International Thar Desert Festival: A Myriad of World Music and Culture

International Thar Desert Festival is a magnificent blend of different cultures of music all over globe. It is a state of Musical trance which explains to us that music is beyond any language. Before the fest introduction, it is vital to know the wonderful place “Jaisalmer”.

Jaisalmer known as the ‘Golden City’, situated in southern Rajasthan.(Located around 575 kilometers from Jaipur) . The name Golden City rightly fits because of the glittering golden sand all over the place. All the homes and monuments are built using the yellow sandstone, which is found abundantly in the region. This magnificent city is in the heart of the Thar Desert. This place portraits the ancient Jainism culture. The Mega Rajput Fort is the most renounced tourist spot; it is believed that Maharawal Jaisal Singh is the founder of this Golden City of India. In this new era Jaisalmer is one of the top ten destinations for celebrating the New Year Eve in India and is been a growing stage for various International Events.

Fest Origin: The whole idea to blend such a Musical culture in the deserts was by John K Town. John is an Australian traveler who eventually while traveling in India fell in love with a remote village of Jaisalmer. He made the whole village his family and started a home-stay/desert camping in a beautiful piece of land called “Mala Ki Dhani”. The entire fest was organized solely with the help of the villagers.

International Thar Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Fort of the ‘Golden City’. Photography by Guillaume N

Overview: International Thar Desert Festival


Best Time to Visit

September to February
Location 15 kilometers from Jaisalmer Fort
Best Transport route Local Jeeps/Auto to Mala Ki Dhani

Daily buses/trains to Jaisalmer from Jaipur, Delhi and other main cities of Rajasthan

Flavorsome savory Dal Bhati churma

Red Goat Curry

Special Lassi

Places to wonder nearby Khuris Desert Camel safari

Bahwai Lake

Sunset point  on the rocky mountain

Jaisalmer Golden Fort

Maharaja Picnic palace

Fest Dates Sep 2, 2016 to Sep 5, 2016

Feb 27, 2017 to Mar 6, 2017

Jan 29, 2018 to Jan 31, 2018 

Feb 17, 2019 to Feb 19, 2019

Event coordinator  Bhati Bhai
Price (pocket’s best friend)  800-1000 per day (accommodation + food) (approx)


Essentials for International Thar Desert Festival

Anytime you travel to Rajasthan make sure you are on a comfortable pair of cotton clothing. It is vital to protect your head from the bright sun so carry hats along and keep yourself hydrated every 2 hours.

During winters the temperature drops down drastically after sunset, make sure to carry shoes and warm cloths.

The Fest Culture

The foremost culture of the fest is “Simplicity is the beauty of life”. The International Thar Desert Festival goes on for about 5 days to 8 days featuring special solo/ group performance by various travel Artist. It brings out the raw music which directly drops into your soul. During the day we will be wondering near the near-by places to visit.

But the day and night music jamming along with savoring the mystery of deserts makes us travel to a timeless zone.

One is always free to make flexible plans according to their mood.

On last day of the fest we will spend quality time with the school kids.

Get ready to wake the kid inside you!

International Thar Desert Festival

Somalay and his mesmerizing Indian Music. Photography by Anas Ali


International Thar Desert Festival

Israeli singer & traveler Maya Bar-Tal having fun time with kids. Photography by Anas Ali

Witness the Kalbaliya Dance under the Fading Moonlight

This is going to be the best nights of the Thar Desert Festival. The soulful and cultural voices of the singers will be blending with Khartal, Bhapang, Sindhi/kamaicha Sarangi, Ravan Hatta folk instruments. Later on this folk music just binds everybody around with Kalbaliya dance. One would wonder looking at these novice artists, who just carry on their ancestral skills. Eventually we will be dancing on the Kalbaliya music in the end.

Don’t miss on sipping cold special Lassi while watching the dance!

International Thar Desert Festival

Folk dance under the moonlight. Photography by Ankita Jain


International Thar Desert Festival

Kabaliya Dance. Photography by Megha Katokar

Music Jamming on the shady shrubs of Bahwai lake

This is the moment one can witness the Myriad of World Music and Culture under mono roof. Ha! The Sky!

Israeli Artist Avi  Mazliah, expresses the unspoken emotions of the song in a unique contemporary style of dance. Then we had strong and magically voice of Limor Ballas, Freelance singer, who will definitely make us fall in love with Hebrew language.

One can’t stop tapping their feet on the Cathy Guitar tune by Nepali Singer, Himalaya Rai and Afro beats on djambe drums by Gali Durugappa.


It feels great to just laze on the sandy banks surrounded by all sorts of Musical instruments and sipping the special Lassi.


