Village India & Experience Gujarat

The heritage and lifestyle of India and the state of Gujarat got replicated in Leicester UK with a fantastic three day event celebrating its music, culture and food.

The Village India and Experience Gujarat  event took place at De Montfort Hall and Gardens in Leicester (UK) on 10th-13th September 2009.  A three-day event giving you a wonderful insight into the cultural fabric of traditional Indian village life and a venture into the lifestyle of the state of Gujarat. were invited to the event, to tell you more about this delightful outdoor and indoor show, which depicted aspects of the whole of Indian culture with exhibitions and performances by a cross-sector of performing artists.

Many traditional displays were spread all over the grounds, giving visitors a chance to experience aspects of village life with full scaled, houses made in the same styles as you would find in rural environments of Gujarat. A scaled down replica of the Taj Mahal was on display next to the main stage.

The displays were actually designed in India, which took over four months of preparation before they were brought to Leicester for the show.

EVillage India bannerntertainment was provided on two stages. With the main stage featuring popular Punjabi and Gujarati acts. Contemporary Bhangra and Bollywood songs, World Music Fusion, Traditional music and Dance, and DJs, all featured on the stage for visitors to enjoy.

Cultural dances by the Gujarati folk dance group ‘Dhanyadahra’ from India were performed in traditional Gujarati costumes  throughout the weekend. Including dances from different regions in India, including, Assam, Maharashtra, Rajashthan and Bengal. The dandiya dance by the men full of zestful energy with synchronised dancing sticks was then collaborated with folk dances by women in colourful clothes. Drama and enactments of traditional stories also took place on the second stage.

Village India dancersThe traditional Gujarati ‘thaali’ dance was an acrobatic act of constantly spinning round silver trays all kept in motion on wooden props held by the mouth. This incredible feat was performed by the traditionally dressed dancer with accuracy and control, keeping five thaalis spinning.

Music performances during the three days featured Jazzy B,  Bandish Projekt,  Tigerstyle, Bobby Friction, Hemant Chauhan, Punjabi MC, Parthiv Gohill, Samay, Desi Masti, Taal Vaadiya Kacheri and Sukshinder Shinda. Providing a terrific experience of music and arts both modern and traditional.

Activities for children and adults were all part of this wonderful event. Experience Gujarat was  held in the main auditorium and focused on the very best music and dance from the Gujarat region with famous artists performing in variety of special concerts inside the De-Montfort Hall.

Beautiful Indian cuisine was available to devour at locations within the grounds of the event with some very established Indian caterers providing food. Dishes from the Gujarat region, Punjab and more contemporary dishes were all on display and enjoyed by visitors of the show.

Delicious Food stall at Village IndiaA small hut showing the environment of one of India’s renowned historical figures, Mahatma Ghandi, was also on show complete with the charkha. Ghandi was born in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat, on 2 October 1869. The exhibit featured Rajendra Bhatt, who played and acted the role of Ghandi at the exhibition.

Full coverage of this unique show was provided by the popular Brit-Asian radio station, BBC Asian Network, broadcasting activities of Village India to listeners. Presenters from the station at the event included Dev Parmar, Jas Rao, Noreen, Bobby Friction, Dipps Bhamrah to name a few.

All together the weekend gave visitors a fantastic flavour of Indian and Gujarati culture brought to Leicester by Sense Experience, a live event management company born out of the world renowned Indian classical record label Sense World Music.

Here are some photos from this vibrant show.

Nazhat is an ambitious 'Desi' woman with interests in news and lifestyle. As a writer with a determined journalistic flair, she firmly believes in the motto "an investment in knowledge pays the best interest," by Benjamin Franklin.

Photos by Naresh Sandhu exclusively for Copyright (c) 2009.

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