Yesterday evening, i found the perfect way to splash away the monsoon greys at the 3rd edition of ‘Colours of North East’ – a festival to celebrate the beautiful diversity of the region at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, which played the perfect host, as the resplendent culture of North East captivated us with a medley of music, dance, fashion, food, handicrafts and much more.
Showcasing a beautiful presentation of the diverse North Eastern culture, it celebrated the soulful sounds of the region, featuring Mangka – an artiste from Laihui, Imphal and Rida & The Musicals from Shillong, Meghalaya.
A dance performance by Madhurima Choudhury and team, who presented a medley dance of the tribes of North East and a performance by well-known violinist Sunita Bhuyan enthralled the audiences.
Besides Sunita Khound and Ranjit Gogoi who performed the enchanting fusion of Scottish-Bihu music with the dhol and violin, my other favorites were the Mizo Mumbai Association.
The finale was a breathtaking presentation of the Cheraw dance that left everyone spellbound. Performed in Mizoram, Cheraw is characterized by the use of bamboo staves which are kept in cross and horizontal forms on the ground.
The evening also saw a colorful fashion presentation by the top designers of the region – Asa Kazingmei (famous for Salman Khan’s dress in Sultan), Nabam Aka and Arita Kashyap.
Delectable North Eastern cuisine was the highlight of the evening, specially prepared by Chef Karen Yepthomi of Dzukou Tribal Kitchen and the chefs of IORA Resort, Assam.
An exhibition displaying North Eastern handloom and handicrafts products was also showcased.
The North East region, which is abundant with natural beauty has great scope for tourism and a policy for promoting film shoots in the North East which was discussed as well.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mr. Mukul Sangma, Chief Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and top officials of Sikkim, Manipur were also present to attend the gala event.
The evening also witnessed celebrities like director Ayan Mukherjee, singer Zubin Garg, anchor Siddharth Kak, singer Joi Barua, national award winning sound artist Mr. Debajit Changmai and Bollywood sound designer Amrit Pritom from the film industry and some of the top industrialists of Mumbai, who were present to support the initiative.
To round off the evening, exquisite cocktails inspired by the North East, curated by Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Varun Sudhakar were on offer.
The Seven Sisters (which i tried) – an earthy concoction of ginger & honey syrup combined with Johnnie Walker Black Label and Assam tea
The Tea Collins – peppermint tea poured over smashed Mint of the famed northeastern greenery where Citrus and Tanqueray No.10 combine
Sisters Blush, a fragrant sense of the scents of North East India, with blushing raspberry and herbaceous basil rolled together with Cîroc grape vodka; and Green Outfield, soothing elderflower crushed with the crisp flavors of fresh, cool, cucumber and swizzled with Cîroc and sparkling water.
The third edition of the fest was bigger and better than ever with support from various North Eastern States and Taj Group of Hotels. The initiative was driven by the reputed socio-cultural trust of North East, Trend MMS as a part of the North East Festival initiative and IndusInd Bank was the presenting sponsor of the event.
As i left enchanted, enthralled and in awe of this mesmerizing region of unexplored India – i renewed my commitment to visit the North East before the end of this year!
Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, I started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'. An epic life-changing trip to South America an year later gave birth to this blog, Exotic Gringo.