Rajasthan Through Eyes of Dhruvi
Dhruvi | 12th March, 2018
Livening up the Thar - The Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Sands flow with the wind to create majestic, ever-changing sand dunes, forming an immaculate canvas that can play center stage to festivals which amplify the colors, cultures and history, in a new light. Charismatic sand dunes against a sunny sky or a full moon, with perfectly shaped shadows of ripples and undulating crests - Thar serves as the perfect backdrop for the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. The barren wastelands of the Thar are turned into colorful playgrounds that inspire creativity and excitement! The Jaisalmer Desert Festival amid the sand dunes is a three-day extravaganza which features everything from heritage walks to BSF camel parade and camel decorations. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival: Some festivals are about music; some are about food or culture; The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is one that offers a deeper experience into the culture and life in a desert. From camel decorations and folk performances to turban tying and moustache competition, this three-day bash is power-packed entertainment to the core, and is augmented by the Jaisalmer Fort that proves to be an ethereal backdrop to this annual desert festival. Organised by the Rajasthan State Tourism department, this desert festival is a jubilant celebration of the traditions and the culture of this regal state.
How it all begins
A Cultural Caravans locally known as Shobha Yatra marks the start of the three-day desert spectacle. During the procession, locals get decked up in their traditional attire carrying swords and riding horses, camels are cheered on as they enter the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium, one of the most important locations of the desert festival. The festival is organized against the backdrop of Jaisalmer fort, popularly known as the ‘Sonar Qila’. It is a massive fort with a museum, shops, hotels, houses and eateries inside it. The town of Jaisalmer dons a festive look and the barren landscape gets splashed with vibrant colors. Highlights of the Festival: There’s a lot to see at this festival, including cultural events, folk performances, camel races, decorations and parades, turban tying competitions etc. Dressed in flashy and colorful costumes, the men and women rejoice by dancing and singing ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. The high points of the festival are the snake charmers, puppeteers and folk performances. Mustaches and turbans aren’t just symbols of machismo; they are symbols of honor and respect in Rajasthan. And the mustache contest, turban tying, Miss Moomal and Mr. Desert competitions speak for these symbols of honor. For the shopping connoisseurs and gastronomes : During the festival, you can enjoy delicious local food and shop your heart out at little shops set up by the desert craftsmen. Finely embroidered outfits, hand-woven shawls, rugs, carvings on wood and stone, embroidered leather bags, camel decorations, antique silver jewelry and terracotta are things that you can shop for at the festival.
Ship of the Desert – Camel
A festival in a desert is incomplete without the ship of the desert - the camel. Camels play the starring role in this festival, and are at the center of a number of events including camel tattoo shows, camel races, camel polo, camel processions, camel mounted bands, folk dances, etc. The Jaisalmeri breed of camels is very popular for their speed and agility. Another spectacle is the camel polo match that is held between the Royal Safari Jaisalmer and the BSF (Border Security Force). And if you still want more of the camels, there are camel safaris which can get you to delve more into the beauty of the desert. Final Day : The festival ends on the third day which corresponds with Poornima (meaning the full moon in Sanskrit). Dressed in alluring local attire, the people of Rajasthan sing and dance to ballads of heroism, romance and tragedy. Fireworks explode across the sky, adding light and bursts of color and bringing the city of Jaisalmer to life. Although the basic structure of the festival remains the same, a few new events are added every year to add to the excitement.