Jodhpur RIFF : Rajasthan International Folk Festival
This one of a kind musical adventure delves into a soul-inspiring part of the world – Rajasthan, India’s desert state. Stopping off for workshops and seminars with local experts, performances in the desert and interactions with extraordinary artists, the tour culminates with the famous Rajasthan International Folk Festival, hosted within the majestic ramparts of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.
Together, we will explore a vibrant living culture. We will spend at least two days in each destination and are shown around by a local artist or musicologist, giving us time to absorb the atmosphere and get to know personalities as well as places.
Day 1 Delhi
At our special welcome dinner, meet your fellow travellers and host,a Delhi-based musician and anthropologist who will accompany you for the rest of the tour.
Days 2 – 4 Churu
This lesser known city in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan boasts some of the finest painted havelis in the state. It is a perfect base for us to explore the music forms of the area. Our host here is of regal descent. Jai Singh Rathore will offer us his comfortable heritage hotel Bhawani Kothi, excellent food and fascinating insights into the cultural history of his home town. Musicologist and translator Gopal Singh will join us here to explain the music we’re hearing and enhance interactions with the local musicians. During our stay in Churu, we will meet local dholi singers, part of the largest musical community in Rajasthan and the only one which traditionally allows its women to sing in public. We will also visit the villages of two different drumming communities: the Gogaji worshippers and a Holi troupe.
Days 5 – 6 Jaipur
We’ll spend a couple of days lounging in the stunning garden of Hotel Diggi Palace, in the state capital of Jaipur. Here you will be introduced to the work of the Jaipur Virasat (Heritage) Foundation – the organisation behind the Jodhpur Festival where we’re heading, and a local English-speaking guide will give you a tour of this historic city.
Anthropologist Vinod Joshi will introduce you to the fascinating itinerant performers, the kalbeliya – Rajasthan’s snake charming, dancing, singing travelling community. Also in Jaipur, you will be introduced to the work of the Jaipur Virasat (Heritage) Foundation and Anokhi (amazing hand block printing pioneers). With luck, we’ll meet the founders of both groundbreaking institutions: the unique and energetic John and Faith Singh.
Days 7 – 9 Ajmer
This section of the trip begins at the Ajmer Sharif, a sacred pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout India and beyond. Here we will be hosted by a direct descendant of the Saint Moinuddin Chisti, to whom this shrine is dedicated, and hear qawwali music in this awe-inspiring sacred place.
The next two days are spent in Pushkar with the fabulous and famous percussionist Nathoo Lal Solanki, who will give you a percussion workshop on the banks of lake Pushkar, introduce you to his incredibly musical family, and take you on a camel cart adventure into the desert, where there will be more musical surprises waiting.
The sites and stories of Pushkar, including a hill-top temple at sunrise, for those of you who are game, will be shared with you by Mukesh, the most unusual and charismatic pundit in the world.
Days 10 – 14 Jodhpur
We spend the next five days staying at the gorgeous Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli and enjoying the incredible variety of music at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival – Jodhpur RIFF. Your guide has worked at the festival for three years and is available for questions, help and advice throughout its duration. Otherwise, be free and party!
On one of the days we will organize a tour of this beautiful blue city with a local English-speaking guide. On the last day, after the stunning dawn finale of the RIFF, check out of hotels is 12 noon October 30th. We bid you farewell and send you off on your onward journeys.