Festival begins to showcase history, culture of Orchha

Orchha (MP), Mar 6 (PTI) With the grand Jahangir Mahal in its backdrop, the 'Namaste Orchha' festival began here on Friday to showcase the cultural and historical landscape of this lesser known town in Madhya Pradesh.

The festival, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board to promote the state as a leading tourism destination, was inaugurated by Minister of Commercial Tax Brijendra Singh Rathore, Minister of Culture Vijaylaxmi Sadho and Chief Secretary Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty.

Speaking at the inauguration, Rathore said such events not only introduce the world to the hidden gem that is Orchha but also provide the youth with employment.

'Most visitors to Orchha don't know about its rich history, about its more than 80 archeological sites. This is the first step towards taking Orchha to the world,' he said.

The minister said the festival will also provide the youth with employment at a time when there are no jobs and it will invite investors to do business in the state.

He added that while the 'earlier governments didn't pay much attention to this part of the state', now that it has come into tourists' focus, the Kamal Nath-led government will develop the town.

The inaugural ceremony opened with a projection mapping show of the Orchha Fort. Voiced by actor Manoj Bajpayee, the immersive show depicted the rich tradition of syncretic culture of the town.

Offering a tribute to the historical town, contemporary dance performance by 'Sadhya' group depicted the story of the town.

The group showcased a dance depiction of the story about how Hindu lord Ram came to be worshipped as the King of Orchha.

The evening also witnessed performances by music composer Clinton Cerejo and his band, who wove western elements into classical Indian compositions, joined by Santoor player Shruti Adhikari.

The opening ceremony also saw performances by Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Prahlad Tipaniya, singer Shilpa Rao, indie rock band Indian Ocean and lyricist Swanand Kirkire.

Once an impregnable fortress, the Orchha Fort complex built by Bundela Rajputs in the early 16th century will host a range of activities like art, music and dance performances, guided history tours, photography tours and more during the course of the festival.

The town, which literally means 'hidden place', will host an immersive visual spectacle of the 'maha aarti' on the banks of the river Betwa and a 'farm to fork' experience demonstrating products of organic farming.

The food and crafts bazaar at the fort complex will showcase the local cuisine and handicrafts of the Bundelkhand region with special focus on Panja Dari, Pithora paintings, Chanderi weaves, Maheshwar sarees, Gond paintings, and Bagh print.

The festival will come to a close on March 8. PTI MAH DPB