Celebrate the first long weekend of the year (the one around Republic Day) with a national park holiday at the Ranthambore Festival in Rajasthan. The three-day festival puts the spotlight on the rich heritage of the region: both natural and man-made, with wildlife film screenings, folk music performances, and panel discussions with India’s leading conservationists. The festival also promises yoga workshops, a food festival and a pop-up art & crafts souk, though no details of these events have been announced yet.
Organised by local non-profit Puqaar, the Ranthambore Festival will be held from Fri January 27 to Sun January 29 at the sprawling Nahargarh hotel. Watch short films and full-length documentaries by Sandesh Kadur, a Nat Geo Explorer, wildlife filmmaker Saravanakumar, and conservationist and Nat Geo Traveller India contributor, Mike Pandey. Learn about Rajasthani instruments from performances by local musicians and attend music appreciation workshops (registration opens on the website from Sat December 17). There are also gigs by world music duo Maati Baani, Sufi singer Zila Khan, and UK-based concert pianist Karl Lutchmayer. Famed Indian classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai will also perform.
Speakers are being finalised but topics for panel discussions range from habitat conservation to the survival of folk music in urban landscapes. The tentative list, being curated by conservation biologist Dharmendra Khandal of Tiger Watch, includes naturalist Valmik Thapar (read an excerpt from his book here) and bear specialist Kartick Satyanarayan of Wildlife SOS.
For a guide and lessons in tiger-spotting in Ranthambore National Park, go here.
Where Nahargarh hotel, Ranthambore
When Fri January 27 to Sun January 29
Entry Free, for panel discussions, film screenings, workshops, and performances by local musicians. Other music and dance shows are ticketed; day pass ₹2,000, season pass ₹3,000. Passes that include accommodation at nearby hotels and safaris will be available; details to be announced.
Getting There Nahargarh is 166 km/3.5 hr from Jaipur, which has the closest airport and is well connected to major cities. Taxis and air-conditioned buses ply between Jaipur and Ranthambore. Sawai Madhopur has a railway station that is 7.4 km/20 min from the hotel.