The Jaisalmer festival slated for Nov 16-18 promises to be a melting pot of music, art and films in the middle of Thar Desert.
Festivals are not conceptualized overnight. It took organizer Keith Menon over five years of meticulous planning to come up with what could turn out to be one of the most experiential festivals in India. But then Ragasthan is more than just a music fest. The multi-arts cultural extravaganza, to be held from November 16-18 in the Kanoi sand dunes near Jaisalmer, has everything that a festival must have, plus more. Think music, films and art. Add star-gazing, ghost story-sessions, open-air movie screenings, impromptu jams and bonfires. And did we miss camping? At Ragasthan, you may just get a slice of a nomadic lifestyle – complete with living in tents right in the middle of the Thar Desert.
“It’s a smart thing to use music as a bait to promote other things such as independent cinema and art,” says Menon.
On the music front, the artiste line-up of the three includes usual suspects like Advaita, Sky Rabbit, Parikrama as well as the recent fest hoppers Spud In The Box and Peter Cat Recording Co.
But it isn’t the prospect of watching these bands live that’ll make the festival special. It’s the delight of watching them in the midst of an expansive desert, under a starry sky, when the air has just the perfect, slight nip in the air. And that’s exactly the reason why a movie screening and a chat with the director would seem so much more enticing. It’s the desert!
“A desert is a fascinating place for anyone- music buff or a traveller. Nothing beats the feeling of rolling down on sand and looking at limitless stretches of dunes around you. The space is unlimited. So, what could be a better place than this to host a festival?,” says Keith.
And the rich heritage that a place like Jaisalmer carries, only adds up to the charm. “This place has seen a lot of history. At one point, it used to be the only entry point into India.”
Jaisalmer makes for a great destination for any travel buff. The central attraction of the place is the charming ‘living fort’, where the majority of its population lives. Take our word that even if you’re on a short holiday and make a visit to the fort once, you’d come back for a second visit soon enough.
Anyone who’s ever visited any part of Ragasthan will vouch for the hospitality of the locals there. And that helps a lot when you are travelling to a whole new territory to attend a festival. You can rest assured that you will not get a snide look for an answer when you ask for directions.
“Here, the community is very strong. In fact, getting government support for the fest was the easiest bit. The government wants to push tourism in the state and were more than happy to help,” says Menon, who studied in Mt Abu and would travel to Jaisalmer often.
Easy road trippin
Exceptional roads, even in the most remote areas of Rajasthan, make road tripping a butter smooth experience. The impressive execution of the Prime Minister’s Road Scheme the area means that there will be boards announcing even small hamlets, making the state easily navigable.
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“A desert is a fascinating thing for anyone- music buff or a traveller. Nothing beats the feeling of rolling down on sand. The space is unlimited. So, what could be a better place than this to host a festival?,” says Menon.
Check out the lineup here http://www.ragasthan.com/
Book tickets here: http://in.bookmyshow.com/concerts/ragasthan/