Timeless Treasures- Kabira, Ganga and Banaras
By Ishan Roy | 27 Oct, 2023As the sun descends into the backdrop of the vast Ganga in Banaras, a beautiful silhouetted picture of flapping birds across a rosy sky and paddling boats rowing across the stunning waterway is created—an image that has been captured by painters, poets, and photographers on countless occasions. This is the first image that comes to fruition in my mind when thinking of the Mahindra Kabira festival in Banaras. Wafting classical and traditional Indian music and mesmerising performing arts only heighten this magnificent audio-visual match made in heaven.
Kicking off on the 15th of December 2023, the 7th edition of the Mahindra Kabira Festival carries forward the legacy and spirit of the simplistic poetic genius of Kabir over its three-day duration. A striking similarity between Kabir's works, this majestic river, and the ancient city of Banaras— possibly the oldest continually inhabited city on Earth—is their enduring impact on our lives.
It’s been over 500 years but the revolutionary poet has lived on in some form or the other. Whether it be in films, songs, Bhakti-Sufi performances or folklore, you know something is a classic when it is talked about and remembered half a millennium later. Yes, that’s millennium, not century. From being written about by Akbar’s chronicler Abul Fazl to having his works translated by the great Tagore himself, I wonder where I might figure on the long list of venerable individuals who have taken a crack at dissecting his literary prowess.
There is no question about the fact that his work and life have stood the test of time influencing many generations, whether it be culturally, creatively, metaphysically, or most certainly, spiritually. On the flipside of the same coin, the Ganga is another one of those entities that has shaped our world for as long one can remember.
Appearing in ancient text and culture dating back many hundreds of years, this sacred goddess of a river serves as giver of life to a multitude species and in turn, myriad ecosystems. Descending from the icy glacial deposits of the Himalayan heights, no river comes close to emulating the prominence and mystique that it holds.
Worshipped by many and relied upon by countless others, few artistic gatherings could ask for a more enchanting venue than the river's ghats to showcase its magical allure.
Apart from their eternal existence, Kabir and the Ganga are bound together by the spiritual capital of our country—the city of Banaras. It is only when you first set eyes upon the banks of this river that you can appreciate the true glory of this city. Miles of ancient temples—some meticulously conserved, others crumbling down to the water, whisper their ancient tales to the millions of visitors and devotees alike it draws every year.
To truly experience the charm of this majestic city, the timeless philosophy of Kabir, and the spiritual essence of the Ganga, be a part of the Mahindra Kabira Festival 2023.
As Kabir says…
काल करे सो आज कर आज करे सो अब, which when translated, tells us to complete tomorrow’s work today and today’s work right now, without any delay in important tasks. In an attempt to follow the wise man’s doha, book your Delegate Package now and get ready to experience not just a plethora of classical and folk music performances, but heritage walks through the city's culturally rich alleys. Discover Banaras’ world-renowned silks, ethereal handicrafts, and celebrate the more earthly delights of local food and for the grand finale, immerse yourself in the quintessential Ganga Arati experience.