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Elephanta festival ‘Swarang’ kicks start this Weekend

The much awaited “Elephanta Festival”, will commence 1st & 2nd June will a plethora of music, dance, art & crafts and painting this Saturday and Sunday on Elephanta-Gharapuri Island. Elephanta, a small island 10kms away from the Mumbai harbor, is a favored destination for culture lovers during the festival held in March. The Elephanta island is known for its great cave shrine, excavated in the 6th century. Elephanta caves, earlier known as Gharapuri, is the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva. This land was renamed, Elephanta by the Portuguese, after the majestic carved elephant on this island.
The temple here has large pillars and nine marvelous sculptured panels, set on the wall which is awe-inspiring.  The sculptures display the changing moods of Lord Shiva, with the magical interplay of light and shade intensifying the overall effect.
The theme of the two-day festival is “Swarang”. The festival of Music and Dance is being organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) since 1989. The main highlight of the festival is the illuminated Maheshmurti (Shiva-idol), in the main cave of the island. Folk dances by the local fisherfolk, ethnic local food varieties add to the ambiance. The two-day event will have lots of music, singing, dancing and various art & crafts, painting, etc. Over the years, the festival has become a major tourist attraction for Mumbaites and for incoming domestic and foreign tourists.

Day 1 – Inauguration
The Elephanta festival is conducted to promote tourism and culture in Mumbai. It intends to commemorate the heritage of dance, art, and sculpture in India. Hence, the two-day festival will be inaugurated in the presence of Hon. Tourism Minister Jaykumar Raval at 6 pm on Gateway of India near the Taj hotel. Renowned singer Kailash Kher will open the festival by a recital of Lord Shivas praises.

Day 2 – Social & Cultural Affairs
The day two will begin with a Heritage Walk for specially abled of the Divyaang organisation which is to take place on Sunday (June 2), from 11 am to 3 pm, showing Shiva sculptures at Gharapuri- Elephanta island.
The moto behind the walk is to introduce the ancient crafts of Shivdandav, Yogamudra, Shiva Parmima, Gangavataran, Ardhanarineshwar, and Trimurti.

The weeklong festival encompasses classical dances, plays, skits, and instrumental and vocal recitals. Seats are arranged under the open sky, making a perfect atmosphere for a cultural festival. Live music and folk dances occur in the evenings and the festival provides the perfect platform for musicians and dancers to display their talents. Noted singers such as Rahul Deshpande, Swapnil Bandodkar and Priyanka Barve will perform on the occasion. Well-known scriptwriter Achyut Palov, painter Vasudev Kamat, cartoonist Nilesh Jadhav, Shil Kumbhar, will also perform.

How To Reach
Visitors can reach the Elephanta Island through a boat from the Gateway of India which is a one-and-a-half hour’s journey. During the festival, special launch services are provided for the visitors.

Thousands of domestic and international tourists will witness the two-day Elephanta festival extravaganza. The festival will provide a lot of employment opportunities for entrepreneurs. Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal has appealed to the tourists to attend the festival in large numbers.
Elephanta festival is indeed a feast for art lovers. Hope this article familiarises you with this festival. So, head on to Elephanta Islands and be a part of this art festival!

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