Adding to its ongoing initiatives to promote Madhya Pradesh as a leading tourism destination in the country, the State Tourism Board will be organising “Namaste Orchha”, a new festival scheduled to be held from 6-8 March 2020, celebrating the cultural landscape of the state in the historic town of Orchha. This will be an annual event now onwards in the MP tourism calendar. Festival was announced in a curtain raiser in Delhi on Friday.
The three day extravaganza in this ancient and quaint town will feature diverse activities of music, art, wellness, travel, nature, adventure, history and culture. These activities would be led by experts in their respective fields with participants comprising invited delegates. An immersive visual spectacle of Maha Aarti on the lines of one happening at Varanasi will be curated at the banks of river Betwa. Designer Anupamaa Dayal, the pioneers of fusion rock Indian Ocean, renowned sculptor and nail art painter Wajid Khan are some of the artists who will create engaging experiences for the audiences at the festival. Renowned singer Shubha Mudgal will be among those performing during the festival.
There will also be ‘gram’ and ‘farm’ stays to promote rural entrepreneurship; workshops and site-visits for photography, film-making, performing arts; exhibitions showcasing the state’s handicraft heritage and legacies, sustainable fashion and design presentations in collaboration with master-craftsmen and well known global-local brands. It will also offer opportunity for local businesses to expand tourism offerings and weddings industries to exploit the yet untapped potential in the state.
On the occasion, Sonia Meena, Additional Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation said that Orchha is already in the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It was also awarded the Best Heritage City by the Tourism Ministry, Government of India last year. She said that this festival is going to bring alive this quaint, sleepy town like never before. With all other popular tourist destinations of north bursting at their seams, Orchha is going to be a perfect destination yet to be explored and it has potential of extending traditional Golden Triangle’s Agra angle till Orchha.
Giving more details about the festival Ms Meena said that it will bring together a host of activities and experiences for the visitors, including temple visits, nature trails, rafting, forest safari and photography walks, workshops among others. Festival will also provide opportunity for B2B business meetings. Festival is also going to promote local handicrafts, culture, music and cuisine in a big way by the means of a craft bazaar and food bazar during the festival period. Festival is going to showcase Madhya Pradesh as a whole with all its varieties and uniqueness on display. It will benefit local communities as stakeholders in tourism. In run up to the festival lot of development is taking place in the region.
Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Secretary Tourism, Govt of Madhya Pradesh and Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, who was not able to attend the event, said in a message that, “We are creating new opportunities and initiatives to promote the state and its rich cultural, natural and architectural heritage and its traditions and history. This festival will find a place of pride in the lives of the local populace of Orchha, sharing their home and heart with visitors. It will also bring the very best of Madhya Pradesh together in a meaningful celebration”.
Yasmin Kidwai, Festival Director and Curator, Director of Spring Box Films said, “Orchha is a hidden gem in Madhya Pradesh and thrives on its celebrated heritage, natural beauty, culture and creativity. Festival will help to discover this fascinating place and bring in the confluence of ideas and creative collaborations”. She said that at community level this festival is going to be an ongoing process as we have already started working upon skill development, language and homestays among other things.
Just under 500 kms from Delhi, Orchha is a perfect weekend getaway as it is easily accessible from the national capital via road (approx. 8 hours), by train up to Jhansi Junction (approx. 5-6 hours including a 30-minute drive from Jhansi to Orchha) and by air up to Gwalior (approx. 4 hours including a 3-hour drive from Gwalior to Orchha).
The Orchha Fort Complex hosts the legendary and unique Ram Raja Temple, built in honour of Lord Ram and is the only place where he is worshipped both as a god and as a king. There is the imposing Chaturbhuj Temple, with a blend of temple, fort and palace architectural features, the royal palaces- Raja Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal, which is now converted into a heritage hotel; the Jahangir Mahal built by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo in honour of a visit by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir; and the Phool Bagh, an architectural marvel built for natural cooling through a water ventilation system. Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris, constructed in honour of various erstwhile rulers of the city, dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river.
The rich and unfettered natural resources, biodiversity and pristine landscape are also an unparalleled attraction for nature and adventure lovers to explore Orchha. From guided tours of the Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary to adventure sports along the Betwa river, picturesque natural beauty to an experience of rural life, there’s something for every traveller to take home.
The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board has recently won 10 National Awards and the state has also been listed among the Top 3 ‘Best Value Destination’ of the world by Lonely Planet. The Madhya Pradesh Government has identified tourism as one of the leading sectors for development and aims to promote MP as an attractive destination for both domestic and international travellers. There is a sustained focus on infrastructure development, restoration of heritage sites, development of natural reserves and biodiversity, promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism as well as rural tourism.
Orchha is said to give you a mesmerising experience. Have you ever visited this unique place? How was the your experience, share with us in the comments section below!
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