The venue of the festival, the Soneri Mahal is itself very impressive. The architectural skills manifested in this building deserve a lot of praise. And when you witness the performances of some of the most talented people in the country at this exotic venue, you are sure to be enthralled. Distinguished artistes from all across the country come here to put up riveting performances from 7 to 11 in the evening. There is so much of variety in the shows. Classical and folk singers and dancers share the same stage.
Another important highlight of the festival is the Kalagram where a large number of stalls are put up by the artisans and craftsmen of the region. It is an excellent platform for them to display their handiworks. As a large number of people from different corners of the country participate in the festival, they get immense exposure. This works in their favor apart from the lucrative business that they do selling the handicrafts.Another added attraction of the festival is the various competitive events that are held on the occasion of the celebration. Rangoli, Mehendi, Cookery, Essay, Bhajan singing and several other competitions are held. .
For those few days, the over all ambience at Soneri Mahal is one of unrestrained mirth and merry making. People have a fabulous time watching the spell binding performances of the singers and dancers, they stroll about in the stalls purchasing articles of their choice and also take part in the various competitions. You have to be there to feel the pulse and enthusiasm. It is one of the most vibrant of all the Fairs and Festivals in Maharashtra.Ellora Ajanta is a festival of dance and music held in January at the magnificent Soneri Mahal in Aurangabad. Dating back to 17th century, this architectural marvel was built by Pahadsing, an Orchha chieftain.
Kailash temple, ElloraThe festival known previously as Ellora Festival was held in the splendid surroundings of the World-heritage listed cave temple of Ellora, about 30km from Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Ellora comprises of about 34 caves cut out of the sloping side of the Chamadri hills. Excavated between 600-1000 AD, the caves belong to Buddhists, Jain and Hindu faiths. Ellora represents some 300 years of experiments carried out by different faiths with their very different iconography and structural compulsions. Another 28 caves have been discovered later by the Archeological Survey of India.
This festival held at Soneri Mahal since 2002, showcases a mix of classical and folk- dances, instrumental, vocals, milajula mushaira etc from the best talents in Indian music and dance. The Festival aims to put the historical and pictorial sites in and around Aurangabad in the spotlight. It is a unique and charming way to experience some of them such as Daulatabad, Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Panchakki (A watermill), Lonar, Shirdi, and the magnificent caves of Ellora and Ajanta, imbibing centuries of history and culture. Along with the Ellora Ajanta Festival, Kalagram- the crafts Haat of Aurangabad will host Lokotsav which showcases the antiques, crafts, folk arts and cuisine of the region. The Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival is organised by Aurangabad Festival Committee under the chairmanship of the Divisional Commissioner Aurangabad in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), where India's renowned artists perform their talents in music and dance.
During the initial years of the festival, a visitor could also enjoy the sights of the historical structure of the Kailash Temple of Ellora. This is because of the fact that the Ajanta Ellora Festival was started inside the premises of the Kailash Temple. Legend has it that they had to be carved by 7000 laborers who worked hard for more than 15 decades to build the monolithic structure of Kailash Temple.The shift of the venue of this Indian festival has also led to a paradigm shift in the type of performances held as part of the festival. Whereas only ancient forms of art were celebrated during the introduction stage, today modern art is also applauded by thousands of visitors who attend the festival to watch the performances.
Who can deny the importance of the legendary caves of Ajanta and Ellora which portray the beauty of Indian architecture and heritage. These caves are more than 1400 years old. There are Hindu, Buddhist and Jain praying places constructed within the boundary of the caves.
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