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Desert Festival Jaisalmer


Desert Festival, known locally as the Baneshwar Fair, of Jaisalmer is organized by Department of Tourism and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation to attract foreign tourists every year. The three-day long festival culminates on the full-moon night in January or February (in the month of Magh according to the Hindu calendar) every year. The highlights of this unusual festival include folk performances, colorful attires and get-up of desert people of Rajasthan, unique traits, exuberance, and exotic handicrafts of Rajasthan. Suitably, it ends with some spectacular performances by world-famous artists under the starry skies, against the shimmering backdrop of the world-famous Sam Sand Dunes and fairytale like Jaisalmer Fort.

The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a wonderful opportunity to have a bird’s eye view of highly evolved arts and music as well as illustrious culture and traditions of Rajasthan. The acrobatic yet graceful movements of Rajasthani folk dancers and their quick sweeping moves in perfect synchronization with the echoing desert music create euphoria in the audience. There are turban-tying competitions as well as Mr. Desert Contest to boot. Tourist participation in the competitions and games is actively encouraged.

Foreign tourists trying to shape 10-yard long fabric in an acceptable turban form enjoy themselves as much as the friendly and warm locals who appreciate their efforts to be a part of their rituals. You might even learn how turbans signify the social and religious status of the people of Rajasthan and learn a few turban-tying styles in the bargain. Women with earthen pots filled with water on their heads have to run for a distance of 2 kms to win the race. The fastest runner that has spilled least amount of water is announced the winner. Then, there are tug if war contests, desert dances such as chakri and ghoomar, camel races, camel rides and even para-jumping on the sand dunes as other highlights of the event.

At Desert Festival, one can also sample traditional snacks and cuisine of Rajasthan at very affordable prices. Camel parade by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in which they perform acrobatics and other drills is a must-see at the festival. The Sam Sand Dune experience on the last day is perhaps the best and attracts most foreign tourists and locals alike. Gair and Fire dancers add to the fun and frolic of the winter carnival and lively folk culture of Rajasthan add life to the barren sands. You can click photos with puppet shows, snake charmers, and folk dancers as mementos of the festival and even get some good deals on authentic Rajasthani handicrafts here.

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