The 3 Day Utsav Will Begin on the 16th of November and Will Celebrate Centuries-Old Luminaries like Goswami Tulsidas, Sant Kabir, Munshi Premchand
Three day-long Kashi Utsav organized by Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts (IGNCA) will be from the 16th of November. The Utsav will commence at Rudraksha International Co-operation and Convention Center on Tuesday.
IGNCA director Priyanka Mishra said, “The programme is arranged on behalf of Ministry of Culture and with the co-operation of Uttar Pradesh government and Varanasi district administration under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
Varanasi is chosen for this festival owing to its rich cultural heritage and history.
Each day of the festival is dedicated to various themes, i.e. Kashi ke Hastakar, Kabir, Raidas ki Bani aur Nirgun Kashi and Kavita aur Kahani Kashi ki Zubani.
The Utsav will take place in the form of panel discussions, exhibitions, film screenings, music, drama and dance performances. Dr Kumar Vishwas will be presenting ‘Main Kashi Hun’on the first of Utsav and Manoj Tiwari, Member of Parliament (BJP) will deliver a musical performance on ‘Tulsi ki Kashi’on final day of the festival.
Other artists like Kalapini Komkali, Bhuvanesh Komkali, Padma Shree Bharti Bandhu, Maithili Thakur will perform devotional performances. A Play based on the valour of Rani Lakshmi Bai, ‘Khoob Ladi Mardani’ directed by Bharti Sharma from the National School of Drama, is scheduled.
IGNCA films, including Kashi Pavitra Bhugol, Meri Nazar mein Kashi, Made in Banaras, Muktidham, Kashi ki Aitihasikta, Etc will be screened during three days long Utsav. There will be an exhibition of books, and six literary personalities will be showcased at the festival.
Varanasi, popularly known as Kashi and Banaras, is among the oldest cities in the world. The town is situated on the banks of the River Ganges. It hosted the Vedic civilization, one of the oldest and sophisticated civilizations in history books.
Kashi is one of the most sacred places for devotees of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. It has been renowned as the cultural centre of Northern India for the past thousands of years. Hindus believe that getting cremated along the banks of the River Ganges will break the cycle of Birth and Rebirth and attain salvation.
Varanasi is also known for its Ghats (Embankment as stone steps along the river bank) used by pilgrims to perform various rituals. Buddha founded Buddhism here around 530 BCE when he gave his first sermon at Sarnath, A nearby town.
Varanasi as a city flourished for ages. The city is dotted with Medieval buildings, Narrow lanes and Watery street food shops. The region saw the rise and fall of many kingdoms, starting from Ancient Mahajanpadas, including Magadha, Kashi, Vatsa, Malla Etc, to modern-day domains.
The 8th-century saint, Adi Shankaracharya, established the worship of Shiva as the official sect of Varanasi.
For years Varanasi has been a significant centre for arts and designs. Various items, including silks, carpets, wooden toys, bangles made of glass, ivory work, perfumes, copper handicrafts, is produced in this ancient city.
The city’s music tradition can be traced back to Puranic days, and according to legends, Lord Shiva is credited for evolving music and dance forms. During the medieval period, Vaishnavism (a Bhakti movement) flourished in the city, and it became home to musicians like Surdas, Tulsidas, Kabir, Ravidas, Meera.
Festivals like Maha Shivratri (Procession of Lord Shiva), Dhrupad Mela (Musical celebration), Hanuman Jayanti celebrated with great elation. Recently idol of Goddess Annapurna (stolen around 100 years ago) was reinstalled at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.
Last year Union Minister for Culture, Prahlad Patel, said that between 2014 and 2020, the government retrieved around 40 antiques from various countries.