Jaisalmer Desert Festival: A Sight for Sore Eyes!

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With mirage-like sandstone structures, moving sand dunes in Thar Desert, and colourful folklore, the city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan casts a unique spell on its visitors. Besides its rich culture and history, the Golden City is also popular for Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation. During this three-day event, it feels as if the entire Rajasthan has come under one roof. From Rajasthani food to local handicrafts, and folk music performances to a camel ride, Jaisalmer Desert Festival offers a memorable experience to its participants. Also, February (Magh), when this event is organized, is considered to be the best time to visit the city. Further, tourists can explore historical forts, majestic palaces, Jain temples and wildlife in this desert city.

Highlights of Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Thousands of tourists, not from India alone but abroad as well, attend Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which lends them an opportunity to closely witness the vibrant life of people living in Thar. Other than the rendezvous with local traditions, the event is a show of talent. Let’s have a look at some of the festival highlights!

  • The festival organizes jugglery and folk (Gair and fire) dance performances. Besides, music, especially folk, performances are held.
  • A camel race is organized which is a one of its kind event that takes place only in Rajasthan.
  • The festival hosts various interesting competitions, including Mr. Desert, turban tying and best moustache.
  • Rajasthani handicrafts like juttis, quilts, paintings, home decorations, furniture and leather goods are popular among tourists. Also, handloom items in vibrant colours are a must buy when attending Jaisalmer Desert Festival.
  • Go for a camel ride or safari in Thar Desert to experience the moving sand dunes.
  • Enjoy a puppet show and relive your childhood memories.
  • Gorge on spicy Rajasthani food, including dal bati churma, laal maas, gatte, pyaaz ki kachori and mirchi bada.
  • Those who have a sweet tooth, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is a paradise for them. Popular sweets in the area are mawa kachori, mohan thaal and kalakand.
  • Try a variety of bhang lassis (marijuana milkshakes).
  • Enjoy sunset amidst the tranquil desert.

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Other Attractions in Jaisalmer

When in Jaisalmer to attend the popular festival, you must explore the city as well. From historical structures to traditional food, there is a lot Jaisalmer can offer to its visitors.

  • Jaisalmer Fort and Palace Museum: It is a sandstone fort that resembles a sandcastle. The massive structure was built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler, Jaisal. Notably, it is one of the few living forts in the world.
  • Jain temples: Built during 15th and 16th centuries, Jain temples are part of a series that features seven interconnected religious institutions.
  • Havelis (Mansions): Jaisalmer lets you witness the fairy-tale architecture through its havelis.
  • Desert National Park: Spend a night in a traditional-style hut.
  • Bada Bagh: It is a group of similar looking cenotaphs that were constructed in honour of the city's rulers from the 16th to 20th centuries.
  • Gadsisar Lake: Built by Maharawal Gadsi Singh in the 14th century, it is an artificial reservoir that was the only source of water supply to the city until 1965.
  • Khaba Fort: The historical structure is popular for its peacocks and sunrise view.
  • Vyas Chhatri: This place is popular for offering a mystical sunset view.

How to Reach Jaisalmer Desert Festival?

In order to completely enjoy and soak in the festivities of the desert festival, you must plan the trip in advance booking considering the mode of transport.

By Road: Jaisalmer is easily accessible for those travelling via road. It is only a few hours’ drive away from major Rajasthan cities such as Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur and Bikaner. Buses also ply from major cities nearby like Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur and New Delhi.

By Train: The city also witnesses frequent train trips to and from the major Indian cities. With a dedicated railway station, reaching Jaisalmer by train is extremely convenient.

By Air: The city doesn’t have a dedicated airport but the government is planning to develop one soon. As of now, the nearest airport, an Indian Air Force base, is 5 km away from the city centre. Further, tourists can hire cabs to reach Jaisalmer from Jodhpur Airport.