CNN’s Destination India explores the country’s distinctive sights and sounds

India is a land of contrasts: a kaleidoscope of cultures and traditions that are rich and steeped in history – from architectural marvels to time-honoured crafts and religious celebrations. This month, CNN’s Destination India delves into the distinctive sights and sounds of the South Asian nation.

Highlights of the 30-minute programme include:

The art of puppetry in Rajasthan

No village fair or festival in Rajasthan would be complete without Kathputli: an ancient art of puppetry and one of the oldest forms of entertainment in native Rajasthan. Each puppet is controlled by strings and, in true Rajasthan style, adorned in vibrant costumes. CNN travels to Jaisalmer to meet a local family of puppet makers – craftsmen who have inherited their skill from their ancestors. Learn how each doll is designed and crafted; and look at how the wooden dolls come to life in a traditional puppet show.

Varanasi textiles

India’s hand-made textiles have a long and rich history. Sumptuous and ornate fabrics were popular in the courts of kings and rulers, and for centuries religious worship has found expression through sacred clothes. The gayasar brocades, for example, are a part of many Buddhist rituals and the city of Varanasi is known for producing some of the finest and most intricate fabrics. Destination India visits one of the city’s silk-weaving workshops to explore this complex craft.

Holi celebrations

CNN travels to Varanasi, the sacred Hindu city on the banks of the Ganges, to join in the celebrations of one of India’s most colourful festivals, Holi. Revellers across the country celebrate the arrival of spring by throwing coloured powder – or gulal – at each other. It’s a festival steeped in tradition and religious symbolism, and Destination India experiences it all through the eyes of locals.

Chandigarh: India’s modernist city

Built to replace the Punjabi capital of Lahore after the 1947 partition, Chandigarh was conceived by Le Corbusier – the Swiss-born master of modern architecture. The crowded streets and chaos typical of many Indian cities are replaced by an orderly grid system and broad boulevards. CNN gains exclusive access to the Capitol Complex, which in 2016 was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO, and meets the team of architects and engineers who have been tasked with renovating the complex.

Delhi’s music scene

Think of India, think of Bollywood. Yet, over the past few years the country has seen the emergence of an independent music scene. As more artistes are keen to shake up India’s music industry, in the capital New Delhi, neighbourhoods like Hauz Khas are providing a platform for many new genres –  transforming the city’s music landscape. CNN delves into Delhi’s music scene and nightlife with local rapper Prabh Deep, who has taken the Indian hip-hop scene by storm.

Watch the promo here:
Destination India microsite:

The 30-minute special Destination India airs at the following times:

Indian Standard Time:

Saturday, 24 March at 6.30PM and 9PM
Sunday, 25 March at 1AM and 6AM
Monday, 26 March at 9AM
Tuesday, 27 March at 3PM
Wednesday, 28 March at 9AM and 2PM
Thursday, 5 April at 2PM

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