The city of Varanasi comes alive as the winter season starts knocking at the doors and various festivals and events enhance the excitement level of the locals and visitors. The birthplace of the famous poet, saint, and mystic Kabir Das, Varanasi, pays an ode to him as a two-day long Mahindra Kabira Festival. The city is steeped in culture and tradition, rich history, unparalleled beauty, and a soothing ambiance that sets the stage for a two-day long festival of history, music, and peace rolled into one. Usually organized in November, this festival is a major attraction for many people visiting the city. Listening to Kabir’s couplets is like applying a soothing balm on frayed nerves and tired souls. The spirit of ‘oneness among diversity’ is easily evident here.
The event celebrates the simple philosophy of Kabir Das coupled with soulful lyrics and melodic sounds of bells chiming in ancient temples of Benaras. The whole ambiance seems to reverberate in the magical sounds and lyrics penned by the famous poet. It is a lyrical treat for music lovers to hear the soulful renditions of classical music by the famous Benaras Gharana, encompassing khayal gayki styles, thumri, dadra, sufi, ghazals, and more with accompanying tabla and pakhawaj beats.
Kabir Das is a celebrated Indian mystic, saint, and poet who is a well-known name in Indian history, culture, and literature. Kabir Das was born in the 15th century in Varanasi and is believed to be brought up by a Muslim family of weavers. Though it is not clear how and when Kabir Das got inclined towards spiritualism, according to popular belief, his spiritual journey started when he came across the renowned Bhakti saint Swami Ramananda in Varanasi.
Kabir Das completed his spiritual training under Swami Ramananda and later rose to popularity for devising his distinct ideology, teachings, and classic literary works. Kabir Das is also known to be the forerunner of the Bhakti movement. He was a preacher of Hindu-Muslim unity and denounced caste categorization and idol worshipping. Like him, his music too is all about inclusiveness, and the Mahindra Kabira Festival is an initiative to relive and revive Kabir Das, who itself is a philosophy and a way of life.
History of Mahindra Kabira Festival
The Mahindra Kabira Festival is an initiative of the Mahindra Group to revive and let people become aware of Sant Kabir Das Ji’s teachings and his gloriously simple way of life. His teachings are relevant even in today’s modern times. The festival showcases the teachings of the great poet rendered musically. Find a brief respite from humdrum routine lives and lose yourself in the lanes and bylanes of Benaras.
Date, Time & Venue of Mahindra Kabira Festival
The two-day Mahindra Kabira Festival is celebrated in November every year. This musical extravaganza is organized at the popular ghats of Varanasi. The festival begins early mornings with melodious sounds of a flute, sounds of table and pakhawaj, and voices of singers singing Kabir’s dohas. The grand opening of the event takes place in the evening at the stunning Brij Rama Palace. As the Ganga Aarti comes to an end in the evening, Kabir Cafe starts performing a mix of rock music, reggae, Karnataka music, and folk fusion blending Kabir’s soul-stirring lyrics.
Major Attractions Of the Mahindra Kabira Festival
The Festival honors the teachings and the life of Kabir Das in a melodious affair. The last five editions of the festival saw musicians paying tribute to this legendary mystic poet through their sur and philosophers decoding his verses and quotes to understand him to the core. Singers from several gharanas and genres like Sufi, Ghazal, and Thumri, along with instrument players, grace the event with their presence and performance. Have a look at the major attractions of the Mahindra Kabira Festival that keep audiences melodiously engaged.
Morning Sur and Taal
Mornings begin with the delightful sounds of flute wafting in the environment, accompanied by beats of tabla and pakhawaj. The singers sing Kabir’s dohas that seem to youch your soul. This event takes place at the ghats of Benaras and creates a perfect ambiance with River Ganga flowing in the backdrop.
The opening ceremony of the event takes place in the evening at Brij Rama Palace, a royal structure known for its architectural ambiance. Listen to stalwarts of the music industry like Rajan Sajan Mishra, Shabnam Virmani, Vidya Shah, Mukhtiyar Ali, and more.
As the day paves the way for dusk, painting the horizon in the hues of pink, orange, amber, and purple till the night sky starts glittering with stars, The Kabir Cafe comes alive with a blend of folk music, Karnataka music, reggae, rock music, pop music and more. Listening to the latest musical versions woven with Kabir’s couplets is a surreal experience.
