The romance and allure of Varanasi seduces the global traveller to its serpentine bylanes that beholds the DNA of a thousand years on its mystical ghats. This magic of Banaras finds a new dimension during the Mahindra Kabira Festival every year. By Kumar Shree
Even people who are afar from the allures of literature crosses path with Kabir’s works at least once in their lifetimes, such is the influence of this enigmatic poet. His works were so futuristic for the era that he lived and created in, it makes sense even for the true-blue millennial.
Varanasi’s Mahindra Kabira Festival celebrates and elevates this essence of Kabir in a modern-day setup on the majestic ghats of Varanasi. The fact that Mahindra Kabira Festival is observing its fourth anniversary this year speaks of the resonance that Kabir enjoys among the people of modern day and age. While the festival has now become a fixture on Varanasi’s events calendar for November, this year the dates for the celebration are November 22 to November 24.
The event spanning over two days include an array of activities like boat rides, heritage walks in the charismatic lanes and on the ghats of Varanasi, an introduction to local cuisine that can only be summed up as lip-smacking and soul satiating, Banarasi chai, and literature sessions discussing not only Kabir but so much more. All of this is dotted with morning and evening music sessions. Yesteryears have seen a glamorous lineup of stalwarts like Kailash Kher, Shubha Mudgal, Malini Awasthi, and Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.
This year’s lineup is even more exciting with names like Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe, Neeraj Mishra, Ujwal Nagar and pillars of the Indian classical music scene like Om Prakash Nayak, Shabnam Virmani, and noted Sarangi player Ustad Kamal Sabri on the performer’s list. So, what are you waiting for, go ahead and book your space to attend a festival of sensory and intellectual stimulant that will leave you more profound than ever!