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The Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Three days of Indian culture, crafts and camels

Rajasthan, India is host to one of the country’s premiere tourist-oriented events, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival.  Its origins are said to be connected to the founding of the city, which was foretold as a prophecy, and its subsequent rise to power as a wealthy trade hub.  Though informally recognized for most of history, the city tourist board of Rajasthan finally decided that it was the perfect event to use in order to promote tourism.  Since then, in January or February of each year, people flock to the city to witness this three-day-long event that is a great demonstration of Indian culture.

One of the focuses of the event is to show off the artistic talent of the region’s people.  From performance arts to crafts to other unique entertainments, the heart of Rajasthan’s culture is on display. 

Dancing and music take place each day of the event, including night concerts that are colorfully illuminated with the beauty of the desert as their background.  Processions of colorfully dressed people and decorated camels make their way through the streets.  There are acrobatic performances, some taking place on the backs of camels.  Snake charming, puppet shows and a huge crafts market are a few other things that the festival has to offer.

Several competitions take place for the amusement of visitors.  There is a Mr. Desert beauty pageant, a turban tying contest and even a best moustache event.  Camels seem to be one big focus, offering a variety of camel-themed things to do and see, such as camel riding, camel polo, camel tug-of-war, camel decorating and camel dancing.  All this is accompanied by a wide selection of delicious Indian food and fireworks displays each night of the event.

Though promoted heavily for tourists, the essence of the festival still remains a dedication to all the things that make Rajasthan unique among the many cultures of India.  All this takes place in the shadow of the amazing architectural masterpiece, the Jaisalmer Fort.  Next year’s celebration takes place from February 23rd to the 25th, so if you’ve ever wanted to experience Indian culture first-hand, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is an event not to be missed.