Indian Heritage Society marries music and monuments in Mumbai

The Mumbai Sanskriti Music Festival brings India’s top music maestros to another evocative venue.

Those of us who remember the beautiful Banganga Festival, which used to be held at this ancient tank at Walkeshwar in Mumbai, will be happy to know that its legacy lives on. Even though we may not enjoy the privilege of listening to the country’s foremost classical musicians perform while sitting on the red carpeted steps surrounding the holy tank, the venue lit up by hundreds of lights, we can still witness some of the magic now, albeit virtually.  

The Indian Heritage Society-Mumbai (IHS) is all set to present the 30th edition of their theme ‘Live Music to Save Heritage’, in the form of the Mumbai Sanskriti Music Festival at the prestigious heritage venue, the Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai, starting from today (February 11, 2022). The virtual concert will be conducted every Friday in the month of February. This festival is supported by Incredible India and Maharashtra Tourism and curated by Northern Lights.

IHS has been instrumental in identifying heritage landmark structures in the city to give them a new lease of life. This festival is a genuine effort to increase awareness of the rich heritage of Mumbai. Under the aegis of ‘Live Music to Save Heritage’, IHS had initiated the Banganga music festival in 1992 to highlight the 11th century Banganga Tank. This internationally acclaimed music festival was renamed the Mumbai Sanskriti festival, when the venue was shifted in 2009 (due to a High Court Order against noise pollution) to another majestic heritage structure, the Town Hall (Asiatic Library steps).

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During the pandemic in 2020, IHS took this festival virtual and organised it from another spectacular heritage structure – the Convocation Hall at the Fort campus of the Mumbai University. The Convocation Hall is one of the finest Neo Gothic Victorian heritage structures in the city and has received the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for heritage conservation in 2007. Speaking about it, Anita Garware, Chairperson, Indian Heritage Society Mumbai says, “IHS aims to create awareness of the rich heritage we have inherited and make efforts to conserve, restore and carry it forward to future generations.”

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Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia performing at Mumbai University’s beautiful Convocation Hall. Image: Courtesy IHS.

Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, eminent flautist whose compositions and performances have got the bansuri global recognition, the melodious strains of which will again grace this festival today, says, “It’s always a pleasure to perform at beautiful heritage venues in the city. Having performed earlier for the Indian Heritage Society at the Banganga Tank and outside the Asiatic Library, I am now excited to perform at the Convocation Hall for the Mumbai Sanskriti festival.”

‘Mumbai Sanskriti 2022’ music festival is presented in four virtual concerts that will be exclusively streamed on the official YouTube channel of Indian Heritage Society, Mumbai, and available digitally to all music and heritage enthusiasts. The first concert by Pandit Chaurasia today will be followed by vocalists Sanjeev Chimmalgi (February 18) and Ankita Joshi (February 25), and Padma Bhushan Dr N Rajam on violin (March 4). All the concerts will be free to attend and will commence at 7 pm.

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