Paean to Pushkar

In this atmosphere of growing intolerance, Pushkar and its beautiful lake with 52 surrounding ghats seem like a tranquil flow of positive energy and serenity.

Perhaps due to this reason, Chief minister Vasundhara Raje chose to mark the first ‘The Sacred’ Pushkar festival at this unique venue. The brain child of Raje, the festival just ahead of Kartik Poornima ( full moon) is an attempt to stem the negativity and co relate the sacred, spiritual and enlightening music for the soul. Apart from the camel fair at Pushkar, nothing specific was happening there. So it was decided to turn this charming venue into a gateway for rediscovering spirituality with music, transcending boundaries of religion and language.

Pushkar witnessed a three-day unique extravaganza of music and spirituality from Nov 22. Pushkar set on Pushkar Lake is a sacred Hindu site with 52 ghats (stone staircases) where pilgrims bathe. The town has hundreds of temples, including 14th-century Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, dedicated to the god of creation, which has a distinctive red spire and walls inlaid with pilgrims’ silver coins.

Sanjoy Roy, director, Teamwork Arts, the producer of Jaipur Literature Festival, which also produced this festival, said : “We wanted to create a space for people to come to listen to morning and evening music and re-discover the pleasure of spirituality as their own space. The idea was basically to try and bring together everything that touched upon the sacred and also show that spirituality crosses all religious boundaries. When I went and saw the Pushkar kund, I realised it is such a stunning backdrop.”

The festival also showcased Buddhist meditation by Khen Rinpoche Jangchup Choeden, guided Jain meditation by Tikam Chand Jain, Vayu Yoga by Capucine Redon and Pushkar Heritage Walks. It featured artists from genres as diverse as Sufi, Rajasthani folk, world music, Hindustani classical among others and would showcase how art and culture can
The festival line-up featured artists like Kailash Kher, Shubha Mudgal, Nathulal Solanki with 52 Nagaras, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Yom & Wang Li, La Grande Chapelle, Jaisalmer Boys among others.

Roy said: “In today’s day and time, when we are seeing so much intolerance, it’s imperative that all of us in the cultural space come together to showcase music that crosses all boundaries of religion, language, of different kinds of differences that have cropped up.”

The three days of the festival took place at different venues, including the Raj Bohra Ghat, sand dunes and Ajmer Fort, adding up to the prevailing spiritual ambience of Pushkar.

Roy said: “At Teamwork Arts, we continue to celebrate the spirit of creative expression and this festival is a manifestation of all things divine that lie within us. From the beautiful and divine host city of Pushkar to the numerous soul stirring performers who’ve joined to collaborate for this experience.”
Raje, who visited the festival, said: “Rajasthan is playing host to a kaleidoscope of cultural celebration – from the world’s largest literature gathering to Coke Studio in Jaipur, making it a not to be missed destination for travellers from India and beyond. Come, celebrate with us!”

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