Untravel Trip #5: Celebrating music at The Tansen Sangeet Samaroh

The Tansen Sangeet Samaroh is a 4-day musical extravaganza celebrated in honour of musician Tansen at Gwalior, and is a doorway to the fascinating history and culture of Madhya Pradesh.


The Tansen Sangeet Samaroh is a 4-day musical extravaganza celebrated in honour of musician Tansen at Gwalior, and is a doorway to the fascinating history and culture of Madhya Pradesh.

Tansen was not just one of the nine jewels at Akbar’s court. He was one of the most prominent figures responsible for nurturing the Dhrupad style of music and introducing new ragas in the Hindustani classical music tradition. As a tribute to the legend, the Madhya Pradesh Government organises the Tansen Sangeet Samaroh, a 4-day musical extravaganza, every December.

Tansen's tomb

Tansen Samaroh
PIC: mamg_10/ flickr CC

Tansen Sangeet Samaroh is a a large congregation of classical musicians and artists from all over India commemorating the great musician through performances that go on through the days and nights. The festival is conducted near Tansen’s tomb in Behat, a small village about 50 km from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. It is believed that one must chew on the leaves of the tamarind tree near Tansen’s tomb to enrich their voice. Gwalior, the city, and its fortress, have served as a hub to many historical North Indian kingdoms that have their origins in the culture of Gwalior.

Road to Gwalior

When travelling from the North, Gwalior is separated from New Delhi by a distance of about 300km. When travelling from the South, one has to touch Bhopal which is again about 300kms from Gwalior.

Behat is 50 km East of Gwalior which houses Tansen’s tomb. It is about an hours drive from Gwalior. There are good transport services available form Gwalior and they have a higher frequency during the festival season.

Untravel Places to visit

Conquer the most invincible Gwalior fort

fort

Gwalior Fort
PIC: swifant/ Flickr CC

Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, the Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most magnificent monument. There is a steep road  that winds upwards to the Fort, flanked by statues of Jain Theerthankaras, carved into the rock face. The majestic outer walls of the Fort still stand, two miles in length and 35 feet high, bearing witness to its reputation for being one of the most invincible forts of India. “The pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind” is what Emperor Babar called it. Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture.

The Scindia Residence

Jai Vilas Palace is currently the Scindia residence where 35 rooms have been turned into a museum. It is an Italianate structure which is a mixture of the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes. The imposing Darbar Hall has two central chandeliers, weighing a couple of tonnes. Ceilings picked out in gilt, heavy draperies and tapestries, fine Persian carpets, and antique furniture from France and Italy are features seen in these spacious rooms.

Where Dravidians and the Aryans meet

Teli ka mandir is a Vishnu temple from the 9th century. It is a juxtaposition of Dravidian style of temple towers, the Gopurams and the decorative embellishments are similar to the Northern Indo-Aryan style.

Be one among the wild

Wildlife Sanctuary

Kanha – Elephant safari
PIC: Honza Soukup/ Flickr CC

In the forest heartland of India is located a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Kanha is closest to Gwalior. Kanha give the travellers options like safaris, camping and trekking. They don’t restrict the traveller’s interest to the animals, but also enlighten them about what it is like to live in a forest, sensing signals/alarms, admiring the flora, etc. For a more intimate experience one must opt for the responsible camping and safari that is offered at Kanha. Shergarh and pugmarks123 offer eco-tourism and camping facilities with a variety of package to experience Kanha.

The Gwalior Food ‘Dairy’

Madhya Pradesh

Bafla Bati
PIC: alpha.fdu.in

Gwalior is famous for its milk based food products. Bafla is prepared out of wheat and savoured with dal and ghee. The cuisine in Madhya Pradesh gives equal attention to vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Of the vegetarian specialities coming from Madhya Pradesh, Bhutte ki Kees- made of milk and corn, Chakki ki shaak – a steamed dish made of wheat, mawa-bati, khoprapak, shrikhand and malpua are must-haves.

The Desi Diaries Festival Calendar by The Alternative is a compilation of 15 #Untravel trips you can make to explore lesser known culture across the length and breadth of India that come alive this festive season. Plan a trip, be quick and go celebrate like a local!


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