Soak in Konkan's unique culture and traditions at this festival

Jan 03, 2018, 09:15 IST | Shunashir Sen

Attend a festival where you can soak in a slice of the region's unique culture and traditions

A traditional puppet show at a previous edition of Global Konkan Festival
A traditional puppet show at a previous edition of Global Konkan Festival

Legend has it that the Konkan region was born out of a disagreement that Parashuram, Vishnu's sixth avatar, had with Varuna, the god of the sea. The story started at the point of Parashuram renouncing his violent ways to lead a hermit's life. Having taken that decision, he left his abode in the Himalayas and headed southwards till the sea blocked his route. Seeing this, Parashuram asked Varuna to create a path that would allow him to continue his journey. But Varuna refused.

Food from the Konkan region

Infuriated, Parashuram threw a Bhramastra, or mythical weapon, that dried up all the surrounding water. The threat had its desired effect, and the two parties finally struck a deal whereby Parashuram would fire an arrow into the sea and water would be receded in between where he was standing and where the arrow landed. Varuna would give up the resultant land, and that geographical mass is what ultimately grew into what we now know as the Konkan, which in Sanskrit literally means "a corner of the Earth".

The place developed its own cultural traditions and gastronomic history over the years, and aspects of that heritage will be on display at a festival later this week. Called Global Konkan Festival (GKF), it includes an array of performing arts that are unique to the region. There will, for instance, be lavani and tarpa dances, styles that rely heavily on the beats of the dholak. An exhibition of Warli paintings - a form of art typical to Konkan adivasis - is also on the bill, as are stalls with food from the region.

A dance form typical to the region
A dance form typical to the region

But outside of culture, the festival puts a strong thrust on business and trade development too. This is because Konkan Bhumi Pratishthan (KBP), which is hosting the event, is an organisation that aims to check the migration of workers who leave the area for greener pastures. "The whole idea of setting up KBP was to inform people about the region's business opportunities and promote reverse migration from urban areas back to the villages," Sanjay Yadavrao, KBP's founder, tells us over email. He adds, "I am originally from Ratnagiri. So, growing up there, I could sense the area's untapped potential and thought that if other parts of the country can be developed into modern business hubs, why can't the same happen with Konkan?"

It is with that thought in mind that GKF will also include a start-up competition, wherein entrepreneurs are invited to post their ideas on the festival's site (www.globalkokan.org). The five winners will receive seed capital to set up their firms in the area. That apart, the organisers will host a number of trade conferences, such as one on fish-farming, where a live demonstration on the ways of breeding different fish will be carried out. So, a mix of business and pleasure is on the cards with just one overriding theme - celebrating a piece of land that, according to mythology, was born out of Parashuram's infamous temper.

On : January 6 to January 10, 11 am onwards
At : CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Call : 07775806259

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