Banganga Festival is a famous cultural festival that is celebrated at the Banganga Tank which is situated in the Walkeshwar Temple. The temple is located in the foothills of the beautiful and picturesque Malabar in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) which is an effort to promote travel and tourism in the state of Maharashtra.
The festival is a 2-day affair which is observed in the month of January every year. The first Banganga Festival or Banganga Music Festival was held in 1992. It mostly focuses on a classical music concert where big names of the industry grace the stage and entertain the audience. A host of the national and international tourists and music lovers flock to Banganga Tank to attend this quintessential event.
History of Banganga Tank
Legends Associated with Lord Ram. If legends are to be believed, the Banganga Tank was formed by Lord Rama. The sacred texts of Ramayana state that when Lord Rama was in search of his wife Sita (abducted by Ravana), he stopped on the hillock of Malabar Hills to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
After worshipping the Lord, he felt thirsty so he shot an arrow from which a tributary of Ganga appeared. Lord Rama quenched his thirst by drinking the holy water of this tributary. Also, Lord Rama erected a Shivalinga that was named Walluka Ishwar which is now known as Walkeshwar Temple.
According to another legend, Lord Rama had stayed here for some time during his return from Lanka after winning over Ravan. When Ram happened to visit the place, locals asked him for water to perform bath rituals for Shivalinga. Lord Ram shot an arrow (Bana) and water profuse from the holy Ganges itself. The natives were probably Shaivites and since then they started worshipping the Shivalinga (Phallus stone).
Modern History of Banganga Tank. Banganga Tank is situated in the premise of Walkeshwar Temple which was constructed by the monarchs of the Silhara Dynasty between the 9th and 13th centuries. Later, it was destroyed by the Portuguese. It was restored in the year 1715. Then, several rulers constructed various temples dedicated to different Hindu deities.
Major Attractions of Banganga Festival 2023
1. Hariprasad Chaurasia
One can enjoy the melodious instrumental music produced by famous flutist (Bansuri Vadak) Hariprasad Chaurasia, born on July 01, 1938, is an acclaimed musician of India from Varanasi.
2. Ustad Zakir Hussain
A great Tabla virtuoso, percussionist, music producer, Ustad Zakir Hussain perform at Banganga Festival. So, it will be a great event for those who are a fan of his music.
3. Ringing Bells of the Temple
It is quite intriguing for attendees and devotees to experience the majestic event of the ringing of the bells that happens during the musical poem recitation that is written by unknown poets. The aura during the musical poem recitation is simply divine that leaves people feeling all spiritual.
How to Reach Banganga Festival 2023
Malabar Hills are situated in South Mumbai and is a perfect example of urban travel getaways. Malabar Hills are located at a distance of about 1,429, 2,087, 1,010 km from Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here is how you can travel here by the below-mentioned means of public transportation.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport or Mumbai Airport is just 22.5 kilometers away from Banganga via Western Expressway Highway. From the airport, it will take around one hour to reach here. The well-established airport is connected to major cities in India and overseas. The airport is served by several national and international airline services such as Air India, IndiGo, Aeroflot, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, etc.
The nearest railway station is Charni Road Railway Station. If you will take Walkeshwar Road, the distance between Banganga and station is approximately 3 kilometers which can take 15-18 minutes via any local auto, taxi, etc. Another major railway station is Mumbai Central Railway Station which is around 4 kilometers away from Banganga Tank. This railway station is well-routed with other major cities of India such as Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. Also, the station is well-connected to the roadways of Mumbai. The station is served by frequent trains such as Mumbai Rajdhani, Pune Duronto from Delhi, HWH CSTM Duronto, Gitanjali EXP from Kolkata, and Lokmanya TT EXP, Rajkot EXP from Bengaluru.
Banganga in Malabar Hills has great connectivity with its neighboring regions. This area is served by frequent bus service from Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. Also, one can enjoy the road trip from Mumbai to Malabar Hills which is famous for Hanging Gardens, Tower of Silence, Raj Bhavan Tour, and many other interesting places to visit. For a road trip, you can consider hiring a cab or self-drive options.