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Desert Festival, Jaisalmer Overview

The Desert Festival is a famous and awaited event in Jaisalmer. It overlaps a full moon night during the spring season (usually in the month of February) and is held over a few days to celebrate the Thar Desert with brilliant colours, folk dance and music in the midst of sand dunes in front of the Jaisalmer Fort. Each year, artists from villages and cities nearby travel to Jaisalmer for this event. The bright coloured caravans that people use to reach the venue are often spotted in and around the city. It is the best time to explore Jaisalmer because the rich and colourful cultural heritage of Jaisalmer can be experienced in its glory.

Desert Festival in Jaisalmer consists of activities like races, games, some more performances, competitions etc. Visitors can witness Camel Dances, Camel Polo, Camel Formations and thrilling stunts on Camelbacks. Then there are other contests like Tug-of-War, Mr. Desert, Longest Moustache competition, Turban Tying competition etc. held on the second day. On the last day of the festival, which is the night of the Full Moon, the event is organized in front of the Jaisalmer Fort amidst Sam Dunes. This day is full of colourful performances accompanied by some adventure activities like Parachuting and Air Force Display. The celebrations ring in late into the night making it as magical and memorable as possible for the spectators.

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Since the Desert Festival majorly includes folk music and dance of Rajasthan, it is also referred to as a festival of performing arts. But, there is equal emphasis on the culture as a whole and the crafts belonging to the region are also quite the centre of attraction. The festival is a grand way to maintain, promote and value the music traditions of the desert. Its inspiration comes from the Music Festival of Salzburg but is designed to cherish Rajasthani folk art. This also allows the government to promote tourism in the Thar Desert. Each year, the city sees a considerably high number of tourists during the festival.

The Desert Festival is celebrated over a few days before the full moon night in January or February each year.  The full moon night is the final day of the festival. Each day of the festival has an exciting list of events which include Rajasthani Folk Music, Folk Dance, activities and competitions. The first day includes a procession which begins from the Jaisalmer Fort in the morning and proceeds to the Shaheed Poonam Singh Stadium. The entire procession is bright and colourful. The musicians and the dancers depict local and historic tales from the deserts. During the rest of the day, tourists can explore more attractions and witness the same festive vibe everywhere they go.
The remaining days of the festival are also packed with fun activities. Camels have a special role to play in this festival. There are Camel Races, Camel Shows, Best Dressed Camel Competitions, Camel Dance and Camel Polo other than Camel Safaris. Other activities include Turban Tying competitions, the Longest Moustache Contest, Mr. Desert Contest, Cricket matches etc. Those interested in shopping can buy Rajasthani Crafts, apparels, accessories etc. found in plenty around the festival location. The finale is a grand event on the full moon night in the middle of the Thar Desert. With foot taping Rajasthani music, traditional Kalbelia Dance, snake charmers, fire stunts, acrobatics etc. and mouth-watering Rajasthani Cuisine under the starlit sky, the Desert Festival is a unique experience to have.

The Desert Festival is celebrated near Jaisalmer Fort amidst Sam Sand Dunes, which is another famous attraction in the Thar Desert. To reach Jaisalmer, travellers can take a flight, a train or a state transport bus. Sam Dunes is located about 51 kilometres from Jaisalmer Airport, 48 kilometres from Jaisalmer Railway Station and about the same distance away from Jaisalmer Bus Station.

Local transport is easily available to commute within the city. There are auto rickshaws, buses, government-operated cabs and private cabs that travellers can make complete use of. The city also has provisions for sightseeing buses which can be a budget option for the travellers.

From the centre of the city, travellers can reach Sam Dunes (41 kilometres away) via Dedanasar Road – Sand Dunes Road – MDR 53. From the airport, they would have to take the route via MDR 53. From the Railway Station, the route goes via Station Road – Police Lines Road – MDR 53.

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