Sirpur Music and Dance Festival 2015

I was at the Sirpur Music and Dance Festival 2015 organised by the Chhattisgarh Tourism to experience the event and spread the word. My experience was wonderful and below are the highlights.

I was already floating with the sounds of drums, guitar, tabla and vocals; music had taken me to a world which was beyond where I was. I was in this magical land where everything was beautiful, everything existed in harmony, where things came together and stayed with each other, till it was time to slowly float away. 

sirpur music and dance festival 2015 stage
The grand stage 
I opened my eyes with the sounds of ghungroo, almost as if someone wanted me to wake me up and bring me back to the world. Somehow in the time I was away, my world too had become magical - I could see the dancer's eyes looking around gracefully, waiting for her lover's return. Kathak is my favorite classical dance form and this performance was making my heart ache, and my senses alive.

Sirpur Music and Dance Festival

I was at the Sirpur Music and Dance Festival in Chhattisgarh, started in 2013 at the historical town of Sirpur, about 80 km from state's capital Raipur. The sole aim behind this festival is to bring in many artistes into its cultural family and creating of international cultural amity and brotherhood as an initiative to bring together all the various dance and music forms of the country on one platform. This grand festival showcases the diverse art forms of the country, bringing together artists from across the nation in a cultural celebration.

This festival has established its own unique identity in the sense that eminent artistes of national and international repute participate and perform Indian Classical, folk & tribal dances and music of our country as well as Chhattisgarh state on the enchanting stage of the Sirpur in the monumental and archeological place, Sirpur.
The three day itinerary had an absolutely electric mix of performers from all over the country and also outside. 

Day 1 - Yamini Singh and Lonely Planet

On the first day itself the stage was set on fire by Pete Lockett who also performed an amazing piece with the the local tribesmen. For those who do not know Pete, he is a world renowned English percussionist. Apart from that I was also completely mesmerised by the Kathak performance by Yamini Singh. I have always been biased towards Kathak and this performance made me fall in love with it even more.

sirpur music and dance festival 2015 kathak
Yamini Singh finishing her performance...
sirpur music and dance festival 2015 daniel houghton global CEO lonely planet
Daniel Houghton - Global CEO, Lonely Planet

The day was also memorable as the Lonely Planet released five different guide books on Chhttisgarh. Daniel Houghton, the Global CEO of the magazine, was there and shared with stage with Chief Minister of the state to release these. So now I know what I should pick before I go on my next trip there :) There is much to be impressed about Daniel - he is just 25 and heads the world's largest maker of guide books! Read this article here to know more about him and his cool life :)

Day 2 - Rahul Sharma & Anuradha Paudwal

For the second day, drums dominated the stage. However, the evening started with Rahul Sharma on Santoor jamming with Rajasthani Folk Musicians. From traditional to Japanese, it was all there to suit our music palate. I loved it all, but the Japanese drumming by Eto and his troupe was unique and I found it very refreshing. 

sirpur music and dance festival 2015 rahul sharma
Rahul Sharma
sirpur music and dance festival 2015 leonardo to
Leonardo Eto with his drums

sirpur music and dance festival 2015 anuradha paudwal
Anuradha Paudwal...

Anuradha Paudwal finished the day with her beautiful voice, though I am not a huge fan of devotional music. However, I think the crowd loved it and she was the most cheered artist of the evening. I tried taking a selfie with her after the performance, but failed miserably!

Unfortunately, I had to skip the last day of the performance, so missed many great performances, especially by Pandit Birju Maharaj. Here is short video of what I missed out...

The trip was also memorable because of my colleague was a music critique with Hindu and it was simply amazing just talking to her. I asked her plenty of novice questions on music, but she was most gracious reporter ever and answered them all with patience. 

Two of my good friends also wrote about the festival on their blogs, do check it out. They did stay back till the third evening as well so have something more to offer :)

Anu - A Wandering Mind

To reach

Sirpur is located at a distance of about 85km from Raipur and to reach there one has to first reach Raipur. Raipur has a fantastic new airport with multiple flights from Delhi and Mumbai, and also Kolkata. The fight timings are generally in the morning or evening which works well. Raipur is also well connected by railways.

However, Raipur and Sirpur are not well connected. During the festival days, tourism department runs special buses to bring in tourists and the same buses take you back in the night. During non festival days, the best way is to book a cab and come. Many of the excavation sites are not close by and a cab will be handy in those days.

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I have misplaced my camera memory card, and all these pictures have been gracefully provided by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. I am extremely thankful to them for this, especially to Mr Subhash, MD, Chhttisgarh Tourism Board, an avid photographer and the man behind te event.