Banganga fest may be revived after 4-yr gap

Jun 11, 2012, 06:58 IST | Urvashi Seth

MTDC has approached the tourism ministry asking them to resume the premier event that showcases classical music that the city really looked forward to

Classical music lovers have a reason to rejoice, as the main organiser Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is planning to resume the Banganga festival, which is supposed to be the ultimate destination for classical music lovers. Not only this, they also plan to revive the famous Lonar and Kalidas festivals that have been stopped for years.

Back on song: The Banganga festival owes it name to the Banganga Tank, a sacred tank at the Walkeshwar temple. File Pic

“We have written to the tourism ministry to restart some festivals of State, which haven’t been organised since years, one of which is the renowned Banganga festival,” said Dilip Shinde, joint managing director, MTDC. The event, which started in 1992 as a two-day musical extravaganza, was one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. Held in January, the festival was organised at Malabar Hill by the MTDC and other private organisers. The festival owes its name to Banganga Tank, a sacred tank at Walkeshwar Temple.

In 2008, the start of the Banganga festival was delayed by two months due to restoration work of the Banganga Tank. But the delay put an end to this musical treat forever. Banganga festival never saw the light of day again. “We are planning to restart all festivals that have not been organised since a long time. We are awaiting the tourism departments’ reply. These festivals were our USP and for many reasons’ these festivals had to be stopped. Now, these festivals will help us woo many domestic and international tourists to the state,” said Shinde.

MTDC this year had celebrated the famous Elephanta festival. However, altering a 23-year tradition, MTDC decided to shift the venue to the Gateway of India from this year. Apart from Banganga the other festivals that MTDC is planning to start the Kalidas festival, and Lonar festival that was held at Aurangabad. “We hope to get permissions so that we can aggressively work on these projects,” he added.

Did you know?
The Banganga music festival used to draw the cream of Mumbai to the holy tank every November before it was closed down in 2008. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) had disassociated itself from the five main cultural shows which it used to organise in Maharashtra, namely Banganga, Elephanta, Ellora, Kalidas and Mumbai festivals. MTDC pulled out of the public-private partnership because it felt its goodwill was being exploited by the joint organisers and sponsors. Throwing them a tough challenge, MTDC had asked the sponsors or the owners of the venues to go ahead and organise the events on their own steam. However, the private parties declined the offer. MTDC used to invest a token amount of Rs 5 lakh towards each event.  

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