After two years of staying indoors, there is a feeling of freedom to finally be out in the open and interact with people. We were incandescent with glee when we visited the Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Red Fort Festival on Monday evening. August 15 Park (Lahori Gate) is the venue for this event and hosts makeshift stalls and a giant Ferris wheel. This 10-day extravaganza, which was unveiled on March 25, is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of India. Part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav—an initiative by the government of India to commemorate 75 years of Indian Independence—it highlights the country’s diverse crafts, cuisines, and more.
The Ministry of Culture has conceptualised this event along with Dalmia Bharat Limited, the organisation selected as Red Fort’s ‘Monument Mitra’ by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India. Divided into five sections, this festival offers visitors a wholesome experience of ‘Bharat’.
The best of everything
Along with food stalls under the ‘Khao Gali’ section that offers Indian cuisines, the festival also has a section titled ‘Khel Gaon’ specifically for children. ‘Satrangi’ is a section allocated to around 70 craftspersons, with stalls featuring Kashmir’s Sozni embroidery, Rajasthan’s horn and bone craft, Ikat from Telangana, and more. Vankar Ramesh Virji, a generational Bhujodi weaver from Bhuj-Kutch, shared, “It is great that artisans can showcase their work here without paying for the stalls.” Seline Fernandez from Dwarka, who was browsing through the stalls here, shared, “It is great for those interested in handicrafts to meet artisans face to face.”
Just as the stalls have been attracting visitors interested in crafts, the festival also has exhibitions and performances for culture enthusiasts. One such interactive exhibition is the ‘Bharat Gaurav’ that showcases India’s achievements.Visitors might also be interested in the ‘Yatra’—a 360 degree immersive experience narrating the story of India as one of the oldest civilisations. The experimental project attempts to modernise oral storytelling. Ananya Jain from Rohini, who was at the festival with her parents on Monday, said, “‘Yatra’ was one of my favourites; it is a different way to gain information about the country.”
There is also a cultural parade—it circles the festival ground once a day—choreographed by classical dancer Maitreyee Pahari. It highlights India’s folk dance forms such as Singhi Chham from Sikkim, Ao Naga dance from Nagaland, Kalbelia from Rajasthan, among others.
Every evening, the Rang Manch stage is enlivened by live performances featuring multiple artists. Notable musicians such as playback singer Shaan, contemporary folk musician Raghu Dixit, and others have already performed here.
CHECK IT OUT
WHAT: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Red Fort Festival
WHEN: Till April 3; 11:00am to 10:00pm
WHERE: August 15 Park, Red Fort
WHAT: Cultural Parade by Maitreyee Pahari
WHEN: Every day; 4:00pm
WHAT: Bharat Gaurav and Yatra exhibitions
WHEN: Every day; 4:00pm onwards
WHAT: Anokhe Vastra: Puppet Theatre by Dadi Pudumjee
WHEN: Today; 8:00pm
WHAT: Nizami Brothers performance
WHEN: April 1; 9:00pm