| 24 May 2022
Kabir's poetry, banks of the Ganga and a unique music fest

MUMBAI: 15th century mystic-poet Kabir's works have shaped, revolutionised, inspired and subsequently given birth to several followers who continue to carry his legacy even into the 21st century. The Mahindra Group and Teamwork Arts have now come together to curate and create a unique music festival in Kabir’s birthplace Varanasi, from 4 November till 6 November.

Varanasi rightly exemplifies everything that Kabir's philosophies and ideologies stood for, that represented the idea of inclusiveness and diversity. Three days of music, literature sessions, food and yoga through the bylanes of the city, the banks of Ganga and typical Varanasi offerings would highlight the primary focus of debut edition of the annual festival.

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 would be some of the several unparalleled experience the visitors would have the opportunity to enjoy. 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.

The musical programme begins on 4 November with a group from Varanasi singing Kabir’s songs followed by a poetry session. The opening reception will be followed by morning music programme featuring Kabir stalwarts such as Shabnam Virmani and 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.

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.

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 Heritage & Food Walks, followed by food trail from famous Kashi Chaat Bhandar to the little stalls of Kachori would highlight the non-music programme activities at the festival.

“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,” said the Chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra.

M.D at Teamwork Arts, Sanjoy Roy said, "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."

Entry: Free Registration

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.