Mahindra Group announces The Mahindra Kabira Festival Mystical music with Kabir stalwarts and much more in Varanasi



New Delhi : In the simple lyrical verses of Kabir lie the answers to our most complex spiritual questions. And for three days in November, the Darbhanga and Assi ghats of Varanasi will reverberate with the soulful music inspired by Kabir, the enigmatic 15th century mystic-poet. The Mahindra Kabira Festival will run from 4th to 6th November, 2016, offer a haunting and immersive experience of imbibing Kabir’s philosophies and the lyrical aspect of his teachings through a programme which will celebrate Kabir’s passion and verse linking them inextricably with the fascinating spirit of Varanasi, his birthplace.

The Mahindra Group & Teamwork Arts have crafted a unique annual festival in Varanasi – a city that perfectly encapsulates Kabir’s idea of inclusiveness and diversity. The festival promises a journey of inspirational music along with heritage walks, literature sessions, food and yoga. Three unhurried days of losing the mundane as you meander through the bylanes of the city, meditate on the banks of the holy Ganga to find your elusive inner self, savour the local Banarasi cuisine and shop at the quaint shops behind every gully and nook — whatever you do, you will find that the endless city has more to offer.

“We are delighted to introduce the Mahindra Kabira Festival (MKF). MKF will be an annual music festival celebrating Kabir and offering a holistic experience of Varanasi and its many facets, going beyond music. It is fitting that we at Mahindra have the privilege of celebrating the life and works of the weaver poet – his theologies and philosophies are woven like tapestry into the culture and DNA of the Mahindra Group. This festival is a continuation and an expansion of our commitment towards celebrating and promoting the arts,” says Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group.

Visitors, music-lovers and spiritual-seekers will get an unforgettable experience of listening to the leading exponents of the Benares gharana and folk musical traditions, luminaries of Sufi, dadra, thumri, khayal gayaki styles, of ghazals along with the maestros of pakhawaj and tabla, against the incomparable backdrop of the ghats of Varanasi. The experience shall be amplified with languid afternoon literature sessions around Kabir and his philosophy, the taste of local food down the streets of the city and wondrous musical evenings as the sun sets on the Ganga.

Sanjoy Roy, M.D, Teamwork Arts says, “The Mahindra Kabira Festival is an amazing platform to revisit Kabir, especially in current times. The underlying theme, in keeping with Teamwork’s commitment to the arts, is to provide an exceptional experience replete with the spiritual and the intellectual to visitors. Soulful music interspersed heritage walks, literature sessions, gastronomic forays and all along, the rich ancient city of Varanasi, both in the foreground and the background. The festival will truly be an unforgettable experience.”

While attendance to the events across the three days is free and open to all, customized delegate packages offer a curated experience of the festival. The exclusive packages, with various options, will essentially be an experience which will begin from the moment you step foot in Varanasi. It will give you an opportunity to live out the history of one of the world’s oldest cities and experience its overpowering character amidst regal splendor, breathe in the ambience through specially-designed heritage walks, taste the delectable flavours on food trails.

The Programme:

Opening Reception

An opening reception on the evening of the 4th of November will feature a spectacular local group from Varanasi singing songs of Kabir, followed by a poetry and “in conversation” session with Shabnam Virmani & Vipul Rikhi.

Morning Music at the Darbhanga Ghat

The day at Mahindra Kabira begins with an invigorating Morning Music programme, featuring Kabir stalwarts such as Shabnam Virmani & Vipul Rikhi and Azeem Ahmed Alvi along with brilliant Varanasi-based musicians Atul Shankar and Pandit Debashish De who will perform at the Darbhanga Ghat.

Literature Sessions on the Ganga

Perfectly coupled with the languor of lazy afternoons would be Mahindra Kabira’s literary sessions on themes around Kabir’s life, his lyrics and teachings, and the timeless (ageless) city of Varanasi, held on the terraces of the Brij Rama Palace Hotel. One can breathe in the scent of this incomparable city, sip on chai, bite into a samosa, stare at the omniscient river all around as the likes of Amish Tripathi and Javed Akhtar bring alive Kabir through the passion and verse of discourse and debate.

Heritage & Food Walks

Varanasi is a food haven, a juggernaut of sharp bursting flavours, of delectable melt-in-the-mouth kachoris, chaat, parathas, malai-mar-ke (topped with cream) lassi and paan. Follow the food trail from the famous Kashi Chaat Bhandar to the little stalls of Kachori. Visit Kabir Math, Sankat Mochan Temple and Kashi Vishwanath Temple, see the weavers at work translating fantasy into golden reality and more.

Evening Music on Assi Ghat

Kabira days will end with a grand finale – at Assi Ghat, with evening music programmes featuring the likes of Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Mir Mukhtiyar Ali, Kabir Café, Vidya Shah, Prahlad Tipaniya, Shabnam Virmani & Vipul Rikhi and Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. In an unforgettable tableau, unique to Varanasi, the musicians will be staged on the river facing the ghat where audiences will be seated.


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