The first day of 'Shree Cement The Sacred Pushkar - a festival of music, yoga and meditation' concluded with high-voltage musical performances by leading Sufi and classical artistes at the beautifully decorated Jaipur Ghat here on Saturday.
The high point of Saturday's series of events was marked by an enthralling performance by popular singer Daler Mehndi.
The ongoing festival, curated by Teamwork Arts, offers a unique holistic and soulful experience and is hosting visitors from across the country as well as abroad.
After a series of events centred around yoga, meditation and organic cooking sessions, the stage was lit up with splendid musical performances, one after the other, as the huge gathering cheered in their best spirits.
Immediately after the heritage walk earlier this afternoon, the Jaipur Ghat came alive with the evening music which began with the traditional aarti, accompanied by the sounding of a conch and cappella singing by 'Vocal Rasta'.
Taking the stage after the aarti was one of India's leading percussionist and pakhawaj exponents Pt. Bhavani Shankar who performed with his group Sound of Asia.
Next in the line up was Kabir expert Shabnam Virmani who regaled audiences with "mala ro maniyo" from Kabir's poetry as well as songs from Bhakti, Sufi and Baul traditions.
It was followed by a stirring vocal performance by 'The Soil', a four-member cappella singing group from South Africa. Defined as Kasi Soul, the group's music featured an eclectic mix of musical genres such as jazz, hip hop, Afro-pop and Afro-soul.
Ending the night with his unique brand of Sufi and folk infused popular music was the performance by Daler Mehndi, who sang Noor E Illahi, Namoh Namoh, Bismillah, Allah Hu, Rajan Ke Raja and Ram Naam.
The two-day festival concludes on Sunday with another series of events.
YOGA, MUSIC, HERITAGE WALK MARK DAY 1 AT THE SACRED PUSHKAR FEST
Celebrating the ancient and holy city of Pushkar, the second edition of "Shree Cement The Scared aPushkar" got off to a splendid start here Saturday morning with a range of activities designed to invoke the "inner divine" of the visitors.
The festival, curated by Teamwork Arts, offers a unique holistic and soulful experience and is hosting visitors from across the country as well as abroad, mostly from the US.
The festival opened at the beautifully bedecked Jaipur Ghat, with Tibetan Heart Yoga by ZaChoeje Rinpoche.
He introduced the audience to the "Tibetan way of Yoga", explaining the five chakras of the body while focusing on the heart chakra which forms the core of being as they are born. He led the audience through various techniques including breathing patterns that benefit the heart.
After the wellness session began the enchanting morning music which invoked the spirit of 'The Sacred'.
Trained in the classical form by Pt. Madhup Mudgal, vocalist Sukriti Sen's mellifluous voice mesmerised the audience with bhajans like "Guru Bin Kaun Bataye", "Chal Mann Ganga Jamuna Teer" and "Jamuna Kinare Mora Gaon".
Taking his inspiration from the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah, soulful renditions of Sufi songs from Delhi based artiste Harpreet Singh left the audience enraptured with compositions like "Maati", "Aa Mil Yaar" and Suryakant Tripathi Nirala's "Jhoom Jhoom Mridu Garaj Garaj Ghan Ghor".
"From the beautiful and divine host city of Pushkar to the numerous soul stirring performers who've joined to collaborate for this experience, this festival is an experience for visitors like never before. We're grateful to the state of Rajasthan and to our partners Shree Cement who've collaborated with us to help us keep this festival a memorable experience for visitors", said Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts.
Following the musical performances, audiences got an opportunity to learn about organic cooking in a session by Chef Rajeev Payal from Navdanya, a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 16 states in India. Chef Rajeev talked about the health benefits of organic food and showcased recipes of delicacies like "kuttu ki chaata" and "amaranth cutlets".
The participans were then taken on a Heritage Walk through the streets, ghats and temples of Pushkar by Pandit Ravi Sharma, a city resident who has been promoting local Rajasthani talent through his Pushkar Records music label.
The Heritage Walk, the high-point of the day's events, featured visits to shrines like the Old Rangjee Temple, Varah Temple, Atmateshwar Mahadev, Baai ji ka Mandir, Maan Mahal and Zahangir Mahal interspersed with musical performances and local market fare.
A huge number of foreign as well as locals participated in the walk and were left enchanted on witnessing the ancient glories of Pushkar.
The day's last session is scheduled to begin later Saturday evening. Titled "Evening Ragas", it will witness participation from Vocal Rasta, Pt Bhawani Shankar and Shabnam Virmani.
Popular singer Daler Mehndi and a South African group called "The Soil" will also perfrom.
The two-day-long festival concludes Sunday with another series of day-long events.