RARE brings to you synergies in the life and art of Meera and Muzaffar Ali and their brand under “House of Kotwara” which have great potential for the world travelers by giving them insights into myriad subjects connected with art, culture, cuisine, textile, design, history and music.
Established in 1007 A.D., Kotwara is the oldest living civilization in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, falling in the Terai geographical region, bordering the Himalayan foothills.
KOTWARA was crafted by filmmaker and painter, Muzaffar Ali – the Raja of Kotwara, and his architect wife Meera Ali, as an international couture brand in 1990 to revive the traditional craft of the region of Awadh. Through sensitively understanding its ethos, upgrading its design content and applying modern day relevance in its application, KOTWARA has become a symbol of elegance, refinement and empowerment, with some of the finest craftspeople working for generations at Anhalwara Palace, Kotwara and Kotwara House, Qaiserbagh Palace Complex, Lucknow.
Poetry, music and dance have always been an extension of Awadh's composite culture and reflect the essence of Sufi thought. This paradigm is vital and intrinsic to all art forms emanating out of Kotwara and has resulted in the creation of Muzaffar Ali's Jahan-e-Khusrau, the annual world Sufi Music Festival.
An ode to love, Jahan-e-Khusrau, literally “World of Khusrau”, is now in its 12th year. This musical extravaganza dedicated to the integrating spirit and creative genius of the 14th century Sufi mystic poet Hazrat Amir Khusrau is set in historical and magical locations in Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow and London. The event brings together singers, musicians and dancers from across the globe celebrating the poetry of Khusrau, Rumi and other such poet saints.
The Wajid Ali Shah festival celebrated this December is slated to be an annul event and was created to bring Lucknow back into the tourism circuit by highlighting its decorous culture, delectable cuisine and beguiling history that is the muse for many filmmakers, authors, poets and play writes.
In their latest creative foray, ‘Maashra’, which means a continuity of culture and tradition, Meera and Muzaffar Ali have recreated the traditional cuisine of their land, Awadh, as a superlative dining experience under a tented ambience. Maashra is a part of Meera and Muzaffar's farm and home in the fringes of Delhi, off the Faridabad-Gurgaon highway. A meal at Maashra not only introduces one to the delectable cuisine of Awadh, it is also to connect you with the beautiful tradition of banqueting and culture, art and history of the region.
The cuisine at Maashra uses recipes evolved in the royal kitchens of Kotwara, created by blending traditional Awadhi recipes with those of Kotwara, using delicate and refined condiments. The focus is on delicacies like Kababs, Qormas, Pasandas and Pulaos, with exotic organically grown seasonal additions. The exotic fare and exceptional service assures you a gastronomic experience that discerning palates will forever savour.
The experience is available only on prior booking and for small composite groups that has the time and flair to enjoy their meal. Hence dinner at Maashra is a pre-plated, multi-course meal served at your table with gentle grace, wines and beer are on request and the ambience is subtle and encourages easy conversation and bonhomie. However for groups it would be a buffet spread and will be served at 3-4 counters depending upon the number of people who will attend your event. Seating and any entertainment like music or dance can be organized on prior request.
One of the primary missions of Kotwara Studio is to empower the villages around Kotwara. Zardozi and Chikankari embroidery have always been the forte of Kotwara Studios, with some of the finest craftspeople working for generations at Anhalwara Palace, Kotwara. Dhurrie weaving and making of soft home shoes have enhanced the Kotwara appeal and also added to the vision of providing employment at the artists doorstep.
“Dwar pe Rozi”, for hundreds of craft workers in the region. This would be particularly fascinating for travellers interested in textiles and design and an interactive session can be organized at the House of Kotwara Studios in Delhi, Lucknow as well as Kotwara.
With Meera & Muzaffar Ali's artistic sensibilities steeped in tradition and a fine sense of detail, Kotwara has become one of the most stylish Indian labels with a global appeal. The understated elegance and timeless classic appeal of their creations in the traditional textiles of Kotwara and Lucknow has mesmerized audiences in India and across the world. Their creations weave the magic of ancient ‘karigari’ into ensembles which are classic and stylish simultaneously. Their store in Delhi at the Emporio is a great stop especially after a textile tour of their studios.
Cinema with the highest human and aesthetic purpose has been the thrust of Muzaffar Ali's films, Anjuman, Gaman and Umrao Jaan where both Kotwara and Lucknow have been an inspiration and location for Muzaffar' s films. An archive of his films, costumes and film paraphernalia is proposed and in the making currently at the Kotwara Residence in Lucknow.
Kotwara Terai Camp, Awadh, introduced by The Ultimate Travelling Camp is one of the scheduled sites and is spread across the gardens of the Anhalwara Palace in Kotwara, reminiscent of the baroque architecture of Awadh from the late 19th century. Individually designed tents, with en-suite bathrooms, private decks, crisp linen and the services of your very own valet.
The camp creates a once in a lifetime opportunity of enjoying the world of opulence and luxury with excursions to the adjoining national parks. The experiences in Kotwara itself are rich and varied from bicycle rides , nature walks, village safaris, picnics in nearby forests, viewing films made by Muzaffar Ali and a permanent display of couture to participation in craft and education programs for the rural children through the Kotwara school built in a 14 acre mango grove outside the palace grounds.
Qaiser Bagh Walk and Kotwara House, Lucknow :
Qaiser Bagh is Lucknow’s most distinguished residences with a panorama of visual history through its buildings. A curated walk through the lanes of Qaiser Bagh to end with tea at Kotwara House is to walk through a few hundred years of Lucknow’s history and taste its world renowned culture of genteel hospitality and finesse.
Kotwara House also offers 4 Suites for overnight stay and a venue for group dinners with performances for music and dance.