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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival - Part 1

I have been attending the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival since its inception in 1999. I was then fresh out of college, had time on my hands, and I loved the opportunity to experience something as different as an Arts Festival in Mumbai. Over the years, I have seen the festival grow, become more popular, the addition of a variety of events offering something of interest to people of all ages. And I have enjoyed attending the festival, year after year..... Discovering something new each time, and of late, opening up an entire new world of art and creativity to my son. I still love attending the festival, and look forward to it each year, but it gives me even more pleasure when my 9 year old son opens the newspaper and yells out – “Amma, the Kala Ghoda festival has started! When are you taking me?”

A beautiful installation with colourful butterflies 

And thus it was, that we spent the weekend at the KGAF.... Saturday was fun, because the crowds hadn’t set in, and we were able to enjoy and appreciate the installations in relative peace.

A note about the art installations... we loved them! They seem to be much better than the ones last year, or maybe it was just that we could peacefully go through them, without being elbowed and bumped into every other minute. However, the disadvantage of being so early was that most of the display information boards weren’t up, and we had to imagine what they stood for. Of course, we enjoyed that too!

Skulls seemed to be the order of the day – probably quite natural, considering the state of our country these days.....

And Samhith, for one, loved looking out for them... and here are some...

Can you count the number of skulls in this one???

This huge one, at Rampart Row, was his favourite. Why? Because it spouted smoke!!! Kids were drawn to it, wondering where the smoke came from, and no one stopped them from approaching it, and tugging on the wires hanging about, hoping it would make the smoke spew out again!

The Kala Ghoda was nowhere to be seen... its place was taken by a Kali Bail.. the black bull... (photo courtesy Sudha Ganapathy, since I didn't get a single decent image)

And there was this horse... or rather, horses... made with packaging material...

Among the others, the installations of vehicles were wonderful too....our favourite was the Vespa....

The installations representing auto rickshaws were just as interesting.

Our heart skips a beat these days as the meter plunks another unit... the increase in auto fares have affected us badly... 

But it has affected the auto drivers too, who struggle to eke a living, as this installation shows...

This one, on the other hand, shows the humble auto as a vehicle of dreams.... after all, this is the city of dreams!

This one cautioned people against talking on the mobile while driving....

And, finally, among the vehicles, this was certainly the simplest, but also the best....

And that was just the beginning. There was so much more to see and enjoy.... to see the rest, come back to the blog tomorrow for some more pics from Kala Ghoda...

These photos are meant for those of you who don’t live in Mumbai, and can’t visit the festival. For those of you who do live in Mumbai, get off from the computer and go, see the sights for yourself.... Here is a link to the complete event schedule...

I shall be at Kala Ghoda again, tomorrow – Tuesday (5th Feb) and maybe Saturday (9th Feb) as well, so if you are in the area, give me a shout, and let’s meet!


  1. Hey Anu,
    We too enjoyed the installations very much. But the best was rope walker. He was really amazing and displayed wonderful balancing...
    Waiting for the next part...

    1. we didnt go for that, Sonal. it was just too crowded.. enjoyed more on saturday when it was empty :D and anyways, we have seen rope walkers before... more peacefully!

  2. HEyyy nice Anuradha ji. I been to Kala Ghoda fest on its opening day that too lil early when stalls were being installed and crowd was less... it was nice to capture the art without crowd. will upload my pics soon.

    well liked ur post... keep updating.

    1. Thanks Vijay! I guess we might have been there at the same time! I was there while the stalls were being installed... thats the only way we can avoid the crowds that turn up these days!

  3. Replies
    1. Yes, Arun! the art installations are wonderful this year!

  4. This was something I had heard of but never been to one before. Thanks for the lovely captures. Art and creativity rocks.Waiting for the next part.

    1. Next year, plan a trip to Mumbai around this time!

  5. And I haven't been there even once! Always out of town. :(

  6. We haven't missed it ever since we came to Mumbai. We were there yesterday evening and it was very crowded, as expected. I may come tomorrow; will buzz you.

    Nice shots! :)

  7. Wow! what an event!
    Great captures from there.
    Saw plenty of shots from other FB friends too.

  8. As usual, your photographs and text are superb. My favourite installations were the butterflies, the bull and the horse. The skulls... not so much :)

  9. Nice blog really conevred some good installations of the KGAF 2013 Keep it up

    Do you know who made the Bull installation it looks nice and colourful


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