Multi-Format Festival Taalbelia Celebrates Culture of Mandawa, Rajasthan

Entertainment | February 6, 2017 | News

Taalbelia Event Crafter Indian ocean

The heritage and ancient royal charm of Mandawa met with a world class mix of music, art and culture at the debut edition of Taalbelia, a fully sold out four-day long multi-format festival that was held from January 26 to 29. The festival was brought alive by Event Crafter in collaboration with the Royal Family of Mandawa. Showcasing the majestic and equally magnetic charm of the Shekhawati region and its culture, this round the clock affair took place between two breathtakingly beautiful venues, namely Castle Mandawa and Desert Resort.

Event Crafter has been a pivotal stakeholder in promotion and experiential magnification of Rajasthan’s culture through its active involvement in initiatives similar to Taalbelia for over a decade and half.

Siddhartha Chaturvedi, Festival Curator and CEO, Event Crafter remarked, "Taalbelia-is a dream, a dream I've lived through my life as a music lover who seeks distinct and unique musical experiences beyond boundaries of genres. Creating a space which becomes a meeting point of everything which is good music and everyone who is a universal music lover."

Taalbelia, as a concept strives to reinvent the wheel, as far as destination music festivals go with wider range of delectable music genres that usually don’t find a spot in the current crop of festivals.

Four days, 4 stages and more than 30 acts quite made the ideal combination of the comforts of a vacation immersed in music, arts and crafts, along with adventure, royal hospitality and gastronomic delights, unique to the belt.

Since this was a residential festival, every accommodation option had a story to tell. Patrons chose between the regal rooms bearing marks of history and royalty at Castle Mandawa, and scenic earthy cottages bearing the vibrant colours of Rajasthan in its interiors at the Desert Resort with round the clock service. Luxury tents, in close proximity to the Big Ibhah stage were picturesque with their faint yellow lights glowing amongst the Dunes of the Desert Resort.

On the venue choices, Chaturvedi added, "Taalbelia couldn't have come alive as such a wonderful experience if it was not hosted at this magical town of Mandawa between these two wonderful properties of Castle Mandawa and Desert Resort Mandawa. While Castle is this 17th century Royal adobe and Desert Resort gives you experience of staying in this ethnic resort spread in acres of land with stables and dunes and Oasis. Both the venues provide very good stay options where every room has a unique experience and history. The camp site at the desert resort added the adventure element while these tents also were very comfortable and luxurious. Both the venues combined together added just the right backdrop to this awesome experience. The Royal family not just opened their gates but their hearts too for Taalbelia."

The stages, namely Meera Chowk, Risala, Dhobhi Ghat and Big Ibhah along with the workshops kept the resident audiences enraptured through the day until the wee hours of the morning. Despite, the late hours , the audiences managed to wake up to light devotional music emanating from Meera Chowk (Castle Mandawa) that saw elevating performances of Sumitra (meera bhajans) and Sunita Amin (dhrupad) and Sukriti Sen, that filled the halls of the castle with the sound of the celestial ragas.

The setting then moved to the Risala, the afternoon stage, which was set to the one of the backdrops of the Mandawa Castle. Risala saw a neat blend of saw fusion and Rajasthani folk along with impromptu collaborations featuring artists such as Bhanwari Devi, Rajasthan Josh, Grammy award winner and Padma Bhushan Awardee Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhat, and Prem Joshua and Band among others perform under the sun in the open courtyard of the castle.

The evening events held at the Dhobi Ghat and the Big Ibhah stages in the Desert Resort showcased an array of genres ranging from Hip-Hop and Blues to Reggae along with EDM, World Fusion and other genres of indie music with performers such as coveted singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad, Grammy winner George Brooks, Soulmate, Indian Ocean, Divine, Reggae Rajahs, Ankur and The Ghalat Family, Sound Avtar, Dualist Inquiry among others. The seating arrangement and simplistic yet alluring decor for the audience in each venue was carefully orchestrated to truly capture the essence of Rajasthan.

The debut edition of this dreamy festival saw 3 collaborations which will live long in the hearts of its patrons, namely the magical coming together of Indian Ocean with Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and George Brooks and the two-timer impromptu collaboration between Hari and Sukhmani and Chugge Khan of Rajasthan Josh. Khan joined them on stage on day 2 on the Big Ibhah and the duo returned the favour with a brilliant jugalbandi on day 3 at Risala.

The festival’s special market Katla Bazaar, hosted by AnanTaya displayed Taalbelia merchandise, travel and home décor accessories, stationery, hand-block printed garments, jewellery, handcrafted and festive bags, hand-woven stoles and beautiful handcrafted mojaris to take home as souvenirs of this memorable festival. The market also had a listening booth with special Taalbelia-themed headphones, streaming all the performing artists and their music which was also available for sale.

Taalbelia’s Pro-Life exquisite Workshops had a distinctive set of interactive sessions: nagada playing which attracted music lovers by its majestic sound. A Lakh Bangles artist shared the technicalities and precision involved in bangle making to interested festivalgoers, while kids were kept busy with miniature picture and kite making workshops.

Taalbelia’s Gourmet Fiesta was  home to food-lovers who wished to indulge in unique cuisine and authentic delicacies of Shekhawati. The menu however wasn’t restricted to Rajasthani wonders, extending itself to world cuisines such as Middle Asian, Mongolian and Mexican specialities.

Organised by Event Crafter in collaboration with the Royal Family of Mandawa, the first edition of Taalbelia took place at Castle Mandawa and Desert Resort with performances by musicians across genres

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