The festival is not just the melting pot of melodious voices, but it’s also an opportunity to explore the rich culture of Varanasi. The ghats of Ganga and the local food of Varanasi make the event a grand affair that is hard to forget! At the festival, one must savor popular dishes like Malaiyyo, Baati Chokha, Tamatar Chaat, and Banarasi Paan.
Places to Visit in Varanasi During Mahindra Kabira Festival
Besides attending the famous Mahindra Kabira Festival, take some time to explore some of the best places to visit in Varanasi. This ancient city has a lot to offer to visitors. Famous for its ancient temples, ghats, bustling markets, breathtakingly stunning Benarasi sarees, and mouth-melting Benarasi paan, this city showcases a melting pot of mystical cultures and rich traditions.
The temple is dedicated to the all-powerful Lord Shiva has the honor of being the abode of the sacred Jyotirlingam, which has a considerable significance in the Hindu religion. The Jyotirlingam is 60 cm tall. The gigantic temple houses other small temples devoted to other deities like Vishnu, Kaalbhairav, Sanishwara, Vinayak, Avimukteshwara, Virupaksha Gauri. The temple is one of the most sought-after temples in India for its gold-plated spire, which stands 15.5 meters tall.
Another major temple in Varanasi that attracts a lot of devotees to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga, this temple is a symbol of feminine divinity. Moreover, this temple was commissioned by a woman, the Maharani of Bengal. The temple is built in the unique Nagara architectural style.
It is one of the oldest ghats in the city, and it is here where devotees come in huge numbers to take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges, pray with diyas, and ask for salvation. In the evening, the ghat comes alive with priests performing the famous Ganga Aarti.
This ghat holds significance amongst Hindus as it is the main ghat where cremations are performed. People believe that those cremated at this ghat get moksha or salvation. Many pyres can be seen burning at a time at this ghat.
Gyan Vapi Well
You will also find the ‘Gyaanvapi’ well here, which means the well of wisdom. The well has its relevance as the legend states that this was the well into which the prominent priest of the temple jumped, holding the Jyotirlingam to protect it during an invasion in the past.
How to Reach Varanasi for Mahindra Kabira Festival
Mahindra Kabira Festival in Varanasi attracts a lot of music enthusiasts, intellectuals, poets, and saints from all over the country who love hearing the soulful rendition of Sant Kabir’s dohas. Access the city through diverse modes of transport. Have a look at these options that can help you reach the destination to attend the festival.
By Air. The nearest airport to reach Varanasi for Mahindra Kabira Festiport or Varanasi Airport. Many domestic and international tourists arrive at the destination to enjoy the spiritual and charming attractions of Benaras. Hire a taxi or a cab to arrive at the destination.
Distance from Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport. 22.5 km
By Train. There is good connectivity of train routes from Varanasi Junction to all parts of the country. Tourists can take a cab or an auto to the destination from the Railway Station.
Distance from Varanasi Junction. 1,7 km
By Road. You can consider traveling to Benaras by road, depending on your geographical location. The overall road network, including national highways, is well-maintained and easily accessible. As per your convenience, you can choose to travel by state-run buses, cabs, or your personal vehicles.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mahindra Kabira Festival
Ques 1. What is unique about the Mahindra Kabira Festival?
Ans 1. The birthplace of the famous poet, saint, and mystic Kabir Das, Varanasi, pays an ode to him as a two-day long Mahindra Kabira Festival. The city is steeped in culture and tradition, rich history, unparalleled beauty, and a soothing ambiance that sets the stage for a two-day long festival of history, music, and peace rolled into one.
Ques 2. When is Mahindra Kabira Festival organized?
Ans 2. Mahindra Kabira Festival is a 2-day annual festival celebrated in November every year.
Ques 3. Which is the closest airport to use to attend Mahindra Kabira Festival?
Ans 3. The nearest airport to reach Varanasi to attend Mahindra Kabira Festival is Varanasi Airport or Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport.
Ques 4. What are the major attractions of the Mahindra Kabira Festival?
Ans 4. The Festival honors the teachings and the life of Kabir Das in a melodious affair. The last five editions of the festival saw musicians paying tribute to this legendary mystic poet through their sur and philosophers decoding his verses and quotes to understand him to the core. Singers from several gharanas and genres like Sufi, Ghazal, and Thumri, along with instrument players, grace the event with their presence and performance.
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