Sunday, February 14, 2010


Painting of Lady Diana by Helmut Zwerger

The Kala Ghoda Festival has been happening since so many years. But this was the first time I could go to see one.

It was a visual grandeur, no less. Stretching from West View to Mumbai Port, the area of Kala Ghoda was colourfully lit and decorated with gorgeous stuff that one has to see to visualise. The fest brings to the public a glimpse of Indian art and culture at one venue.

One end had on display a number of prize-winning entries of photographs by many photographers. Some of the displays were just amazing. Then there was the installation of Revathi Sharma that was dedicated to the army, navy and air-force. I never could relate much to installations, but this was truly excellent.

As we moved further, we came across many stalls on both sides selling wares from around the country. There were Madhubani paintings, curios and other items made of papier mache, cloth bags, bags made of reed, pottery, glazed pottery, kurtis, Punjabi suit materials, saris from different regions, scarves made of silk, hand made paper, art materials, lamp shades made of various materials, wall hangings, home décor and more. While these made for colourful and artistic displays, they were just priced at too exorbitant a cost. They may be suitable for purchase by foreigners or compulsive shopaholics.

In the middle of the fest is placed a dais where cultural programmes happen every day. The day my daughter and I landed there, there was a Bharatnatyam performance going on. We could not see anything as the area was too crowded but the song that we heard was beautiful and added a lot to the gala atmosphere.

The vibrant colours and sounds special to our culture are brought out at the festival and I believe that these are necessary not just for the tourists from other places but also for us. We get to see so much of what our culture has in store.

We also went to Jehangir Art Gallery that was holding ‘Myriad Moods’ a display of paintings by Helmut Zwerger from Austria. I believe three of his paintings had been to space - a piece of information that I heard from the promoters. I did not find it too impressive as it made me wonder what the big deal was about. I can relate to a monkey being sent to space as it is a living thing and gives us hope that living beings can survive out there. But paintings??? Anyways, that was their USP while promoting the artist’s works. I have no comments to offer about his works as I am no art connoisseur, but I did not particularly enjoy the show.

Towards the end, we stopped at the stalls offering food brought to the fest by the local restaurants – Joss, Noodle Bar, Bombay Blue, Chetana, Copper Chimney and Gelato Italiano. We shared a delicious Balinese veg curry and steamed rice from Joss and a undhiyu-puri combo from Chetana and called it a day.

All in all, the Kala Ghoda Festival is an experience of a lifetime. Congratulations to the Times of India for pulling it off.


  1. when i went to the fest it was very crowded. i wish i had a little more breathing space to watch the performances. shopping was good but tad expensive. overall, i love the concept. good writeup, sundari :)

  2. sounds like good timepass! the masks look very nice!

  3. I love Kala Ghoda, I'm just always awestruck, taking the sights and sounds in and yes, I love to pick up a souvenir or two from the event and lots of visiting cards! The people too are so friendly and cool to talk to. It's a great mesh of culture and color! :)