The three day long Desert Festival 2017 started with much enthusiasm on 8 February 2017 with thousands of people, both Indian and foreign nationals, gathering in the golden city of Jaisalmer to witness the rich and myriad cultural traditions of the desert state.
Jaisalmer MLA Chhotu Singh Bhati and district collector Matadin Sharma kick started the festivities by flagging-off the 'shobha yatra'. The procession traveled from Gadisar Lake to Shaheed Poonam Singh Stadium with famous folk artists performing and mesmerizing the audience.
The major attraction this year will be women wrestling which has been introduced for the first time. Other interesting events that people are excited about include kite flying competition, camel polo race, camel tattoo competition and the panihari matka race.
"An enchanting confluence of culture, colors and camels", tweeted Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje praising the internationally acclaimed festival.
The locals have set up stalls in the sprawling golden sands of Jaisalmer selling artifacts, handicrafts and other souvenirs. A plethora of fun activities are taking place at the festival enthralling the audience.
Day 1 of the festivities was marked by ghoomar dance, turban tying competition, moomal mahendra competition, mustache competition, Miss moomal competition and Mr Desert competiton. All these events were followed in the end by a cultural programme and fireworks display.
Other important events that people are looking forward to include the camel decoration competition, shan-e-marudhara competition, tug of war, wrestling for women, camel polo match, panihari matka race, camel tattoo show and air warrior drill show by the Indian Air Force on Day-2.
On Day-3 the typical Rajasthani village life will be showcased at Kuldhara, an abandoned village in the Jaisalmer district, followed by a camel race, cultural programmes and fireworks.
The sand dunes of Jaisalmer come to life every year during the month of February with the inauguration of the Desert Festival. The festival has, over the years, become an important repository of folk art, culture and traditions of Rajasthan.