Jodhpur’s handsome Mehrangarh Fort comes to life with soulful music at the annual Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF). The five-day music fest takes place at various venues within the sandstone fortress: in the gardens, by the shimmering water tanks, on stages with sweeping views of the blue city. This year’s edition takes place between October 13 and 17, 2016 and will be attended by over 250 Rajasthani musicians, and some of the world’s finest folk artists.
The decade-old festival—championed by the Jodhpur’s erstwhile Maharaja Gaj Singh II and The Rolling Stones’s frontman Mick Jagger—puts the spotlight on traditional and modern Indian folk music. The line-up includes performances by sarangi player Lakha Khan Manganiyar, Scottish saxophonist Brian Molley and his jazz quartet, and Greek lyra players Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma. Performances start at dawn, as the sun’s rays light up the fort and last well into the night, when its walls gleam in the moonlight.
The music is rousing, but the festival is also a great time to explore the breathtaking Mehrangarh Fort. Steeped in myth and history, the fortification was built in the 15th century, and has one of the country’s finest museums. Examine its collection of textiles, armaments, and Mughal miniature paintings, for an intimate look at the lives of Rajasthan’s infamous royals.
Fabiola Monteiro was formerly a member of National Geographic Traveller India's digital team. Since then, her words have featured in The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Roads & Kingdoms, The Goya Journal, and Condé Nast Traveller India. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro and is on Instagram @fabiolamonteiro.