Started in the year 2003 under the aegis of the Patiala Heritage Society, the Patiala Heritage Festival is an annual feature ornamenting the fair face of the city of Patiala. Held in the gentle climes of the month of February, every year, the Patiala Heritage Festival is an offering sublime not just for the music and art lovers of Patiala but also for those of the entire state of Punjab and region put together. Conceived and planned as a cultural event showcasing the various aspects of art, music and sporting culture of the erstwhile Royal state of Patiala with a view to injecting a fresh lease of life into them, the
Festival is literally an art and cultural extravaganza. The highlights of the Festival have to be seen, heard and savored in order to be believed. These include the Crafts Mela (the Crafts Fair) held at the Sheesh Mahal Art Gallery premises in which 150 crafts persons from different parts of India display their wares for fifteen days. These wares cover a wide variety that is truly mind-blowing, ranging from furniture, pottery, textiles to jewellery, domestic linen, woollens and innumerable handicraft items of all kinds and shapes. Along with this, the Mela offers large dollops of folk dances, rural entertainment and food stalls etc.
Another remarkable aspect of this ten-day treat is the whole dazzling array of Indian Classical music (both Vocal and Instrumental) and dance concerts organized and held in the courtyard of the majestic Darbar Hall in the Qila Mubarak Complex in the heart of the old city. These concerts in which musicians and dancers of international stature and acclaim regale the audiences with the best of their respective gharanas (singing styles), traditions and genres are nothing short of ethereal presentations transporting the listeners to some higher and subtler worlds. Indeed, these concerts can easily be referred to as the crowning glory of the Patiala Heritage Festival.
Besides the Mela and the sumptuous concerts, the Festival provides an enviable platform for events as varied as Golf tournaments, Cricket and Polo matches, Equestrian events, Fashion shows, Painting exhibitions, plays, operas, light music evenings and rural sports. Once again, the Patiala Heritage Festival, like the city of Patiala, has something for people of all tastes and predilections. For those who have a taste and ear for music and for art and sports, the Festival is nothing short of an elaborate and exotic feast with some of the choicest delicacies. Little wonder, for the connoisseurs of art and culture and general public alike, the ten-day Festival is the high point of the cultural life of Patiala— a grand occasion worth waiting for.
In fact, the Patiala Heritage Festival has already crossed its infancy and is well into its fourth year. Among all the Heritage Festivals organized across Punjab, the Patiala Heritage Festival can easily be rated as the most spectacular and the most efficiently arranged cultural event. Undoubtedly, this Festival is headed for greater display of art and culture and towards more dizzying heights in the days to come.