It’s a busy time of the year when it comes to the cultural calendar. Here’s a pick of events not to be missed in the coming months.
Ramlila of Ramnagar
The 31-day-long Ramlila of Ramnagar, Varanasi, is world-famous. Over a million pilgrims arrive annually for the vast processions and performances organised by religious leader Kashi Naresh. Different episodes from the Ramayana narrative are performed at different locations around Varanasi. The spectators move along with the actors from one venue to another.
Where: Ramnagar, Varanasi
When: Till October 8
Since its inception in 2011, Oktoberfest Goa has seen EDM come alive, with fans joining from across the globe in huge numbers. The fest features some of the best DJs and live acts from across the country and abroad. This edition of the fest promises to be a cracker of an event, with music that is sure to get you dancing, a wide range of beers to tickle anybody’s tastebuds, food stalls with mouth-watering local and continental delights, and a flea market as well.
When: October 21-23
Prithvi Theatre Festival
Named after the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor, the annual celebration of theatre, Prithvi Theatre Festival, was first held in 1983 and is an annual feature of the Prithvi calendar, starting usually in early November and running anywhere from a week to a month. The focus of the festival is Indian and international theatre, showcasing groups from India and across the world.
When: Dates not confirmed
Pushkar Fair, visited in droves by foreigners and Indians alike, is one of the largest gatherings for a fair in the world. Held in the month of Kartik, or November, it is one of India’s highly-rated travel experiences, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle, and visited by over four lakh people over a period of around 10 days. For visitors it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
When: November 2-14
Dharamshala International Film Festival
Undeterred by the fact that Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, has no cinemas, the first edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival was held in November 2012. The festival aims to bring high-quality, independent films along with their filmmakers from around the world to Dharamsala and create a cultural platform to engage all communities that inhabit the area. This edition will not only showcase local, national and international films and documentaries, but will also include conversations, workshops and masterclasses with directors. You can look forward to films like A Korean in Paris directed by Jeon Soo-il, Kammatipaadam by Rajiv Ravi, Lathe Joshi by Mangesh Joshi, Sonita by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, Syrian Love Story by Sean McAllister, The Island Funeral by Pimpaka Towira, among many others. Also in attendance will be the directors of these films. There will also be a special screening of three single-channel video and sound installations by the Palestinian artiste duo, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme.
Where: Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh
When: November 3-6
Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest
Mumbai’s largest international literary festival brings together an eclectic mix of the world’s most notable authors. Celebrated writers and thinkers from many countries will participate in the festival this year. Performances related to literature—plays, performance poetry, storytelling with music—will also be an integral part of the festival.
Where: NCPA, Nariman Point, and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, Mumbai
When: November 17-20
International Film Festival of India
With a focus on promoting Indian cinema globally, the International Film Festival of India has emerged as one of the biggest film festivals of Asia. The 47th edition will showcase the best of Indian and world cinema in Goa, providing an excellent opportunity to filmmakers and film lovers to watch, appreciate and learn the art of filmmaking. In addition, film students and lovers will also have the opportunity to interact with directors, producers and technicians of Indian and world cinema at workshops and masterclasses, which will focus on different aspects of filmmaking.
When: November 20-28
Comic Con India
A few years back, to avoid the expense of travelling abroad to a comic convention, a group of young people in Delhi decided to create one on their own in their home city. With that mission, Comic Con India was formed and it has now grown to multiple events across the country. The fest attracts pop culture fans from across the country. This year’s chapter of Comic Con, to be held in New Delhi, will cater not only to fans of comics, but of gaming, movies and television as well.
Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi
When: December 9-11
Held in late December, Sunburn Goa is the perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in world-class electronic music. Not only does it provide the perfect soundtrack to round off the year, but festival-goers can also let loose with a range of adrenaline-powered activities such as bungee jumping, volleyball and zorbing—the ultimate holiday experience.
