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Why music buffs should head to Rajasthan

For the next few weeks, the desert state will set the stage for two music events — Ragasthan 2014 and the World Sufi Spirit Festival. With desi and international acts, outdoor camping and adventure thrills awaiting you, there’s something for every kind of visitor

If you’ve grooved at the Glastonbury Festival (visitors stay in tents and enjoy music in the outdoors), Ragasthan should be on your calendar. Tagged as ‘India’s craziest music festival’, the three night-four day event will be held near Jaisalmer, in the secluded dunes of Khuri.


Musicians performing at Ragasthan, 2013

What to expect: The second edition will host acclaimed performers and upcoming artistes. With three stages, the line-up comprises Christophe Chassol (France), Alo Wala (USA), Ash Roy, Mame Khan and Troupe, Ganesh Talkies and Tritha Electric, among others. Over the last few months, nearly 240 artistes have been residing in tents in an artiste village, with random jam sessions throughout the day and night, as part of the event.

Visitors will also get to take part in a range of activities such as paintball, sky gazing workshops, karaoke, volleyball, yoga sessions, and ATV rides. You can also enjoy camping outdoors and observing the Thar desert in all its beauty. There are luxury camping options (Swiss tents), or you could get your own tent or even hire a mattress and bunk under the sky anywhere in the dunes.

No plastic or litter will be allowed at the festival and camel rides are available for free in-festival transport. Campers are also allowed into the festival site with their cars and tea and water will be served free at the event.

Keith Menon, festival organiser, explains, “The festival seeks to bring talent from all corners of the world, help them showcase their skills and collaborate on projects that take them across borders.” He adds that festivals require you to rough it out as “you’re there for the music, the journey, the art, the experience”.

From: February 13 to 16;
At: Khuri Dunes, Jaisalmer.
Call: 9619071456
Log on to: www.ragasthan.com

World Sufi Spirit Festival
Picture this: ancient Sufi melodies and movements being performed to the backdrop of majestic forts in Jodhpur and Nagaur (a city located close to Jodhpur). Sounds enchanting, right? At the World Sufi Spirit Festival (earlier called Nagaur Sufi Festival), you can look forward to enjoying the various facets of the divine tradition.


Whirling dervishes at last year’s edition of the festival

What to expect: In its eighth edition, the festival will host dance, music and singing sessions. The highlights include Azerbaijani Mugham, a traditional music form characterised by improvisation and reflecting epochs from Azerbaijan’s history.
There will also be a performance based on Rumi’s poetry; Aramean, Syriac and Byzantine songs; Gharnati or Andalusian Arabic music; Qawwallis, and wandering minstrels from Bengal. A ballerina from Tajikistan will grace the event; Kavita Seth, Javed Bashir and Abeer Nehme (who will perform holy songs from the orthodox Christian tradition) will also be performing.  
“Sufism is a spiritual art brought forth by the pilgrims of the past, travellers of the spirit who brought to civilisation a sense of inspiration and meaning. This festival brings together diverse exponents of the tradition,” explains Karni Singh Jasol, director, Mehrangarh Museum Trust and organiser of the event.

From: February 17 to 19 (Nagaur); February 21 to 23 (Jodhpur)
At: Ahhichatragarh Fort, Nagaur; Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur.
Email: info@worldsufispiritfestival.org
Log on to: worldsufispiritfestival.org

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