Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2014
A complete picture of the folk tunes, tinges and twines framed within the sandy dunes, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival displays the traditional culture of the imperial state of Rajasthan. The festival sprays its colours, plays its tunes and whirs its heels from the heart of the Thar Desert that reaches out to the eyes of global spectators. Just when you come out of the winter wools and step on to the cuddly blossoming season, the folk fusion from the golden city of India, Jaisalmer, captures the mind of thousands of travellers. This time it is your turn to delve into the vibrant daylong extravaganza that continues for three days in the midst of ancient havelis, historical forts, majestic palaces, Jain temples and indigenous culture. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2014 is thus a perfect break from the information age that falls upon the collage of old-fashioned grandeur and colourful art from the diorama of incredible India.
A brief on history of Jaisalmer
[Panoramic view of Jaisalmer City. Source @ www.flashpackatforty.com]
Rewinding the episodes of the history of Jaisalmer, the reel dates back beyond the 12th century. The city was originally discovered by the Rajput king, Maharawal Jaisal Singh but the ancestral reels reveal that the territory was inhabited by the Bhati Rajputs before the establishment of the Jaisalmer Fort. Later in the year 1293, it was captured by Ala-ud-din Khilji that led the Bhattis to migrate to some other territories, most of it now in Pakistan. In the meantime, prior to the reign of Shah Jahan, one of the Mughal emperors, Jaisalmer confronted many battles and was seized by several Islamic and Bhatti rulers. It was later succeeded by Rawal Sahal Singh but there again in the year 1762 much of its outlying provinces were lost. Before the British invasion of India, Jaisalmer was marked as a stopover along the traditional trade route that linked India to Central Asia, Egypt, Arab and Persia. During the British era, Jaisalmer remained the princely state of the Bhatti Rajputs.
The fusion of music, dance and attire
Rajasthani Folk Dancers at the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. Source @ www.playlife.com]
Seeking to attract global attention and to spread its traditional colours, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival undoubtedly exhibits the local elements and heritage. The cacophony of Rajasthani art, Rajasthani folk music and dance, are represented by professional artists. The major attraction remains the Gair and Fire dancers and in addition the festival also ties up with several cultural events like camel races, turban tying, longest moustache competition and Mr. Desert contest. Further a desert safari to the shifting dunes of Sam marks a grand finale where one can applaud the skilful performances of various folk artists under the starlit dark sky.
[A Rajasthani folk rolling up his moustache. Source @ www.tripcrafters.com]
Organized by Rajasthan Tourism every year in the month of February, Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2014 is going to beat the sandy dunes from 12th February to 14th February. It is the best time when one can plan a Jaisalmer tour and explore the Thar Desert and get involved in the festive mood. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2014 is thus a sheer opportunity for you to traverse the traditional fusion of music, dance and attire that is far away from the clamour of modern era’s string, slam and strap.
Major attractions in Jaisalmer
[ Sunset at Jaisalmer. Photo courtesy @ Agron Dragaj]
Jaisalmer is a popular winter getaway in India and is also one of the exotic honeymoon destinations. Further, the city is dotted with traces of several sandstone heritage from the yore… revealing a wealthy history of the place. It also unfolds the indigenous Jain culture that reflects from carved walls and pillars of ancient Jain temples secluded within the Jaisalmer Fort. These temples exhibit the unique Dilwara style of paintings and architecture. Amongst the Jain temples those dating back from 12th century to 15th century are dedicated to various Jain Hermits, locally known as Tirthankars. Further the intrinsic carved works dilates various human and animal figures. Other major attractions of the fortress city, Jaisalmer, are the Royal Palace and Laxminath Temples. Moreover the desert safari in Jaisalmer is one of the most demanded activities.
[Carved human figures on the wall of a Jain Temple insideJaisalmer Fort]
Places to visit in and around Jaisalmer
Being located in the royal state of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer encircles several tourist destinations that form the royal chapters in the pages of Indian history. Jodhpur, which is also known as ‘Sun City’, is approximately 230 kilometers away; Bikaner, another historical city in Rajasthan and founded in the year 1486, is approximately 270 kilometers away. The capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur is approximately 490 kilometers, whereas Ajmer, which is one of the pilgrimage sites of Islam, is approximately 370 kilometers away. Udaipur, which is yet another honeymoon destination in Rajasthan and also known as the ‘Lake City’, is roughly 590 kilomers away from Jaisalmer.
How to Reach Jaisalmer?
Jaisalmer is easily accessible by road from different cities in Rajasthan. The city also hosts its own railway station that connects to the farthest corners of India. Daily buses and trains ply from Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur and New Delhi to Jaisalmer that makes an easy getaway for travellers. Further the tourism department has announced that the city will come up with its own airport by the next tourist season.
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