World through my eyes
Rajasthan is the land of rich history and heritage. To live upto its charm it celebrates in multiple forms all the year round. February is one of the most pleasant times to visit Rajasthan, even to the desert side. We give here five more reasons to visit Rajasthan in this month.
Its one of Rajasthan’s premier showcase festivals. Once a year, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with a mesmerising performance on the sand dunes in the form of the Desert Festival. The festival, organised by the Department of Tourism around January-February, goes on for three whole days and lets you enjoy the rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture. Rajasthani men and tall, beautiful women dressed in their best and brightest costumes dance and sing ballads of valour, romance and tragedy, while traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other to showcase their musical superiority. The high points of the festival are puppeteers, acrobats, camel tattoo shows, camel races, camel polo, traditional processions, camel mounted bands, folk dances, etc.
2. Nagaur Fair, Nagaur, February 1-4, 2017
The Nagaur Fair is said to be the second biggest cattle fair in India. Held every year between the months of January and February, it is popularly known as the Cattle Fair of Nagaur as this is where owners gather to trade animals. Approximately 70,000 bullocks, camels and horses are traded every year at this fair. The animals are lavishly decorated and even their owners dress up with colourful turbans and long moustaches. Besides cattle, sheep, horses and even spices are traded. Other attractions include the Mirchi Bazaar (largest red chilli market of India), sale of wooden items, iron-crafts and camel leather accessories. Several sports are also held during the fair. These include tug-of-war, camel races and bullock races. Nagaur fair is also famous for its jugglers, puppeteers, storytellers, etc. Nagaur lies midway between Jodhpur and Bikaner.
3. Beneshwar Festival, Dungarpur, February 7-10, 2017
Beneshwar Fair is a popular tribal festival held in the Beneshwar Temple of Dungarpur. This festival, held on the full moon day of February or Magh Shukla Purnima, attracts a large number of tourists. On this pious occasion, Bhils travel all the way from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to take a dip at the confluence of three rivers- Mahi, Som and Jakham. In addition to this fair, the Vagad Festival is also one of the popular celebrations of Dungarpur. This festival showcases dance forms and music from the region. Holi, the popular Hindu festival, is celebrated here with tribal dances. Dungarpur is the southernmost district of Rajasthan, accessible from Udaipur very easily or even Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
4. Shekhawati Festival, Nawalgarh, February 9-12, 2017
For last 22 years Shekhawati has played host to one of India’s unique cultural festivals. The Shekhawati Festival involves not only every villager of this large province but also people from all parts of India and the world. While the main activity is centred around the huge Surya Mandal Stadium in Navalgarh, Shekhawati Festival is truly a celebration of the various aspects and locales of Shekhawati. The locals get a chance to exhibit their prodigious skills. Famed artists and craftsmen from every corner of Rajasthan use this festival as an opportunity to display their talent to the world. There are organised tours to the famed portals of famous Havelis, forts and temples of the region. For those seeking in-depth knowledge of arts and crafts of the region there are seminars and workshops. The Morarka Foundation who has been instrumental in the conception, design and organisation and patronisation of the Shekhawati Festival ensures that this is also a platform to reward the inhabitants of the region for their achievements of the year.
5. World Sacred Spirit Festival, Nagaur, February 13-15, 2017 and Jodhpur, February 17-19, 2017
This festival is held in two cities- Jodhpur and Nagaur, one after another. This is actually a celebration of Sufi culture and traditions. The prestigious sites of the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and the Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur open their doors to an extraordinary sacred and historical musical journey. Lit by the sparkling incandescence of a thousand candles, magnificent, inherited and spiritual arts will carry you to the very origin of a tradition linked to those pilgrims of the past, travelers of the spirit, who brought to civilisation a sense of inspiration and meaning. The line-up of artistes for this year includes names like surbahar and sitar player Irshad Khan, folk singer, musician and storyteller Parvathy Baul and musician Mehdi Nassouli, Oud player and Composer Issa Murad, flute player Rishab Prasanna, tabla player Zuheb Ahmed Khan from Palestine, flute player Lingling Yu from China and musicians Samuel Cattiau and Quentin Dujardin. The festival will have musicians from the Orient, Africa and India. This festival started as a celebration to mark the Unesco World Heritage Award for conservation at the Ahhichatragarh Fort of Nagaur. Now it is into its 10th year. Musicians like Prem Joshua from Germany, Sahar Mohammadi from Iran, Dhrupad practitioner and performer Pelva Naik and sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan from India will also perform at the fest. Earlier this festival was known as World Sufi Spirit Festival but was later rechristened as World Sacred Spirit Festival.