Destination festival Taalbelia rocks Mandawa town second time around

The majestic fresco town of Mandawa hosted a wide variety of audience from across the country at tyne second edition of Taalbelia on the Christmas weekend.


The multi-genre festival has a lot of specials- including rare collaborations, jams and sets which are not witnessed everyday. Artists from the worlds of bollywood, classical music, folk, fusion, independent scenario, electronica, reggae and alternative music, made for an unforgettable experience. 

Where there was a classical stalwart like Mahesh Vinayakram did a jugalbandi with Prem Joshua, the Grammy nominated Indian American singer-songwriter Rajakumari regaled the audience with City Slums after a masterpiece of a mixed set by singer Mohit Chauhan. Actor Name Das wore his singer cap for the balmy afternoon session, before actor/snger Monia Dogra’s new electrifying live set. Of course the old and new age of Rajasthan folk found space in heavy duty programming adding that perfect finishing touch to a destination music festival in Mandawa, Rajasthan. The four stages at Taalbelia, progressed in mood and might with the changing directions of the sun.

With four stages each unique in its sound, decor, feel and music programming, Taalbelia’s second edition was a treat for the senses. 

Day one of the festival began with the voice of the powerhouse singer Bhanwari Devi, followed by last year's crowd favourites Ankur & the Ghalat Family at Dhobi Ghat, before the evening progressed towards the main stage - Big Ibah with a stellar set by  Indus Creed featuring grandpa hot pants Lou Majaw. This power packed performance was followed by Prem Joshua featuring Mahesh Vinayakram. The tone for long night of partying was set by Bangalore-based Malfnktion & Sound Avtar. 

Despite the late night of partying, day two started bright and early with people thronging the Meera Chowk (early morning stage set in a quaint little Chauraha or intersection at Castle Mandawa where Soumitra’s Devi’s voice charmed one and all. The afternoon stage - Risala was a treat like last edition with the warmth the sunshine, a beautiful backdrop of the fort and a brilliant set by Filter Coffee. Up next was the mind blowing electro folk artists - Rapperiya Balam who got people singing, dancing and regaling in the folk strains from Rajasthan rich banana tales along with their pulsating rhythm- based music. 

The multi-talented Bollywood actor and singer Namit Das closed the afternoon set with Anurag Shankar. 

Dhobi Ghat on day 2 has a lovely collection of music that stated with Sawan Khan Manganiyar, before MonicaDogra took the stage with a new set and pumped up a different kind of an energy in the audiences. The Big Ibhah saw an enjoyable performance by Maati Baani Collective before the mighty set by Gaurav Raina’s by (one half of Midival Punditz) Solo Project Grain Live featuring Komorebi and Monica Dogra among others. The set was both fresh and energetic with a cocktail of intense and light numbers. 

Avantika Bakshi took the stage set with a nice EDM Set before Mojojojo took over the main stage with solid Drum & Bass set that featured a good selection of popular no.s from the bass and DnB genres along with his own hit originals such as Thar Bomb  and Storm. 

Only the beautiful winter sun and the sounds of music from Meghawls, playing at Meera Chowk could beckon the tired audiences from their beds after two days of through enjoyment. Post a short breakfast break Risala stage was set with performances by Moorlala & Kommune. 

The evening stages on day three reached the crescendo with Rn gaging  performances by Anand Bhaskar Collective & Madboy/ Mink on Dhobi Ghat before the massive line up on the main stage. Starting with Desert Symphony the stage was beginning to make way to a rare set by the man with a golden and equally rare voice - Mohit Chauhan. 

Chauhan played a very different, intimate set befitting a finale. The set featured folk songs and later on popular demand of the audience sang his old and new Bollywood songs while interluding the the festival audience on a very personal level. He stayed back after his show, sitting by one of the bonfires and graciously met eager fans young and old alike, clicking selfies and shaking hands. 

His set included songs such as an acoustic extended version of Dooba Dooba from his Silk Route days, Sabse Peeche Hum Khade, Naadan Parinde Ghar Aaja (Rockstar) along with a good dose of Pahari/chambayee folk. 

The members of the audience couldn’t get over the warmth and intimacy of this special set with a singer of that repute for hours. 

Reggae Rajahs took the stage next and gave the audience a set to warm them up on the chilly finale evening. The act which was a bit hit even last time, took the energy even a notch higher in eh second edition weaving magic around the Big Ibah with some old classic reggae favourites such as The Summer Time among others. Their performance was both musically and visually - amazing. Even adolescents who attended the first edition of Taalbelia knew the act and man of the young ‘guns were found standing right upfront to swing along. The grammy nominated Indian American  singer-songwriter Rajakumari was up up next dressed like a diva with fringes from her top glistening the in stage lights as she sang her groovy numbers  tat of course included City Slums, before Su Real played the closing set. 

The next morning saw the audiences taking in their last fill of Rajastani Folk as Tera Tali performed the closing set at Meera Chowk. The set ended wit the famous ghoomar act, that made was a perfect closing to the second edition of this beautiful multi-genre festival called Taalbelia. 

Others highlights included well attended workshops, horse riding, fresco trails and a wonderful pop-up by Ayush Kasliwal that included decor items, well-styled fashion clothes line, jewellery, accessories among others things. 

Taalbelia is organised by Eventcrafter and co-hosted by the Royal family of Mandawa.

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