A heady five-day affair embracing the rich musical roots of Rajasthan, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, aka Jodhpur RIFF, is one of India’s most innovative and intriguing festivals. Held at the majestic 17th-century Mehrangarh Fort in the Blue City of Jodhpur, which Rudyard Kipling referred to as “the work of angels, fairies and giants”, Jodhpur RIFF 2020 brings together more than 250 musicians and performers from both Rajasthan and across the world. International artists join hands with local musicians to create new sounds through innovative collaborations.
Jodhpur is, for many, a must when visiting Rajasthan, and epitomises all that the region is best known for; from golden deserts and crumbling forts to luxurious palaces and opulent hotels. Uniquely, it still has its own living royal family and ruling Maharaja, descendants of ancient dynasties who have passed down rich cultural legacies, and a vibrant cultural scene bursting with music and dance. The current Maharaja, HH Gaj Singh II, created the Jodhpur RIFF to provide a stage to the region’s hugely talented but largely unheard folk musicians, as well as to bring life and visitors back into their magnificent 15th-century fort. Rolling Stones’ frontman, Sir Mick Jagger, is the International Patron.
Speaking on the significance of Jodhpur RIFF, HH Gaj Singh II said,
“The Rajasthani folk musicians are at the core of Jodhpur RIFF. It is important that they feel a sense of pride and dignity, a sense of home and can present what their peers and elders consider authentic. At the same time, they realise that there are opportunities for them as artists in their own right: to create and to collaborate with exemplary musicians from across Rajasthan and around the world. And Jodhpur RIFF gives them both; this is why festivals like Jodhpur RIFF are important.”
Timed to coincide with Sharad Purnima, the brightest full moon of the year in north India, the dates of the Jodhpur RIFF are slightly different each year, though always fall in October. This year, Jodhpur RIFF 2020 will be held from 29th October – 2nd November.
The Jodhpur RIFF 2020 itinerary we’re about to describe can be slotted into a broader tour of the region, or enjoyed all on its own, as per your preference.
This evening the festival kicks off with its opening night. Depending on the time of your arrival, we recommend exploring the Mehrangarh Fort Museum first of all. Widely considered to be the best of Rajasthan’s many palace museums, it boasts a rich and varied collection including a golden throne, miniature paintings, centuries-old textiles and fascinating weaponry. Thanks to RIFF, during the festival a variety of traditional Rajasthani dances are performed throughout the museum; from the martial-looking Gair dance to the joyful Chang Nritya.
The Jodhpur RIFF 2020 tour we’ve described here is merely a starting point to share a flavour of the possibilities. All our tours are private, and tailor-made to complement your taste and interests. In essence, the itinerary described above is just a starting point, and together we can refine it into your ideal Indian experience.
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