A Soul-Stirring Experience

By Rachna Virdi February 23, 2024

The 15th edition of Sacred Spirit Festival being held in the royal Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur showcases the spiritual significance of music that transcends communities, cultures and creeds.

A sacred and spiritual musical extravaganza immersed the viewers in divinity and spirituality on 23-26 February 2024 at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur resonated with the sounds of serenading music. As a celebration of the 15th edition of Sacred Spirit Festival (SSF), a splendid array of world-renowned artistes and the finest musicians performed in the breathtaking backdrop and stunning royal setting of the majestic ambience, and enchanted the music aficionados.

Presented by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust Jodhpur, the three-day annual music festival highlighted soulful music that inspires and awakens the divine in us. As the melodies reverberated with the musical strains and filled the air with ecstasy, joy and euphoria, the audience was left completely spellbound and mesmerised. The festival created a sense of magic and revival of the ancient times where one could find serenity by listening to the beauty of a voice that would lead oneself into a mystical quest.

The festival brought together music from across borders, cultures, and traditions. Some of the musicians performing in the 15th edition were those whose ancestors drifted through an immeasurable space of time and environment—whether from the Tibetan Himalayas, from the lost valleys of Kyrgyzstan where nomads defied immobility and sedentariness, or on the tracks of the gypsies as they embarked on their long journey from East to West.

The annual cultural event featured a diverse array of performances showcasing flamenco to Sufism, from Hinduism to Buddhism, the whirlwind of life between fanâ and nirvana. Other attractions of the festival were special performances such as ‘From Sarod to the Guitar’ by Aman Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash and Pedro Javier, Guitarra Flamenca; Ilyas Arabov from Uzbekistan; Cherif Mbaw from Senegal; Eleman Kanybekov and Kamuz Aibek Kanybekov from Kyrgyzstan; Padmashri Anwar Khan Manganiyar; Shehnai Brothers Sanjeev Shankar and Ashwini Shankar; Parvathy Baul; Pabuji Pad artists; Nokkuvidhya Pavakali by Ranjini; Narayanan, the magician; Lobsang Chonzor from Tibet; Pape Khan, Dilawar Khan and many others.

His Highness Maharaja Gajsingh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, Patron of SSF, elaborated, “Over the years, the festival has made its exclusive identity in bringing together diverse sacred musical traditions from across the globe at one common platform. The artists not only share the stage to create unique music but also learn from different cultures. Ensembles of our own Rajasthani musicians too leave the international audiences spellbound with their performances and collaborating with diverse visiting musicians.” The festival was exclusively curated by his daughter Princess Shivranjani Rajye, Festival Director, along with Alain Weber, Artistic Director; and Alexandra De Cadaval, Co-Director.

"The highlights were special performances based on the theme of Father to Sons. Artists such as Mohan Vina Maestro, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt performed with his sons, Salil Bhatt and Ankit Bhatt. Masters of Bansuri, Pandit Rajendra Prasanna performed with his sons Rajesh, Rishabh and Ritesh. The soulful voice of Shubha Mudgal—as translucent as precious stones, as rough as rocks in the desert—mingled with poetry and cosmic Sufi dance," expressed Alain Weber, Artistic Director

Nonetheless, the spiritual event was a soul-elating experience of mesmerising music for all!