The Desert festival of Jaisalmer is held in February every year on the Sam Sand Dunes, about 42 km from Jaisalmer, the Golden city of Rajasthan. This is one of the most popular festivals of Rajasthan, Desert Festival is celebrated for three days and commemorates on Purnima, the day of full moon.
Desert Festival is a special feature of Golden city of Jaisalmer and it displays the rich culture of Rajasthan. During the festival the city reverberates to the sound of melodious songs and rhythms. Desert festival showcases the performing arts of the region and a number of competitions, artists perform traditional dances, sing local folk songs and speak about the lives of the local heroes. People dress themselves in the colourful attires and participate in various events and competitions. Camel races, camel dances, tug-of-war among musclemen, turban tying competition and Mr. Desert contest are some of the major highlight of this festival. On the whole, the activities that take place during the three day festival will surely keep you amused. If you wish to experience the rich traditions of Rajasthan, but running short of time, and then weave your itinerary around the Desert festival, it will provide you a close look of the Rajasthani culture.
Very little is known about the history of Desert festival, but the fun-filled festival is celebrated here for a long time. An important cultural festival of Rajasthan, Desert Festival provides a cultural platform for the rich dance and music tradition of the state. Camel races, turban tying competitions, traditional folk music and dance performances, exciting competitions and contests are some of the highlights of the festival. Here you can see puppet shows, dancers, ballads and snake charmers as well. As the evening progresses, the Sam Sand dunes come alive with the soulful songs of the balladeers and dramas of the puppeteers. Local artisans present their artistic skills against the splendid backdrop of the Sam sand dunes on the milky white moon light. In the night the dancers perform the amazing acts like fire dance and acrobatic stunts. The Desert festival is famous for the turban-tying competition, in which participants try to turn the long colourful fabric into attractive turbans. Another much-awaited event is the tug-of-war, in which participants get together to lend their combined strength to pull the rope. Mr Desert contest is an important event organised during the desert festival. People with long moustache participate in the Mr Desert contest. In this contest size does matter, but only in the context of moustache and it attracts a lot of contenders, all vying to be the 'heartiest of them all'. During the desert festival colourful craft bazaars are set up where one can check out locally made items. Camels, the ship of the desert are an integral part of the desert festival. Like other festivals of Rajasthan, in desert festival too, the camels are decorated beautifully and contests like camel dance and camel polo are organised.