DESERT FESTIVAL- JAISALMER
FACTS & FIGURES
Time of the year - February
Once a year during winters, the sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colors, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. The fair has snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival, where the rich and colorful folk culture of Rajasthan is on show. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show amidst the sand dunes on a moonlit night.
The Jaisalmer fort provides an ethereal backdrop to the annual desert festival. Sponsored by the Rajasthan State Tourism Corporation, this festival is a joyful celebration of the traditional performing arts and creative crafts of Rajasthan.
Unlike the major festivals of Rajasthan, the desert festival has no legends to recount. It is a created event but the music traditions of the desert are so fascinating that conceiving the musical festival came as almost a natural solution for facilitating their preservation. It was also inspired by the Music Festival of Salzburg-though totally different in concept and content. Both the towns exude music and have a heavy inflow of tourists. But unlike the Salzburg Festival, the shows of the Jaisalmer Festival are not ticketed. Sponsored by the state tourism corporation, it has been designed to promote tourism in the enigmatic Thar Desert.
Once the festival is over, it certainly leaves behind a nostalgic feeling. Some connoisseurs of music have been to the festival more than once and there is a tourist from Holland who has attended the festival four times.
Today, this traditional extravaganza is a coveted event for music lovers-the performers as well as the listeners. For the performers, it has become a prestigious event to participate in. It has also helped find new talent and expended patronage to many artistes.
PLACES TO VISIT
In order to witness its colorful festivities, one must visit Jaisalmer, the golden sand dunes where the festival takes place every year.
One can reach Jodhpur from any of the major cities by air and from Jodhpur one can go to the venue of the desert festival by taking any of the road transport options that are easily available there. Jodhpur is the nearest big city to Jaisalmer, which is well connected to the venue of the Desert Festival. It is also well connected by train and buses.