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Jaisalmer Desert Festival - Fairs and Festivals in India

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.

Celebrations
A few days before the spring full moon according to the Hindu calendar, musicians, dancers and performers from all over Rajasthan start moving in colorful camel caravans towards the golden town of Jaisalmer, which dons a festive look. The otherwise barren landscape is splashed with vibrant colors marking the opening of the Desert Festival. The 12th century fort of Jaisalmer, built in yellow sandstone, provides a fairytale background. Over the years, the desert dwellers in their solitude have woven a fascinating tapestry with threads of music and rhythm and the Desert Festival is a celebration of their heritage. It is a chance of a lifetime to see the folk art forms against the landscape that has nurtured them for hundreds of years.

With the arrival of the artists, a delightful series of programs begins in and around Jaisalmer. There is music everywhere and at every given hour. Through the winding lanes of the fortified town to the sand dunes and even the rivers of abandoned villages, the music casts a potent spell. Beginning at sunrise, it reaches its zenith under the umbrella of the star-studded sky. Though it is mainly a festival of the performing arts, there are several other events that give a glimpse of the desert culture.

Through the day, visitors can come face to face with the desert craftsmen. Exquisitely embroidered skirts, hand-woven shawls, rugs, carvings on wood and stone, camel decorations, embroidered leather bags, ethnic silver jewelry and terracotta are brought in from all over the desert. These skillfully achieved crafts are objects d'art for the handicraft buff.

Evenings are meant for the main shows of music and dance. Vibrating desert drums can be heard for miles around. Nearly all the variations of performing arts of these desert people are displayed. Continuing till late into the night, the number of spectators swells up each night and the grand finale, on the full moon night, takes place by silvery sand dunes.

 

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