Desert Festival

A girl dressed in all her finery, which includes an elaborate necklace, a nose ring, a bindi on the forehead and a borla, on the partition of the hair.

A hijra performs a dance at the Desert Festival. Hijras are are physiological males who have feminine gender identity, adopt feminine gender roles, and wear women's clothing. Having their historical presence mentioned in ancient Indian epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, hijras have traditionally earned their living by collecting alms and performing at weddings, festivals and births.

A hijra wearing exquisite jewelry shows off her dance in the streets of Jaisalmer. She is adorned with bangles on her wrists and a Hathphool, a bracelet with one or the more strings attached to rings on the fingers of the hand.

Pink, pink everywhere. Local women with delightful pink ghungtas take in the festivities. People from neighboring towns and villages of Jaisalmer flock to the city during the Desert Festival.

A couple of Camel Polo players await the start of their match. Armed with bamboo sticks which are taller than the men themselves, the players are expert camel riders and play the game with no protective gear of any kind.

A rider races his camel to try win a much coveted price of Rs.11,000. More than the money there is a lot of pride associated with the came riders on who comes first. Camels are very awkward sprinters and actually racing a camel is far trickier than it seems.

Camel owners wait for potential riders in the sand dunes at Sam. Tourism is a thriving industry in the Thar Desert around Jaisalmer, and a sunset visit at Sam is one of the most popular activities. The camel owners are quite hard pressed economically and work on a commission basis with Hotels and travel agencies offering Camel safaris, of which they get a small percentage.