“With events such as camel racing, turban tying, and the longest mustache competition, this quirky Indian festival showcases the cultural wonders of Rajasthan.”
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 . Romantic, remote and unspoiled, the location comes to life during the three day extravaganza of the delights of the desert.
History of Desert Festival
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
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.
Mustaches and turbans aren’t just symbols of masculinity in Rajasthan—they are symbols of honor. And the most honored one of all is Mr. Desert, a contest where judges assess mustaches based on a number of criteria, including length and quality.Seeing the dedication and creativity that each contestant undergoes is an impressive feat in itself. The competition is one of the top attractions during the festival, as many visitors clamber to take photos alongside the winners. Lucky visitors are occasionally given the opportunity to judge the competition as well.
A desert festival wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of camels, and at the Jaisalmer Desert Festival these humped beasts play a major role. Camels feature in a number of events, including camel races, camel polo, camel decoration, and camel dances. The Jaisalmeri breed of camels are particularly known for their speed and agility.
The festival comes to an end on the third day that corresponds with Poornima (meaning the full moon in Sanskrit).
In 2017, Desert Festival, Jaisalmer is being celebrated from 08th February to 10th February. The three day celebrations is an extravaganza of sights, smells, tastes and unique delights of the desert city.