The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is an annual event that take place in February month in the beautiful city Jaisalmer. It is held in the Hindu month of Magh (February), 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.
History of Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
Not many people are aware about the history or legend of the desert festival in Jaisalmer. 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.
Celebration of Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
The celebrations of this festival make the desert come alive with color, enthusiasm and happiness. The festival commences with a procession in the morning from the Jaisalmer Fort to the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium. The locals dress in traditional and bright costumes. They sing and dance depicting the tragedies and accomplishments of the desert. The Gair and the fire dance are highlights of the festival. The Kalabaz or the Nat’s are a group of local nomads who are popular for their gymnastic acts. The Bhopa’s Langhas and Manganiars create an enchanting environment with their poignant folk music recitals and ballads.
Be a spectator of rare competitions like camel polo. Cheer for camel races. Gymnastic stunts on camel back and camel formation dancing are the crowning jewels of the festival. These competitions are followed by the Border Security Force Camel Tattoo. Tug-of-war, turban tying, Maru-Shri (Mr. Desert competition) and the longest moustache competition are others allures. The grand finale of the festival is the Rajasthani folk concert following an Air Force display, cricket match and parachuting. This festival end on Poornima (full moon day) in the Sam dunes with the “Sonar Qila” Jaisalmer Fort in the background creating a fairy-tale ambiance.
Delicious food, interesting stalls displaying artifacts, handicrafts and other souvenirs are also available at the festival. Desert safari and camping can be also enjoyed at the eve of the festival.
Dates of Desert Festival, Jaisalmer 2018
In 2018, Desert Festival, Jaisalmer is being celebrated from 29th January to 31st January. The three day celebrations is an extravaganza of sights, smells, tastes and unique delights of the desert city.
How to Reach
Jodhpur Airport is the nearest international airport to reach Jaisalmer. The airport is 337 kilometers away. You can either hire a prepaid or a private taxi from the Airport to reach Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is well connected with a wide network of trains covering most of the Indian cities. The railway station is located in the centre of the desert city. Once you reach the railhead, there are many auto-rickshaws and private taxis connecting the city.
Jaisalmer has excellent road connectivity. It is easy to commute to the city. Normal state owned buses, luxury coaches, sleeper AC buses, cabs, taxis and private vehicles can reach the city. If you are planning to visit sam dunes to attend Jaisalmer Desert Festival, you may like to explore our collection of hotels in Jaisalmer for availability of accommodation at your desired location. Tent house and deserts camps are also available. If you also want to explore more of Rajasthan and its royal destinations, you may want to browse through our collection of Jaisalmer tour packages that include short trip to this 'Golden City' as well as longer tour packages that include visit to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Pushkar and other major cities.