Tags: festival

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.


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The Fire Dancers at the Bikaner Festival 2009 in Rajasthan

I was lucky to have been in Bikaner to witness their annual camel festival held from January 10-12 this year. One of the most fascinating events was the fire dance performed by members of the Siddh who are known to have a special vardaan or divine powers to be able to walk and dance of burning wood and coal. See all the images on Flickr.

There was a group of these people who danced around a fire for over half an hour, and would take turns to walk over the embers. Of course they would do it quickly and hit the dusty ground immediately to try cool their feet. But there was no trick here: they were clearly barefoot - you and I would not be able to do this

A few of them also took burning pieces in their mouth and let out sparks. WOW. And it was all so surreal in the setting: It was past 10 at night, in a desert with a full moon. Beat that.

Some images are given below, or you can go to Flickr to see all.

When the lamas dance behind the scenes

Many Buddhist monasteries in the Ladakh and Tibetan regions have a tradition of annual festivals, going back hundreds of years. They are usually dance spectacles with colourful costumes and masks adorned by the lamas (monks) for the occasion. Solemn ceremonies in their own way, it borders on the amusing when you see them practicing leading up to the big day. Like I was witness to at the Phiyang Monastery near Leh in July 2008 a few days before their festival.

For one, it was an opportunity to see the lamas let their guard down away from public eye and behave just like lesser mortals; they were practising in an area usually not open to outsiders. Before I witnessed these sessions, the image of a lama came across as someone who smiled but did not laugh, one who spoke but did not talk too much and one who always seemed a bit serious about everything.

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