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Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

by Madhav Srinivasan 1927 days ago

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a vibrant celebration of the arts and culture. Over the years, the festival has seen a dramatic rise in popularity and today attracts visitors from outside the city and country.

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival was first held in 1999. Kala Ghoda is located in the posh South Mumbai area and has several heritage buildings. The festival was launched with the aim of drawing attention to the historic structures that line the streets in the area and to enthuse people to maintain and conserve them. The festival is organized by a non-profit organization, the Kala Ghoda Association. Over the years, the festival has attracted several sponsors and collaborators. The festival dates for the year 2012 are February 4-12. Over the years, the festival has become so successful that the organizers have been forced to extend the coverage to nearby areas like Azad Maidan and Horniman Circle and should not be miss on Mumbai tour packages.


Kala Ghoda is a unique part of Mumbai. The area is so called because long ago, there was a statue of the British monarch King Edward VIII atop his black horse. The locals named the street after the horse and the area came to be known as Kala Ghoda. The name has stuck on even though the statue of the monarch and his horse was removed several years ago. The area has always been a hub of cultural activities with galleries, outdoor pavement galleries, lecture halls and exhibition spaces hosting programs and crafts fairs through the year. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival pays a unique tribute to this thriving, vibrant phenomenon. When in Mumbai, tourists should also take up Mahabaleshwar holidays to enjoy a great holiday. 

The arts festival is divided into several sections. The main sub-festivals are the street festival, visual arts, special children’s events, dance, music, heritage walks, theater, cinema, workshops, seminars and lectures. The events are held in the various impressive buildings in the Kala Ghoda area. These include the David Sassoon Library, Max Mueller Bhavan, the Jehangir Art Gallery, Elphinstone College, National Gallery of Modern Art and the Cama Institute.

One of the main attractions of the festival is the street fair. This is organized on Rampart Row. The atmosphere in the street is simply electric during the nine festival days. 

Stalls selling different varieties of food, artisans with their wares, portrait makers add to the hustle and bustle here. Folk dancers and musicians from across the country entertain the crowds. The performances that are held at the Rampart Row street fair include artists from all over the country.

The workshops and seminars are an integral part of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The topics vary from the esoteric to the flippant. While one workshop could entail a serious discussion on art, another one could be demonstrating the various ways a sari is draped! The workshops are conducted by top figures from Mumbai’s literary, culture, fashion and social scene. Matheran is a popular holiday destination near to Mumbai and tourists are advised to also enjoy a holiday in Matheran, which is a spectacular place to holiday in Maharashtra

Every year, the festival makes a special effort for children. Art and theater workshops for kids are a big draw. There are also special heritage walks organized for children so that they get to know and love their city.

There is also a Heritage Bus Tour included in the festival. Visitor to the fest can get on to a open bus and check out some of South Mumbai’s iconic landmarks, including the Gateway of India, The Taj Mahal hotel, High Court, Chatrapathi Shivaji station and the Asiatic Society. Numerous package tours from Mumbai are available for the earby located hill station. 

Over the years, the Kala Ghoda festival has evolved into one of the major highlights of India’s cultural and arts calendar. The festival gives young artists from various fields the chance to display their talent. An interesting aspect of the festival is that entry to various events is completely free. The cost of organizing the various events is met by sponsorships. 

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