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BaanGanga Festival / Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia

A lifetime experiance!!
It was an amazing lifetime experiance, with the maestro with his flute and the beautiful water with lights shimmering, and white ducks wading through the water and trying to do the "Jugalbandi " with the Pandit

Two days of rhythm and raga at Banganga festival

Mumbai: Brass bells in the 23 temples surrounding the 12th century Banganga tank had begun to chime for the evening aarti, the conch shells soon joined in, the white ducks swum to one dark corner and waited. The stage was set for the 14th edition of the Banganga Festival in Walkeshwar, jointly organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and the Indian Heritage Society-Mumbai (IHS). Inaugurated by state governor S M Krishna and tourism minister Vijaysingh Mohite-Patil, the festival has lined up performances by artistes Padmavibhusan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute) and Veena Sahasrabuddhe (vocals) over two days of rhythm and music. The crowd was still trickling in when Chaurasia, the performer of the first evening, began his rendition of the Raag Bhopali in a tribute to the historical site. An innovative sound technology that enables the distribution of sound without the use of loudspeakers, in use at the festival since 2005, made sure the people living in nearby buildings were not disturbed. “However, the organisers have made arrangements for interested Banganga residents to sit with the audience and watch the programme for free,’’ says Harishchandra Vyas, the 56-yearold priest of the centuriesold Balaji temple. Even so, families living in houses overlooking the tank, lined up in their balconies to take in the magical experience of the classical night. The sacred stone tank of Banganga, though away from the busy life of the city, is not new to visitors. Every year hundreds of pilgrims converge on the steps leading to the tank before Navratri and during Shivratri. Young students of the travel and tourism department of the Mumbai University, roped in to escort the guests on heritage walks around the bylanes of the area, explain that the tank came into being when Lord Rama stopped there on his way to Lanka. In an effort to find fresh water to worship a shivalinga made of sand (walluka ishawar), Rama shot an arrow (bana) into the ground letting out Bhogawati, an underground tributary of river Ganga. Proceeds from the two-day musical extravaganza will be used towards conservation of the Banganga tank and the surrounding temples.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia regaled the audience with his soulful rendition of Raag Bhopali

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