the aero show once again, the beautiful cultural performances and the spectacular fireworks display!!


The entire festival is such a complete experience that inspite of all that beauty that you want to see once again, you never feel like asking for more – it feels complete.


All this experience in the Thar is a very valid reason to come to Jaisalmer – the Gold wide spread…
BSF Tattoo

Tags: desert, festival, gadisar, golden fort, jaisalmer, jaisalmer desert festival, jodhpur, mandore express, rajasthan, thar dessert
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