Love to be food of music at Taj festival

Love will be the theme of the Taj Mahotsava that opens here on Thursday just 500 metres from that eternal monument to love, the Taj Mahal.

The theme song that will open the 10-day annual cultural extravaganza this year in the Shilpgram campus highlights the love that pervades through the Bhakti movement, the legend of Srikrishna, Radha, Meera, the Radhasoami faith, the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor Akbar’s Sulah Kul and Din-e-Ilahi.

Based on the "live and let live" principle, the theme song has been written by Sushil Sarit and set to music by the famous ghazal singer and exponent of the Agra gharana, Sudhir Narain.

Taj Mahotsava will be called Ek Utsav Prem Ka (a festival of love) this year. An organiser said: "The festival of love, with spring in the air, will celebrate love in its myriad dimensions, with thematic representations on the wall paintings, decorations, musical presentations and the joyous exuberance of youth through dance, music, fashion shows and a variety of competitions involving students in Agra."

"Every year the festival has a theme; so this year too we have a theme," Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department’s deputy director Avinash Mishra said.

"This area is famous for the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz and at a higher spiritual level of Srikrishna and Radha. Agra is called the city of love. So we are trying to project this powerful message of love that should transcend narrow and sectarian barriers and unite mankind."

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