Mahindra Kabira Festival is Mahindra Group’s beautiful initiative to celebrate the life and works of Kabir, the 15th-century mystic and poet in an artistic manner. I was delighted to be on board with them as their official Twitter and Instagram jockey for the Mahindra Kabira Festival 2022, the sixth edition of this beautiful festival in Varanasi!
I was welcomed with a thoughtful welcome letter, a box of snacks, a copper water bottle, a delegate badge, and a quirky bag to carry essentials to the festival venues. Every item had a card with ‘Mahindra Kabira Festival’ branding attached to it that was actually made with paper embedded with seeds that can grow into plants when you sow them showcasing their zero-waste approach in association with Skrap.
- DAY 1
I took my first of many boat rides in Banaras from Assi Ghat to Guleria Kothi, where the opening reception was scheduled. The ghat was dazzling with bright colors in the evening and the proceedings begin with the iconic Ganga Aarti of Varanasi ghats that literally gave me goosebumps.
The Santoor-Tabla Jugalbandi performed by Pandit Lalit Kumar, a top-grade tabla artist from the Benares Gharana & Kumar Sarang, a respected B-Trade, ICCR-empanelled Santoor Artist from Benares gave a perfect start to the festival and their performance was as mesmerizing as the exquisite food spread by Milan Caterers, who are winning hearts in Varanasi with their mouth-watering dishes and heavenly appetizers since 1984.
- DAY 2
Day 2 Of the Mahindra Kabira Festival 2022 showcased India’s rich musical heritage. The day started with Vidushi Dr. Kamala Shankar’s presentation of morning Raga Bairagi & Dhun on Shankar Guitar followed by Vocalist, Ashish Kumar Jaiswal and Pakhawaj player, Dr. Ankit Parikh’s representation of the oldest living tradition of Indian classical music, Dhrupad. Also, the way Umesh Kabir demystified Kabir’s philosophy through his ‘सुनो भाई साधो’ was commendable.
The opening act of the evening session was performed by Little Flowers House School and things just got better from there, thanks to the visual treat provided by the Ishara Puppet Theatre & Soulë Band, a delightful Carnatic traditional performance By Padma Shri Smt. Aruna Sairam and melodious poetry by Pandit Shubhendra Rao & Maestro Saskia Rao – de Haas’ duo.
- DAY 3
It was day 3 of the Mahindra Kabira Festival 2022 and the best was saved for the last! Representing a family that boasts 14 generations of musicians from Varanasi, the Maharaj Trio gave a great start to the day with some untouched music of Banaras and as the day progressed, I got to witness the splendor of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple which is one of the 12 jyotirlingas.
The grand finale of this beautiful festival began with an electrifying performance from The Tapi Project & Jasleen Aulakh carry forward the baton with her magical folk music that had a Sufi influence. It all ended with Raghu Dixit and his band charging up the atmosphere with his witty talks and mesmerizing music that held the audience spellbound!
All in all, it was definitely one of the most soothing experiences I will cherish for a lifetime in my travel diaries. Special thanks to Mahindra Group for making me an integral part of it!
If you liked this blog post, make sure to check out my MKF 2022 Instagram story highlight as well for more content from Mahindra Kabira Festival 2022!