Kashmiri Rhapsody wins hearts at World Culture Festival

Over 1 million gather for a global celebration of cultures, faiths, making a noise for peace, in a polarized world
October 2, 2023, Bengaluru – The three-day World Culture Festival 2023 concluded on a
high note, with a very special performance from Kashmir winning the admiration of over 1
million attendees present at the World Culture Festival.
Titled ‘Kashmiri rhapsody’ the performance featured traditional folk dance called Rauf,
recognized for its cheerfulness and exuberance, taking the audience on an enticing journey
of nature, snow-clad mountains and flower valleys of Kashmir.
The third day at WCF was peppered with vibrant performances from South Asia, Latin
America and Caribbean islands, also as several interfaith leaders took to the stage to pray,
in their unique ways, for global peace, making a call for rising above hate and bigotry.
WCF in numbers

  • 180- number of participating countries
  • 1 million- number of attendees for WCF at the National Mall in Washington DC
  • 51- total number of cultural performances from across the globe
  • 47-number of dignitaries who spoke at the event
  • 1000-yoga enthusiasts who gathered for yoga, breath and meditation session with Gurudev
    at Lincoln Memorial
  • 10,000- number of Garba dancers who performed Garba for Unity
  • 17,000- number of artists who performed at WCF 2023
    Over the last three days, over a million people from 180 countries descended at the iconic
    National Mall in Washington DC in a historic gathering of humanity with an aim to send out a
    single message of belongingness and brotherhood; to celebrate human diversity through
    dance, music, meditation and culture.
    The event was replete with shared moments of human connection, solidarity and upliftment
    of human spirit. Among the festival’s most memorable moments were a poignant minute of
    prayer for the people of Ukraine, led by Gurudev, after a heart-felt recital from Ukrainian
    contingent. Yet another one was a thousand people enjoying a yoga flow and yogic wisdom
    at the Lincoln Memorial with Gurudev. People swayed; waved flags as Skip Marley (Bob
    Marley’s celebrated grandson) performed the iconic One Love; a lively performance from
    Go-go band had everyone, from the dignitaries to the festival goers grooving to the lively
    beats in joy and celebration. In another historic moment, heartfelt prayers from diverse faith
    leaders for peace in the world touched a chord with everyone present.
    H. E Imam Talib Shareef, Muslim faith leader shared a beautiful message at the WCF stage,
    “We give all praise and thanks to you for blessing us with a wonderful, extraordinary, festive
    weekend of the various world cultural expressions of human life all cultivating and promoting
    unity, compassion, love, global peace, and global stability. As the world continues to grow
    and be challenged, bless our leaders to be mindful and reflective of the oneness of our
    humanity and our common origin…One common life sent out into small circles until filling the

spaces, connecting us all in one essence, one land, the earth, one water, one air, one fire,
one human family.”
Juan Carlos-Teres, the MP of Colombia, drew a roaring applause from the attendees when
he shared, “Gurudev, there is one country in the world that has to be in total gratitude with
you – mine. Because you decided to come to Bogota, meet with our president, and then go
to Havana. You convinced the rebels of the FARC to walk the path of nonviolence.”

This event also brought together 17,000 artists; more than 60 performances representing
diverse cultures and traditions from across the world; and global leaders from the world of
business, politics and religion who shared their vision for a more co-operative and
interdependent global community.
“There is goodness inherent in us, and that needs to come up, and that comes when we
realize we are one world family,” said global humanitarian and spiritual master, Gurudev Sri
Sri Ravi Shankar during his address.”
A glimpse of India’s cultural canvas, the festival featured ‘Panchabhootam’ represented
through 5 Indian classical dance forms- Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, and
Mohiniattam, and symphony of 250 instrumentalists playing Sitar, Veena, Tabla, Mridangam,
flute, Ghatam and Violin; a spirited 10,000-strong Garba performance, high-energy Bhangra
with 200 artists, Kashmiri folk dance, and 200 Chenda drummers. Global performances
included mesmerizing dances from Africa, China, Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle
East, the Caribbean Islands, Argentina, Nepal, the Slavic countries, and Mongolia. “This is
overwhelming and so beautiful. We grew with this experience,” shared Beena Mohan,
choreographer of the Mohiniyattam performance.
“Gurudev, you have created a microcosm of the global family,” said Shri Ramnath Kovind,
Former President of India, talking about the diverse representation of geographies and
people at the WCF.
Among the notable attendees were former President of India Sri Ramnath Kovind, Dr. S.
Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General
of the United Nations, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, former speaker of Lok Sabha, Hon. Dr. Vivek
Murthy, US Surgeon General; D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Mr. Hakubun Shimomura, MP,
Japan, Eric Solheim, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP,
and other statesmen(extended list of dignitaries is given in the link above.)
Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India, asserted, “This gathering represents a
powerful affirmation that humanity is above all divisions. We must work together to build a
world where peace and harmony prevail.”

Interfaith leaders from diverse backgrounds came together at the festival to share a common
message of unity, compassion, and collective responsibility for global peace efforts. Faith
leaders included Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa, Ambassador of Sikh Dharma- USA &
Chief Religious and Spiritual Authority of Sikh Religion- Western Hemisphere, Rabbi Sharon

Anisfeld, President of Hebrew College, and Ms. Sousan Abadian, Zoroastrian Faith Leader,
among others


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