As the onset of February reduces the chill, a number of diverse fun-filled activities start showing up on the festival calendar. From rural sports to dance festivals and blues music shows, it packs in quite an interesting range. Let’s take a look at some of the major events that lie just round the corner.
Kila Raipur Rural Sports Festival
Kila Raipur near Ludhiana
All roads lead to Kila Raipur for this three-day sports festival, also referred to as the Rural Olympics of Punjab. Competitions are held for most of the major rural sports including bullock-cart races, kabaddi, wrestling, rope pulling and many other regional, fun-filled games such as kikli, githa khel, khidu, lukan miti, etc. During evenings, people gather for rounds of bhangra dances and their shouts of joy accompanied with music on the dhol reverberates for miles around.
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Surajkund International Crafts Mela
Ever since it was launched in the 1980s, the fair continues to attract thousands of visitors who enjoy the plethora of activities it offers. The make-shift stalls on the grounds come alive with craftsmen selling a range of craft items, paintings, textiles, folk objects, pottery and handicrafts, etc. Also part of the fair’s activities are musical evenings, theatre and dance performances. This year, Maharashtra is the state in focus and Thailand is the guest country.
Sula Vineyards (near Nashik)
Music lovers gather at the Sula Vineyards every year not just to raise a toast to fine wine but also to enjoy some amazing rock music that this festival offers. Both the amphitheatre where the major headlining acts take place and the open area where the DJs take over become centres of activity. Apart from music, visitors also get to savour some great food, snacks and beverages besides getting a chance to be part of wine-tasting sessions.
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
Come February and the thriving megapolis of Mumbai springs to life with the country’s biggest street art festival. Showcasing the art and heritage of South Mumbai through a plethora of events, the festival will commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. A number of art activities together with films, literature, dance and music will be on display at venues such as Jehangir Art Gallery, Max Mueller Bhavan, National Gallery of Modern Art and the Irish House, etc. Besides enjoying the city’s exotic street food, people can also be part of heritage walks organized in South Mumbai.
Mahindra Blues Festival
Touted as Asia’s largest blues celebration, the Mahindra Blues Festival promises a lot of “guitar-rippin’, soul-trippin’ music” at the Maximum City’s iconic Mehboob Studios. This year’s musical extravaganza features heavy hitters such as the Grammy nominated Beth Hart who has been called ‘the ultimate female rock star’ by the Blues magazine, the Grammy award winner Charlie Musselwhite, Arinjoy Trio, Brandon Santini and Sugar Ray Rayford. Tickets for the show can be booked online.
Every year, the onset of spring is welcomed by a fair in Nagaur that offers a dekko at the exotic cultural heritage of this land of maharajas. This eight day festival is mainly about animal trading and over 70,000 camels, horses and bullocks are likely to change hands this year. Besides a walk around the Mirchi Bazaar that opens up many picturesque vistas, visitors are sure to enjoy a number of activities including folk music and dance shows, camel and horse races, etc, organized at the mela grounds.
Spread over a week, this festival sees worshipers gather to pray to Goddess Bhagavathy at the Pariyanampetta temple. Among the most memorable sights here is not just the procession of 21 beautifully caparisoned elephants as they move to the sound of traditional music but also the Kaalavela bull-mask parade. Another high point of the festival is the Kalamezhuthu Pattu that sees devotees creating exquisite artworks, a form of worship, on the floor.
Udaipur World Music Festival
A romantic rendezvous with music- jazz, pop, rock, folk and classical- is what the Udaipur World Music Festival offers with world-class artistes from across the globe touching down to be part of it. It will be a treat to hear over 150 musicians not just from 20 different countries but also from different parts of Rajasthan. Among those taking stage this year are the Natig Rhythm Group from Azerbaijan, La Dame Blanche from France and Els Catarres from Spain and the Natig Rhythm Group from Azerbaijan.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
A sense of magic envelops the town that is watched over by the magnificent ‘Sonar Qila’ (Golden Fort) when it’s time for the annual desert festival. Festivities begin with a colourful procession that starts from the fort and moves towards the Shaheed Poonam Singh Stadium featuring acts by folk artistes including Gairs, acrobat artistes and fire-dancers, etc. The focus then shifts to the sand dunes where competitions like camel polo, camel-dance are held besides games such as tug-of-war, turban-tying contests, etc. As evenings descend, it’s time for music and dance shows.
Khajuraho Dance Festival
Organized against the backdrop of the stunning Khajuraho Temples, this is one of the most awaited events for classical dance lovers. Constructed between the 10th-12th centuries, these awe inspiring monuments are known not just for their erotic sculptures but also for their rock carvings that depict dance movements. So it is only befitting that a dance festival- one that brings together many popular classical dance forms- be organized here. This year’s calendar includes performances by Raja-Radha Reddy (Kuchipudi), Darshna Jhaveri (Manipuri), G Kalewni Rajmohan (Bharatnatyam), Akhilesh Jain (Kathak), among many others.