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Jaisalmer, Rajesthan - Celebration

Jaisalmer Sam Sand Dune Desert Festival
February Trekking, Travelling and Photography Andy Rawat

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This Jaisalmer Festival is generally held in the end of January or in the beginning of February every year in sand dunes of Sam, which is 42km away from Jaisalmer. Arrive Jaisalmer, afternoon, drive outside the city to see Amar Sagar Lake and to superb Sunset Point View. City named after its founder Maharawal Jaisal, the city was a centre of attraction, which is reflected in the magnificent havelis and forts still standing tall around the city. Annual event organized by Rajasthan Tourism for 3 days in the Beautiful ‘Golden Desert City’. Colorful Festival is held in the Hindu month of Magh (February), It’s a complete bundle of fun for 3 days prior to the full moon. Jaisalmer known for its majestic sand dunes and forts. Manmade Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer, the rainwater fed reservoir was built in 1156 AD and rebuilt in 1367AD by Maharwal Garsisingh. The Fort provides an ethereal backdrop to festival. The festival marks everything that Jaisalmer has long symbolized in its glory, the intricate stone work, the vibrant culture, the beautifully decorated camels and spectacular folk songs. Be a witness of real cultural and heritage at its full height during Festival. Fort is 2nd oldest fort in state and offers surely a vision of beauty and charm. The sands around city come alive with the vibrant colors and festival's music. The festival is showcase the dance on lyrical Rajasthani folk songs, its very attracted festival for foreign tourists. Add more fun the camel polo and camel dance show.

After breakfast we drive to Sam sand dunes, the venue for grand final of the desert festival. On reaching there, you first go for camel safari ride. Desert Festival is also known for Turban-tying competition, which is popular activity among the visitors. Participants of the competition try to turn long colourful fabric into turbans. Full day visit the Desert by your own. Trek across the desert to sell woven goods, silver jewelry and other items, which is justifiably popular with tourists from across the globe. The Jaisalmer’s desert festival was started to attract foreign tourists, who always wanted to explore the facets of Rajasthan in the possible crunch of time. Against the backdrop of Jaisalmer fort, people can tickle their taste buds with delicious delicacies, dance along to music and cultural performances and be amused by camel rides and even a camel tug-of-war. Everything is exotic interesting in the Desert festival, in the middle of the golden sands of the Thar Desert. Some of the other activities are the traditional acrobatics by locals (known as Kalabaaz), snake charmers, puppet shows and ballads. The grand finale of the festival is the Rajasthani folk concert following an Air Force display, cricket match and parachuting. Between the pinks of winters, the sand of Jaisalmer comes alive with dazzling colors, vibrant music and sounds of the laughter.

“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.” – Anthony R.
Detailed Itinerary


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The celebrations of this festival make the desert come alive with color, enthusiasm and happiness. Special efforts go into dressing the camel for entering the spectacular competition. Locals women are tall beautiful, perform and dressed in their bright costumes dance and sing. Seeking to attract global attention and spread its traditional colors, the Festival undoubtedly exhibits the local elements and heritage. Organized Celebration throughout the kingdom, when people came to know that the prediction has come true. It attracts large number of participants and foreigner trevellers who plan their trip to coincide with this great event. With arrival artists, a delightful series of programs begins in or around Jaisalmer. You will never forget wonders like the well-known Fire dancers that are the major attraction of the desert festival celebrations of Rajasthan. While destination witnesses vacationers all the year during the Festival that it encounters the largest crowd. You will never forget the famous Gair and Fire dancers, which are the major attraction of the celebrations. These 3 days celebration glorifies the rich culture of the region. You will get to see Cultural events, camel races, turban tying competitions in this festival. Vibrating drums can be heard for miles around, as witness of colorful the golden sand dunes where the festival takes place every year.


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Jaisalmer is probably the only city in Indian Desert that brings out to the world the beauty of the desert life. Jaisalmer is the only place where desert festival is celebrated for 3 days with great zest and zeal especially for tourists. This festival is most awaited, famous cultural and colorful events that dominates the sand of Rajasthan, which is held in February month of every year. Desert Festival is the most awaited and famous cultural and colorful events that dominates the sand of Rajasthan for late evenings shows of music, Gair and the fire dance are highlights of the festival. Event of the music traditions of the desert are so fascinating that conceiving the musical festival. Highlights include camel fancy dress competition, gymnastics over camel’s back, camel race, turban-tying matches as well as dance performance by camels. Attend the contests to judge the man with moustache is most popular among foreigners. The sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colors, music and laughter of the Festival. In last day of the festival, camel rides and folk music concert were organised. Delicious food, interesting stalls displaying artifacts, handicrafts and other souvenirs are also available at the festival.


