The Jayamahal Palace Hotel is stark white with turrets. On the grounds outside, trees stretch out their limbs lazily, lit by twinkling lights wound around them. A white owl flies overhead. And the scene is set for the Ruhaniyat Sufi Festival.


Zikr-e-Rifayi, fakirs from Andhra Pradesh, started the show with songs infused with healing, followed by the Vaya Quartet from Bulgaria who sang Polyphony songs, a mixture of many sounds, sharp and flowing and overlapping. Dressed in folksy traditional costumes, their voices transcended the ordinary and seemed to be borrowed from the realms of angels, with one song consisting only of syllables.


The group from Rajasthan put on a lively performance. Parvathy Baul, with long hair worn dreadlocked and swinging, came on stage armed with three instruments (Ektara, Duggi and Chilambu) that she played simultaneously in the tradition of the Bauls – mystic wandering poets from West Bengal. I still hear Kichhu Din Mone Mone, months later. Slow, gentle and coaxing.


The folk dance, Tannoura, by the Dancing Dervishes from Egypt was captivating as they whirled on stage tirelessly, almost in a trance. The whirling represents the universe in motion and their multiple skirts for various Sufi orders. Weighing around 20kg, these skirts were untied as the performance progressed. They walked twirling the skirt over the audience – a blessing.


Pakistani Qawwali singers wrapped up the show, though I didn’t understand most of it, their energy and spirit and cheeky smiles were infectious.

Deep within my soul, I now accept and experience the healing power of music.
– Fairies Oracle Cards, Doreen Virtue




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