Kick the heat with a huge glass of special Lassi in your hand. This Lassi is so stomach filing which is made of sweetened fresh curds, flavored with lots of pista, cashew-nuts, kesar (saffron) and dried grapes. Served chilled!

(Anytime you are hungry just grab a special Lassi at Best price of Rs. 50 to Rs. 80 available everywhere in Jaisalmer.)

International Thar Desert Festival

Lake side Music Jamming. Photography by Anas Ali

International Thar Desert Festival

Music jamming and friends. Photography by Ankita Jain

The International Thar Desert Festival Nights

Last night of the event was featured specially with Music system and DJ for the introduction of the most undiscovered Australian Aborigine instrument “didgeridoo”. Artist Ofer Zvi turned the whole place into a disco tech with the crazy jamming of didgeridoo and digital music.

And one cannot get enough of listening to the soothing metallic musical instrument “Hang Pan” by Abhinav  Deodhar.

The desert reviles her other face which is so calm and breezy, when you put your head down on the pillow while the moonlight falling over the face and gazing at shooting stars in pure silence.


International Thar Desert Festival

Didgeridoo. Photography by Anas Ali

International Thar Desert Music Festival

Be a part of the Thar Desert Festival at least once. Photography by Megha Katokar

Rich bundle of Culture – Indian Musicals

The feeling of pride!  When one listens to the rich cultural heritage of Indian instruments in a Jugal-Bandi  session. The International Thar Desert festival was bundled with few of the best Indian Travel Artists who expressed warm welcome to all the traveler- by playing the magical vocal instrument, ‘flute’ by artist Vivek Madhyahasta (From Karnataka) joined by earthen beats of ‘Ghatam’ by Rahul Singh (From South Africa)and Somalaya Sareswari (From West Bengal). Somalaya playing ‘sarod’ would make us travel to another world.

We had a well versed Carnatic music and Hindutani singer, Gopika Jairam from Hyderabad, who would set the whole magic mood of music with her excellent vocals.

It felt great to interact with all the well versed artists across India and abroad and learn the most import message “Simplicity is the beauty of life”.

International Thar Desert Festival

Raw music and folk artists. Photography by Anas Ali


The International Desert Festival

The thrilling camel safari. Photography by Anas Ali

Flavorsome savory

Dal Bhati Churma: This the authentic savory of the Rajasthan which is cooked with lot of patience using coal. The wheat flour is made into small buns and cooked using coal and sand acting as a natural stove. This hot wheat buns are dipped in yummy dal (gravy). Meanwhile don’t miss out on having few spoons of classic Rajasthani sweet “churma”.


Red Goat Curry:  Mutton is cooked evenly in a huge vessel on a low flame. The red curry contains lot of freshly powdered Rajasthani spice and dried red chilies’. The red mutton curry with wheat roti (Wheat breads) coated with ghee on the plate-Is such a festival to the taste buds to all the spicy food lovers.

International Thar Desert Festival

Dal Bhatti Churma. Photography by Subhrajit Battacharya


International Thar Desert Festival

Red Goat Curry. Photography by Ayushi Mathur

Mala Ki Dhani – Welcomes you all!!

The whole event of Thar Desert Festival would never had been possible without the warmth of all the localities. They make you, part of their family- interacting and are constantly around to guide all the travelers. The whole place is filled with humble hearted villagers constantly exchanging smiles when you pass by.

Make sure to witness the ‘wow’ moment in the desert – Dusk breaking into dawn from the hilly mountain, capture this moment on your camera.

International Thar Desert Festival

Author of the current post – Ms. Megha Katokar on the side with other two travellers Madhu and Gal.

Visit the International Thar Music festival with a good camera to capture the wild camels, colourful pagadi (turbans), sam sand dunes, camel safari and the Mega golden fort of Jaisalmer.

Happy Wayfaring 🙂


Megha Katokar, a Compliance Professional (currently working in KPMG), a Musician, a hand writing analyst, a travel addict is a 20 something, ambitious and a fun loving free soul. A creature of her own kind. She is set up to document her wanderlust adventure and the amazing people and places she has come across all her nomadic journey.

The amateur musician is not shy to flaunt her unorthodox aboriginal instrument Didgeridoo and make some innovative beats. She is been an active part of the International Thar Music Festival at Jaisalmer. She also lusts for raw and local cuisine and never misses an opportunity to taste what the locals have to offer.

A true Bangalorean by heart and a nomad soul, she wishes to inspire all her fellow travelers and pursues her dream career in travel.

International Thar Desert Festival  International Thar Desert Festival