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The Rajasthan International Folk Festival, more affectionately known as RIFF, descends on Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur for four nights every October. Usually closed to visitors after dark, seeing the Fort at night is a spectacle in itself. The Fort commands the surrounding desert landscape and sits atop a craggy outcrop overlooking the painted blue roofs of the city, opulent palaces, and the sands of the Thar desert - what could be a better setting?
Hosted by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, RIFF begins with a grand ceremonial procession, followed by three days of inspirational music-making staged against the breathtaking backdrop of the Fort. There is an eclectic mix of singers, dancers, instrumentalists, storytellers and artisans with performances by master musicians from local Rajasthan communities. The sensational headline acts are showcased each night on the Main Stage, and cutting-edge global dance grooves keep the party going late into the night at Club Mehran.
This time is traditionally known as Sharad Poornima, a time of festivities marked by the brightest full moon, symbolising the end of the monsoon, the city comes alive with music and dance. Free performances take place every night in large public spaces across the city as part of the Marwar Festival, which will be complemented by the events taking place inside the Fort.
Getting up at 5am might not sound like much of a highlight, but that's when you can appreciate dawn devotionals, muslim calls to prayer and early morning musical recitals.
Amelia, Original Traveller