Srinagar, June 25, KDC: The third and final edition of the esteemed ‘Vitasta Cultural Festival’ concluded successfully, on Sunday, in the Valley, celebrating culture and various art forms unique to the region of Jammu and Kashmir, and bringing together diverse cultural expressions from various regions of the country.
The grand event concluded on Sunday evening, with a series of cultural programmes, including singing, dancing, and various forms of folk art, which took place at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), located on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar.
The Governors of Punjab and Tamil Nadu, Shri Banwarilal Purohit and R. N. Ravi were present as chief guests at the closing ceremony.
On Sunday, the concluding event showcased a remarkable variety of captivating cultural programmes, featuring one standout performance by Saurabh Jadu & Group. Their enchanting singing mesmerised the audience and left a profound impression. Adding to these mesmerising programmes, the audience was enthralled by a special presentation of Tigulbandi, which beautifully merged Kashmiri instruments like santoor, rabab, and guitar in a harmonious fusion. Moreover, the programme was graced by the captivating qawwali performance of Ustad Shafi Sopori, who is renowned for his exceptional musical prowess. Additionally, the Bollywood orchestra delivered a captivating rendition of songs filmed in the scenic locales of Kashmir, further enhancing the overall experience.
On this occasion, Shri Banwari Lal Purohit, Governor of Punjab and Chairman of the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, expressed immense pride in being a part of the ongoing celebration of this festival. Highlighting the significance of this glorious occasion, where diverse cultures from across the country converge in the heavenly land of Kashmir, he said that the festival ‘Vitasta’ serves as a unifying thread, weaving diverse cultural blooms into a splendid garland. Mr. Purohit extended his heartfelt congratulations to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, for organising this grand and folk culture-centric event. Additionally, he lauded the dedicated efforts of Furkan Khan, the diligent director of the North Zone Cultural Centre, for orchestrating this marvellous occasion.
Shiri Purohit said, “As the Chairman of the North Zone Cultural Centre, I take immense pride in the trust placed upon us to host this remarkable event. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Director of the Centre, Furkan Khan, and his dedicated team for the resounding success of this event. I am grateful to the Government of India, particularly the Union Ministry of Culture and its officials, for providing us with this valuable opportunity. Additionally, as the Chairman of the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, I wholeheartedly express my gratitude to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the local administration for their unwavering cooperation in organising this grand cultural extravaganza.”
During the event, Governor of Tamil Nadu, RN Ravi of, expressed his thoughts on the significance of Vitasta as a remarkable initiative towards the vision of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ (One India, Great India). He conveyed his immense delight at having attended the inaugural edition of this event when it was held in Tamil Nadu, and he expressed his joy at being present once again for its conclusion in the enchanting city of Srinagar.
He emphasised the profound spiritual significance of Kashmir, stating that it holds a prominent place as a centre of spirituality. He cited the transformative power of the region, exemplified by historical figures such as Milander, who, even as an invader, underwent a spiritual transformation and became known as Milind. Governor RN Ravi expressed his belief in the emergence of a new India, where the rich cultural heritage of the nation plays a pivotal role. He enthusiastically announced his commitment to invite artists from Jammu and Kashmir to participate in future cultural festivals held in Tamil Nadu, fostering cultural exchange and collaboration between the two regions.
The event commenced with a warm welcome extended to the esteemed guests, accompanied by the melodious strains of the Wunwan song, a traditional Kashmiri composition. Chief Guest, Mr. BL Purehit, Governor of Punjab, and Guest of Honour, Mr. RN Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu, were honoured with mementos by Uma Nanduri, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture. Srinivasa Rao, Secretary of the Bharatiya Sahitya Akademi, presented both Governors with a book published by the Academy. During her welcome speech, Mrs. Uma Nanduri provided an overview of the exciting programmes lined up for the ‘Vitasta’ festival, enlightening the audience about its diverse offerings.
In addition to the distinguished guests, Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta, spoke passionately about the event, expressing admiration for the beauty of Kashmir and the essence of Kashmiriyat—the unique cultural ethos of the region. Siddharth Kak, the programme’s knowledge partner, shared valuable historical insights pertaining to the significance of ‘Vitasta’, providing the audience with a deeper understanding of the festival’s roots and importance. Their contributions added depth and context to the overall experience of the event.
During the event, several individuals were recognised and honoured for their significant contributions to the success of this grand occasion. Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, Tourism and Cultural Secretary Dr Abid Rashid Shah, SKICC Director Javed Bakshi, Knowledge Partner Siddharth Kak, Sahitya Akademi Secretary K. Srinivasa Rao, Jammu and Kashmir Art Secretary Bharat Singh Manhas, and Furkan Khan, Director of the North Zone Cultural Centre, were all presented with mementos by both Governors as a token of appreciation for their efforts. Their dedicated work played a vital role in ensuring the smooth execution of this remarkable cultural extravaganza.
Concluding the ceremony, Furkan Khan, the Director of the North Zone Cultural Centre, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the chief guest, guest of honour, and all individuals who played a part in the successful organisation of ‘Vitasta’. He extended his appreciation to everyone involved, recognising their valuable contributions and dedication to bringing this cultural event to completion.
It is worth mentioning that the festival was organised by the Union Ministry of Culture through the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala. The preceding two editions of this festival were successfully held in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Pune (Maharashtra).
This festival, named after the ancient Vedic name of the Jhelum River, aimed to bring to life Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ (One India, Great India) under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative.
Prior to the three-day grand event from June 23 to 25, a series of pre-event programmes from June 16 to 21 at approximately two dozen locations in Srinagar and the surrounding districts were organised with the aim of serving as a platform for artists representing diverse art forms of Kashmiri folk culture. It provided them with a valuable opportunity to display their skills while contributing to the preservation and promotion of the illustrious artistic heritage that characterises Kashmiri folk culture.
These vibrant presentations included various forms of folk art such as Dhambali, Kud dance, Jagran, Bach Nagma, Rauf, Chakri, Geetru, Dogri, and more. Guest artists from different states also participated in these programmes and presented cultural performances representative of their respective regions.
Furthermore, a painting and calligraphy camp was organised in Srinagar through collaboration between the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, and the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages. These camps provided artists with a dedicated space to showcase the beauty of Kashmir through their artistic creations. (KDC)