Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar

Every year in February Month (Maagh Month as per Hindu Calendar), the Golden City of Jaisalmer and the vast stretched Thar Desert surrounding this city become active with the lively music, vibrant colors, hustle & bustle of the people and the start of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival.

Among the recognized fun as well as cultural events that overlook the land of Rajasthan during winters is the ‘Desert Festival’ of Jaisalmer. Tourists all over the world visit Jaisalmer during the month of February to visit this Desert Festival which reflects the heritage and culture of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer Desert Festival is celebrated in the midst of the golden sand dunes of Thar Desert in a location called Sam Sand Dunes which is situated at a distance of 40 kms from the Jaisalmer city. This pristine and remote land with minimal life and vegetation becomes the most visited place by the tourists and locals during these three days amusing and exciting festival of the desert.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Desert Festival

With the backdrop of the Palatial Jaisalmer Fort, the yearly desert fair starts and it is sponsored by the Tourism Corporation of the Rajasthan State.

History of Jaisalmer Desert Festival

According to the legends, the King of the Yadava Dynasty, Lord Krishna once prophesied Arjuna, who was one among the Pandava Brothers, that, a descendant of the Yadava Dynasty will again establish his monarchy on the hills of Trikuta. After a long period of time, in 1196 AD Maha Rawal Jaisal, who was a descendant of the Yadava Kin took birth and later on, he set up the city of Jaisalmer as well as the Jaisalmer Fort on the Trikuta Hills. When people recognized about the presage of Lord Krishna, they became very happy and celebrations started in and around Jaisalmer for many days which is till date celebrated as a festival every year in Jaisalmer.

The Government of India, by seeing the charm and popularity of this festival started to publicise this festival so that, tourists from all over the world and visit and participate in this fair and can know about the rich history and cultural heritage of Rajasthan in a better way. In this way, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival got recognition worldwide.

Celebration of Desert Festival

As per the Hindu calendar, one week prior to the full moon, groups of performers, musician and dancers from different parts of Rajasthan start coming to the land of desert Jaisalmer in vibrant colored camel convoys to take part in the decades old heritage ceremony, which sprays a feel of festivity in the air.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Rajasthani Folk Dancers

The celebration starts with a morning march from the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer to the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium. In this march, the people wear colorful and traditional attires and they sing traditional ballads depicting the tragedy, bravery and romance of deserts. In this fair, you will witness puppeteers, snake charmers, acrobats (a group of local nomads called Kalabaaz), and folk dancer & music performers. The fire dance performances are the main attractions of this festival.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Rajasthani Folk Singers

During daytime, the tourists can explore the stalls of desert arts & crafts and tasty Rajasthani cuisines & Pickles. In these stalls you will get handicrafts of stone and wood with elaborate carvings, hand woven stoles, rugs, beautifully embroidered dresses & sarees, hand block printed bedspreads, traditional terracotta & silver jewelry, camel leather shoes & bags, different decorations for camels, mouth-watering local snacks, pickles and other food items.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Desert Festival 

In the evening, the main shows of dance and music starts with the vibration of huge drums which can be heard from long distance. The programs continue till midnight and the three days fair starts 3 days prior to the full moon.

Camels are an important part of the desert and desert people and therefore, a desert festival or fair without camels is not possible in Rajasthan. The camel competitions such as the camel race, camel dance and best decorated camel are very popular among the tourists. Special ornaments and decorations are made by the camel owners to win the best decorated camel competition. One of the exceptional competitions is the camel polo competition, in which polo is being played by the players while riding on the camel’s back.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Other attractive events are turban tying competition and the competition of longest moustache as both these things are the age-old signs of pride for the people of Rajasthan.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Longest Moustache Competition

Turban is a fascinating art and tradition of the people of Rajasthan and the various colours of turbans describes the different regions, occasions and castes of the people. Thus, this significant part of their life is included in this fair in the form of competition. It is very interesting to see the participants tying the lengthy turbans in a wink.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival - The Grandeur of Thar, jaisalmer
Turban Tying Competition 

The Mr. Desert Competitions which is called ‘Maru Shree’ by the locals also draws the attention of the tourists. The entire event is followed by the camel tattoo of the BSF (extremely trained camel troops to safeguard the border of western India).

The final day is on the full moon (poornima) which comprises cricket matches, parachuting, Air Force shows and Rajasthani traditional dance and folk song concerts. Desert Safari, Jeep Safari and Desert camping can also be enjoyed during this 3 days fair and festival.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2020

The upcoming Jaisalmer Desert Festival is in February 2020 which will start on 7th of February and will end on the 9th of February. So, if you are planning for a winter vacation in 2020, than, this will be a great experience for you to take part in this age-old grandeur of the desert. The Jaisalmer weather remains ideal in February. Plan for this Desert Festival in advance and book hotels in advance as hotels bookings are difficult to get during these 3 days due to rush.


After enjoying these three days you can also plan for a countryside exploration of Jaisalmer. There are a number of heritage places to visit in Jaisalmer. Some of them are listed below:

Jaisalmer Fort

Salim Singh Ki Haveli

Patwon Ki Haveli

Kuldhara Village

Gadisar Lake

How to Reach Jaisalmer

1. Jodhpur is the closest airport to Jaisalmer at a distance of 330 kms.

2. Jaisalmer has its own railway station which is well linked with all the major cities of India.

3. Jaisalmer is well linked by roadways to all the cities and towns of Rajasthan and North & West India. 

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