Sam Dunes

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2013

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Sam Dunes are 45 kms from Jaisalmer. This collections covers the dunes and cultural program on day 3 of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. There are numerous hotels with tents where tourists love to spend the night gazing at stars, enjoying folk music with some great food. Must do is a camel ride.

Best time to visit is post lunch, check into a tent and then walk around the place, see the Sunset for which Sam is famous. We went during festival time so was very crowded. Best time to visit is bet Nov to Feb. It gets quite cold at night. Rajasthan Tourism had organised a camel race. U see local people gathered to see with dunes in the background.

Local on camel. The dress worn by person on left is the way local Muslims dress. They have not got radicalized yet means no skull cap.

Group of locals watching the camel race. Area has a large number of Muslims whom you see in this pic. Most camels owned by Muslims. Bargain hard for camel ride but like everywhere they will ask for the moon.

Colorful Rajasthani women ready to watch the lovely cultural program organised by Rajasthan Tourism.

Performers practicing before actual performance at the desert festival. The atmosphere that evening was electric, full of fun, everyone looked so happy being there.

Local musicians - note the dress and comfort which they on the sand. Many might worry whether clothes will get dirty but these people in white could not be bothered.

An overview of the crows gathered for the cultural program that evening and u see some tents in the background. Typically tents that are close to the dunes are expensive and ones a slight distance reasonable. There is Chowki Dani which was told it very good but could not visit. Before you see pics of Rajasthan dances to read more about different type of dances Click here

Wood is being burnt for the Fire Dance. After wood is burnt men of this group from Bikaner (Banjara community) actually walk on the fire. Group of men behind are the musicians. This was the last program, there was a stampede to where they performed so could not click pics. Here are some pics from Camel Festival Bikaner Click here

A close up of the musicians. There is something about their voice, the song, music and look that made them appear very special. It touched a deep chord within. I do not remember the name of the Goddess to whom their prayers were made but it was said that the power to perform fire dance comes thru intense sadhana. To know more about fire dance Click here

We now present pics of the cultural program. I tried my best to jot down names of performers whilst compere spoke but it was difficult with camera in one hand sitting on the sand. In case of any errors do write in. This is Navratna Dance.

This is Kacchi Ghoda dance by Shashi Kumar from Bikaner. Very nice. To know about Kacchi Ghodi Dance Click here

This I think is Lok Dance by Swaroop Panwar from Barmer. This lady performed very gracefully.

This mimicry artists Thakurdasji was amazing, made us laugh and laugh. It was worthwhile coming to Sam Dunes only for him. Super. Someone from the crowds was so happy that walked up to Thakurdasji and offered him a token of appreciation but organizers said no.

Pic of sand dunes. People walk up and down the dunes or go on camel back.

U see lady performing the Kalbeliya dance, part of Kalunath Jogi''s group. This dance and music had me captivated for all of 3 days of the Jaisalmer Festival. In English they call it gypsy dance. To see video of dance by another performer Click here

U see a Hungarian dancer who has become part of Kalunath Jogi''s group. The dance is associated with snake charmers. Ladies wear traditional black skirt. To know about Kalbeliya Dance, see Videos Click here

I was the first person to click these ladies at Sam Dunes. Thanks to foreign tourists groups like these ask for money to be clicked, I said am desi (Indian) no money. Very sporting. Loved Sam Dunes. Go when it is less crowded, you will enjoy it more. Lovely. I have been to sand dunes in Dubai. They are too developed - if you like something rustic, gazing at the stars, love folk music Sam Dunes is the place. Must see.