The Jaisalmer Desert festival or Meru Parv kicked off in style at the Shaheed Puran Singh stadium in the golden city of Jaisalmer. The yearly festival which is organised by department of tourism Government of Rajasthan would be held between February 17th to February 19th, 2019. The first day of the festival saw musical performances, camel rides moustache competitions and the Mr desert competition being held at the Shaheed Puran Singh stadium which is located next to the golden fortress(sonar kella) the next two days of the festival would be held at the Sam dunes of the Thar Desert 42 km away from Jaisalmer City. Mr Arvind Singh from Pokhran beat 44 other contestants to emerge as the Mr Desert competition winner for the year 2019. The Mr Desert competition is decided on the criteria as to who represents Rajasthani culture best in term of attire, look and spirit.
The first day of the Desert Festival also saw a new World Record being established when approximately 5000 people put on a Pagdi(turban) or safa as it is known in the local culture in 5.32 minutes to establish a new World Record. The Safa is a source of pride in Rajasthani culture and part of their identity, the colour and design of the safa like the local dialect changes every few kilometers in Rajasthan. The organizers were presented with a certificate in recognition of this record by the representatives of the India Book of Records. The visitors, organisers and participants at the Turban tying event also marked two minutes of silence in respect of the Pulwama Martyrs. The first day of the desert festival saw a large foreign tourist presence. Charles from Ireland has visited Rajasthan a total of 6 times before he said this time he had come specially for the Desert Festival ” Rajasthan I think is a very special place, the colour, the aesthetics, the traditional dresses, the architecture all are very unique and never ceases to amaze me hence I always come back”.
Charles who in jest was sporting a huge fake handle bar moustache(something vaguely resembling the traditional Rajasthan mustache), says that he loves Madhya Pradesh as well but Rajasthan still would be his favourite destination in India and loves Indian hospitality.