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Every year in winters, the empty yellow sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival in the great Thar Desert. Camels are not just beasts of burden but an integral part of the desert life and the camel events confirm this fact. Annual fest of Jaisalmer is known for a strong local flavour, rejoicing in an explosion of colour and candour. A few days before the spring full moon according to the Hindu calendar, musicians, dancers and performers start moving in colorful camel caravans towards the golden city. The traditional warmth and culture dominates the city of silvery sand dunes. Besides enjoy the camel decoration, camel polo and other programs. The 12th century fort of Jaisalmer, built in yellow sandstone, provides a fairytale background. You can witness the real culture and heritage at its full height during Jaisalmer Desert Festival.


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As a tourist destination, this city renders countless moments of pleasure for the yearning tourist. Ladies also have the opportunity to test their balancing act in the Matka race competition. Proud moustached villagers, dressed in their ethnic outfit and join the camel dances, camel acrobatics, camel races and camel polo. Keeping the moustache twisted upwards meant keeping the pride intact while drooping moustaches conveyed complete surrender. Jaisalmer is a popular winter getaway and also one of the exotic honeymoon destinations. The special magic and aura that this city creates is another feather in its cap. Havelis of Jaisalmer invite you to walk through the memory lane of nostalgia. Even you can spend time to visit Heritage Havelis and City. Beautiful mansions built by wealthy merchants are known as 'Havelis' and several of these are still in good condition. Patwon ki Haveli is the most elaborate and magnificent in Jaisalmer. From 12th to 15th century, the Jain temples are dedicated to various Jain Hermits, locally known as Tirthankars. Both the turban and the moustache have been centuries old symbols of honor in Rajasthan. Jaisalmer's havelis are known for their explicit artworks and carvings and are examples of blend of Rajput and Islamic style of architecture.


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Majority of the travelers prefer to visit the Sam Sand Dunes for a day excursion coming from Jaisalmer, others joining in some camel safaris. There are a lot of camp owners who are offering mud cottages and Swiss tents to tourists. The camp is an exciting way to experience amazing sunsets on the horizon. There are also some stray of tea shops and restaurants around the dunes for day trippers to enjoy. At night, it is a must that travelers get to experience laying in the sand and do stargazing. The best time to visit is during the months of October to December is when many tourists drove in the Sam Sand Dunes in very good numbers which cannot cause less enjoyment for each traveler because of the wide space of the Thar Desert.


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The Desert colorful Festival conduct on a huge scale, which is perfect break for locals from hectic schedule and enjoy colourful art from the diorama of incredible India. Mr. Desert contests, Camels races, Camel Polo, turban-tying contest and a contest for the longest moustache are the highlights of the event. This humble town fair has transformed into a colourful festival that is conducted on a huge scale. The locals dress in traditional and bright costumes and bazaars overflow with the handicrafts. The folk artists perform dancing and songs, this desert festival has everything to allure domestic and international tourists. The folk songs with music dance, colorful bazaars and curio stalls what makes this event delightful. The spectacular gair dancers of barmer and the fire dancers are great crowed puller. A spectacular sunsets in the city.


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There are number of tourist attractions in Jaisalmer that will undoubtedly make your Jaisalmer trip as an unforgettable experience. Tying a turban is not only an intriguing tradition art, Desert safari and camping should not miss in Sam Sand dune desert. Competitions of turban tying, longest moustache and Mr. Desert contest. Visit the festival to see the real taste of Rajasthani culture and stay overnight in desert camp. And yes, camels left behind in this festival like camel races, camel polo, camel decoration and camel dance is a common sight here aren’t. Exquisitely embroidered skirts, hand-woven shawls, rugs, carvings on wood and stone, camel decorations, embroidered leather bags, ethnic silver jewelry and terracotta can be bought at this desert fair.


BY AIR : Jaisalmer of Rajasthan has its own airport and has flights operational by all the major Airlines of India. Jaisalmer is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines during the tourist season of Rajasthan from October to March. Jodhpur Airport is the nearest international airport to reach Jaisalmer and the international airport is 337 kilometers away. You can either hire a prepaid or a private taxi from the Airport to reach Jaisalmer.

BY TRAIN : 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 of Rajasthan is linked to major cities of India through wide standard as well as meter standard railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer of Rajasthan are available to Jodhpur of Rajasthan as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is linked through both 'Broad gauge' as well as 'Meter gauge' tracks. You can also travel to Jaisalmer by Palace on Wheels.

BY ROAD : 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. Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is well linked to the rest of state by well-maintained roads. Due to its closeness to Indo-Pak boarder, particular importance is given on its maintenance. Deluxe and Ordinary buses of Rajasthan Roadways and Private companies run form Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahmedabad etc, Roadways main bus stand opposite Railway station and Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two major bus stands.

About the author
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Andy Rawat Very passionate about visual design. I'm enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. The point is when I see a sunset, waterfall or something, for a split second it's so great, bcoj a little bit I'm out of my brain. And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness.

Isha Kathpal