Bhakti Utsav — a three-day musical extravaganza — has been a part of the Capital for almost a decade now. The festival aims to celebrate the multi-cultural essence of the city through devotional music and is known for its exquisite offerings, such as spiritual mantras, bhajan recitals and meditative music. This weekend, get ready to experience Sanskrit chants, sufiana qawwali, Vedic chanting and verses of great saints and poets.
“The festival celebrates diversity and tolerance for each other’s faith and beliefs,” says Sanjeev Bhargava, director of Bhakti Utsav. “Over the years, we have noticed youngsters coming in huge numbers to witness this festival, although the festival is meant for all age groups.”
The event that begins today at Nehru Park will see artists from different parts of India and Pakistan. One of the major attractions of the event is Sher Mian Dad from Pakistan, who would be taking the audience on a Sufiana high. Known for his rare combination of traditional devotional qawwali with contemporary music, the singer has his admirers in Europe, America and India. Also, Delhi-based singers Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra will be performing Hanuman bhajans; besides, Ashwini Bhide Deshpande from Mumbai will sing a 40-minute piece on Shiv bhajans. “With so much variety, there is a lot to watch out for in this fest.”
Also, maintaining its tradition, the festival will begin with a small prayer at the Bhakti tree in Nehru Place. “The tree has been named after the festival. It has been a witness to this festival since its beginning,” says Bhargava. “There will be a small prayer in the beginning for world peace and to purify the space that will see the amalgamation of so many cultures and beliefs at one place.”
Presented by Seher and the Delhi government, Bhakti Utsav is spread over three days and will see five artists a day on an average. Day 1 will begin with Rig Vedic chanting, which are done mostly in the temples at the time of puja. This will be followed by Gorakhnath Bhajans, Gurbani and Tukaram abhangs. “Tukaram, was a much-revered Maharashtrian poet of the 17 century; he was a devotee of Lord Krishna. He penned verses that came to be regarded as bhajans or abhangs,” says Bhuvanesh Komkali, who will be singing these songs.
A musical high
What: Bhakti Utsav, a three-day long musical festival
When: April 22-24
When: Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri
Entry: Free for all
Nearest Metro station: Race course on the Yellow line
Watch out for...
Shafi Mohammad Faqir, 47, from Pakistan will be performing on Saturday, April 23 at 6.30pm. Faqir took his lessons from his father, who played kamaicha, the time-honoured string and bow instrument — now a rarity in Sindh. His expertise is mystic songs of Mira Bai, Kabir, Tulsidas, Baba Bulleh Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Abdul Latif Bhittai, Misri Faqir and many others. Under the guidance of his father, Faqir also learned to play the dholak and kartal. Singing in Marwari, Sindhi, Punjabi, Urdu and Poorbi, the musician travels throughout the year to perform all over Sindh and Punjab.