When: December 27-30
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a kaleidoscope of music, dance, theatre, street stalls and workshops, among others. It is a community celebration of arts within one of the most beautiful and historic precincts of Mumbai, the Kala Ghoda Art District. The festival has sections like visual arts, food, literature, films and a children’s section as well. Also, many heritage walks are organised to give people an insight into Mumbai’s heritage. Over the years, the festival has grown exponentially, drawing over 1.5 lakh people from all over the city and beyond to over 350 events spread over nine days.
Where: Multiple venues in Mumbai
When: February 4-12, 2017
Udaipur World Music Festival
This city-wide, multi-venue music festival, cutting across several genres of music, will bring together many global artistes and ensembles from various countries. The aim is to establish an annual signature event in Rajasthan and, at the same time, establish Udaipur as a major destination for world music in south Asia. The festival will feature live performances with the city of lakes as a background and will celebrate cultural diversity.
Where: Udaipur, Rajasthan
When: February 10-12, 2017
This edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale will have artist Sudarshan Shetty as its artistic director and curator. The biennale will see many performances, collateral events and interactive projects. The artists taking part this year include Raúl Zurita, Orijit Sen, Achraf Touloub, Avinash Veeraraghavan, Camille Norment, Caroline Duchatelet, Charles Avery, Valerie Mejer Caso, Sophie Dejode, Bertrand Lacombe, Daniele Galliano, Sharmistha Mohanty, Gary Hill, Desmond Lazaro, Naiza Khan, Praneet Soi, Erik van Lieshout, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Dana Awartani, among many others.
Where: Multiple venues in Kochi, Kerala
When: December 12-March 29
Serendipity Arts Festival
To be held for the first time, this interdisciplinary arts festival aims to encourage the evolving arts community, promote a culture of patronage and create value for the arts in India. Serendipity Arts Festival will celebrate diversity in art with a special focus on music, dance, theatre, crafts, visual and culinary arts. The programming will be dispersed across a mix of indoor and outdoor locations along the Panaji waterfront in Goa. The curatorial body of the festival includes names like Riyas Komu, Ranjit Hoskote, Shubha Mudgal, Lillete Dubey, Manu Chandra, among others. Workshops, lectures, conclaves and a host of pedagogical platforms will be led by leading artistes and educators.
Where: Panaji, Goa
When: December 16-23
Jaipur Literature Festival
The Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan has gained a reputation as the literary calendar event of the year, not least because it’s set in the stunning pink city. From Nobel laureates and local language writers to Man Booker-winners and debut novelists, every January, the most remarkable and brilliant authors from south Asia and across the world come together for five days of readings, debates and discussions at the beautiful Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital. The event is free to participate, with online registration.
Where: Diggi Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
When: January 19-23, 2017
India Art Fair
India Art Fair returns for its ninth edition, bringing the best art galleries in the subcontinent and beyond. This year, MCH Group (Basel), a group of live marketing companies, has taken a co-ownership stake in India Art Fair, joining current co-owners Angus Montgomery and founder director Neha Kirpal. The fair provides a platform not only to established international galleries, but to emerging talent from south Asia as well. You can expect a breadth of modern and contemporary art practices, including paintings, sculptures, new media, installations and performance art, etc.
Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi
When: February 2-5, 2017
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Rajasthan International Folk Festival, which helps promote local musicians and vocalists of Rajasthan, attracts thousands of music lovers to Jodhpur every year. At this year’s edition, you can expect foot-tapping music, dance and poetry. This year’s line-up includes Lakha Khan Manganiyar and Kadar Khan Langa (Sindhi sarangi and vocals), Pempa Khan Manganiyar (shehnai and murli), Sawan Khan Manganiyar (Sufi), Chiranji Lalji and Shamsuddin (maand), vocalist Anwar Khan Manganiyar, Hungarian band Sondorgo, singer Davy Sicard, percussionist Ben Walsh, and many other musicians.
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan
When: October 13-17