Celebrating the creative and cultural industries of Varanasi, the two day long Sanskriti Mahotsav organised by the Ministry of Culture “Ras Banaras – Swachhagrah – Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali” at Man Mandir and Assi Ghat began in Varanasi today. Integrating the tangible and intangible heritage along the river-belt different institutions/missions like the National Mission for Clean Ganga and Namami Ganga Jagriti Yatra, the academia, artists, artisans, writers, poets, environmental and cultural forums came together giving the cultural expressions to the conservation and protection of the river.The 2-day event is focused on music and dance performances on the theme of ‘Swachhagraha’ presented under the rubric of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Karyanjali’. School-children affiliated to MoC’s Interpretation steered The Swachhta drive through exhibitions, songs, puppetry, nukkad nataks and folk dances.The inaugural day witnessed a soulful performance by 5 year old Avantika Mishra, and a Swachhta Geet performed by children from the interpretation centres. In the cultural performances the Mahotsav witnessed diverse genres of classical artists, contemporary Varanasi-centric ensembles and folk troupes offering the perfect blend of the historic and the contemporary.
The duo of Pandit Narendra Mishra and Pandit Pooran Maharaj performed on Sitar and Tabla respectively while Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar gave a mesmerizing performance on Shahnai, in the dance segment, Kathhak was performed by Saurav-Gaurav.A unique shopping journey was experienced by the guests in the Craft Market organized by NCZCC on Assi Ghat, which included a melange of colourful and traditional handicraft and textiles from Varanasi and other parts of the country. The bazaar included the folk performances by folk singers and dancers from different states with a special focus on Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, the states paired with Uttar Pradesh under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix. A small food corner was also set to bring out the aroma of Varanasi and tribal cuisine from Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Art connoisseurs got the chance to interact with the artisans and a live demonstration was given.The Mahotsav showcased a curtain raiser exhibition on Varanasi curated by the National Archives at Man Mandir Ghat while a painting and terracotta-sculpture workshops was conducted with the students of Interpretation Centres by National Gallery of Modern Art in partnership with the Fine Arts School of BHU.
As the theme of the mahotsav focuses on the cleanliness, Installations and large canvases drawn by the children with a message of Swachhta were exhibited at prominent places and ghats of the city. Graffiti Art and multicoloured murals and tags celebrating the theme of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Karyanjali’ were made at prominent walls, Buses and Boats provided by the District Administration. Children from the Interpretation Centres trained in workshops by Centre for Cultural Resources and Training and Sangeet Natak Akademi performed at different venues of the city.One of the other vision with which the mahotsav is being organized in Varanasi is that no cultural talent or heritage should remain unattended and if it is talent, it should be nurtured and if it is a heritage, it should be conserved and used as an icon to learn from the past, and also to propagate our cultural talent across all boundaries. The mahotsav is organized to encompass Cultural mapping, research and documentation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Varanasi with a focus on preservation of time-honoured inheritance.
The 2nd day of the Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical, folk music, dance and visual arts - Malini Awasthi will perform a thumri, Shruti Sadolikar will perform a classical song while Vishal Krishna and troupe will give performance of Kathhak at Manmandir Ghat.The closing ceremony will also see Minister of State for Culture (I/C) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma along with Smt. Mridula Jaiswal, Mayor, Varanasi Municipal Corporation, Ravindra Jaiswal, MLA, Varanasi North, Dr. Neelkanth Tiwari, Minister of State for Law and Justice, Information, Sports Youth and Welfare, Saurabh Srivastav, MLA, Varanasi Cantt., Surendra Narayan Singh, MLA, Rohaniyan and Neel Ratan Singh Patel, MLA, Sevapuri gracing the occasion.