Venue: Tansen Memorial at Gwalior
Duration: Five nights
Highlight: Musicians and singers gather from all over the country and regale the audience with their awe inspiring musical performances
Tansen Music Festival is conducted in Gwalior, a cultural event which is a tribute to the legendary Hindustani classical singer known as Tansen. It is a very important event to the local people as well as Hindustani musicians. The musical event has been named after him to honor him and is carried out every year in the month of November or December at his tomb. Tansen was a well known singer in the Mughal courts of Akbar who composed various exceptional ragas in Hindustani music. Gwalior is said to be the oldest school of music and an institution of traditional classical composition known as the Draupad style that was followed by Tansen. The music festival sheds light on the work of Tansen's distinctive style of classical music that continues to mesmerize its audience.
Just in case if you wondering who Tansen was, it's time to brush up your history lessons. Miyan Tansen or Ramtanu Pandey, as he is known as, was one of the geniuses in classical music. He was well known for his compositions, singing skills and also popularized the traditional instrument 'rabab'. This soon earned him a position among the nine precious gems in the court of Akbar and was bestowed with the title 'Miyan' (which means a learned man) by Akbar. Music is an essential part among Gwalior society and the city has managed to retain its age-old musical traditions. The festival was said to be started way back in the 1930's and in time, has managed to lionize this iconic and historical personality.
Types of Music
The Tansen Music Festival showcases the Gwalior Gharana style of music which is the oldest form of classical Hindustani music. It is also known as dhrupad style that once entranced the royal Mughal courts of Akbar. The musical show brings together several artists who play the instrument according to this method, along with others who have trained in this form of singing. The festival is a four-day event that puts the entire city into a melodious trance. This musical extravaganza in Gwalior is a true vocal and visual delight as the stage is overwhelmed by the performances of some of the finest musicians belonging to the Gwalior Gharana.
Spread of Festivity
The Tansen Festival is said to be one of the most popular events in Gwalior. The event is currently organized by the Madhya Pradesh tourism authorities as a measure to not only promote and encourage tourism, but to also retain the ancient culture and tradition belonging to this region. The festival holds great significance to musicians as it pays homage to the 'father of Hindustani music", Miyan Tansen. The musical concert takes place at the backdrop of the Tansen's sepulcher that attracts not only artistes, but also inquisitive tourist trying to capture a glimpse of this regional cultural event.
Gwalior is a popular tourist destination in the country as it served as a former capital for many dynasties. The city has many architectural structures that exemplify the Mughal, Maratha and British style of buildings. Some of the must visit sites in Gwalior are Gopachal Parvat, Vivswaan Mandir, Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior fort and Maharaj Bada being some of the most popular tourist attraction in the city. If you plan to extend your stay then make sure to visit the centuries old Gwalior Fair that was commenced by Maharaja Madho Rao. The fair is a vivacious and energetic cultural event that cannot be witnessed elsewhere in India.
How to Reach
By Air: Rajmata Vijyaraje Scindia Vimantal is Gwalior's airport and is located just a few kms away from the centre of the city.
By Rail: Gwalior railway station is a major railhead in the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai rail route. Additionally, it is connected to almost all cities in India.
By Road: Gwalior forwards very good bus services, both private and government owned, that connects it to all the major cities of the country.