Where To Go in November: Kutchi Culture in Gujarat, Cherry Blossoms in Shillong

From a street art festival in Mumbai to a culture fest in Osian, there's plenty to do.  
White Rann Bhuj
The Rann Utsav brings a splash of colour to the white salt marshes of Gujarat’s Great Rann of Kutch. Photo by: Omrita Nandi

Rann Utsav, Gujarat

Get some sand in your shoes and a taste of Kutchi culture at the Rann Utsav. The annual three-month-long cultural extravaganza is on till February 20. Held in Dhordo, a village in the Great Rann of Kutch close to the Indo-Pak border, this fest has plenty to offer. Enjoy folk performances by local artistes, shop artefacts and bandhani sarees, and eat Kutchi staples such as dabeli and thalis that come loaded with bajri no rotlo (millet roti), green chilli pickle, chhas (buttermilk), ghee-rich khichdi, and kadhi. Hop onto a camel cart for a ride through the white expanse, or go parasailing and dirt-biking. For the ultimate Rann Utsav experience, book a full-moon package (starts at Rs 5,500). Here’s our guide to exploring the festivities to their fullest.
(Entry free. Find out more on www.gujarattourism.com
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Dharamshala International Film Festival, Himachal Pradesh

A Death in the Gunj is among the 25 contemporary films that will be screened across the four days of the festival. Photo by: Dharamshala International Film Festival

A Death in the Gunj is among the 25 films that will be screened during the four-day festival. Photo Courtesy: Dharamshala International Film Festival

You don’t really need a reason to visit Dharamshala. But there is something inviting about watching good cinema in a great setting, and that’s what the Dharamshala International Film Festival is all about. Head here between November 2 and November 5 and gorge on global cinema in the Tibetan Children Village school, close to McLeod Ganj. Grab a plate of piping hot momos, sit back and binge watch. Catch a special screening of Konkana Sen Sharma’s A Death in the Gunj, an ensemble drama inspired by the director’s real-life events. In the children’s film category, there’s Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf’s debut German feature At Eye Level, which revolves around 11-year-old Michi’s struggle to fit in.
(November 2, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; November 3-5, 10 a.m-10 p.m. Tickets Rs750-Rs1,200. Special passes Rs6,000-Rs10,000. Book here)

 

India International Cherry Blossom Festival, Meghalaya

Nongstoin Cherry Blossom Meghalaya

The Himalayan cherry tree lends its delicate pink beauty to Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills. The town of Nongstoin is pictured here. Photo: Arridapha Shullai

At the second India International Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong, stroll through postcard-pretty pink-and-white pathways. From November 8 to November 11, the green sprawls in the Northeastern state will be flanked by rows of cherry blossom trees—in Japanese culture they are known to have inspired poets and many a picnics were had under their shade. In Shillong, you can witness the splendour of floral bloom with community events like guided night walks, storytelling sessions, live music gigs, and stalls displaying local arts and crafts.
(Events will be held across Polo 2nd Ground, JN Stadium, Ward’s Lake and Tara Ghar. Entry fee, except for Ward Lake (Rs10 for adults, free for children) Find out more on cherryblossomfestival.in)

 

Mahindra Open Sky, Rajasthan

The luxury desert festival in Rajasthan brings together best of music and leisure. Photo by: Camel Camp Osian

Dune bashing, barbeque nights and concerts under star-lit skies, this desert festival has plenty to offer. Photo by: Reggie’s Camel Camp Osian

Head to Reggie’s Camel Camp Osian, a luxury campsite in the ancient town of Osian in Jodhpur, for two nights and three days packed with art, culture and adventure events. Though a steeply priced deal, it offers ample to sample under Jodhpur’s star-lit skies. Go dune bashing, take a camel safari, enjoy champagne sunsets and sign up for guided walking tours of neighbouring villages. There’s more: Between November 24 and November 27, the desert festival will also host musicians from India and abroad. Tune into the beats of Kolkata-based dream pop duo Parekh and Singh; Mumbai-based singer, songwriter and guitarist Nikhil D’Souza; UK-born jazz and country musician Sam Lewis; and actor and singer Ayushmann Khurrana’s band, Ayushmann Bhava.
(Package Rs30,000-Rs60,000. Book here)

 

Kygo Concert, Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad

The Norwegian artist is set to tour three Indian cities for the first time. Photo by: Alexandar Tamargo/Contributor/Getty Images

Norwegian artist Kygo, who has worked with bigwigs such as Ed Sheeran and U2, is set to play in three cities. Photo by: Alexandar Tamargo/Contributor/Getty Images

Kygo of “Raging” fame is touring India for the first time this November, and we’d say, given his credentials, this does sound like a promising concert. The Norwegian DJ, songwriter and producer, who has collaborated with musicians such as U2, Selena Gomez and Ed Sheeran, is the youngest artist to have a billion streams on Spotify. You can catch him perform live in Hyderabad (November 24), New Delhi (November 25) and Mumbai (November 26) at the Sunburn Arena.
(Tickets from Rs1,997; 5 p.m. Book here)

 

St+art Mumbai, Maharashtra

A photorealistic Gandhi mural by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra stands tall at the facade of Churchgate Station. Photo by: Pranav Gohil

A Gandhi mural by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra adorns the facade of Mumbai’s Churchgate Station. Photo by: Pranav Gohil

You don’t have to fly down to Prague to marvel at some of the finest street art geniuses across the world. Watch the magic unfurl in Mumbai as the city’s public spaces turn into an art gallery at the ongoing St+art Mumbai festival. The five-part art project, on till December 30, will bring together over 30 national and international artists to paint and spray-paint the city. Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra has plastered a Gandhi mural on the facade of Churchgate railway station. Up next, for a graffiti-facelift, is Mahim. Inside Out, a portrait photography project capturing the Koli community and the inhabitants of Dharavi and Sasoon Docks is also underway.
(Entry free. Find our more on st-artindia.org)

  • Pooja Naik is Junior Writer at National Geographic Traveller India. She likes to take long leisurely walks with both hands in her pocket; channeling her inner Gil Pender at Marine Drive since Paris is a continent away.

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