UK-India Year of Culture Celebration Events 2017

This year celebrates 70 years of close connections between the UK and India since independence in 1947. Discover the array of UK-India Year of Culture celebration events taking place throughout the UK and India.

Elephant Fight, Udaipur, India. UK-India Year of Culture
Elephant Fight, Udaipur, India, ca.1890 ©NLS

UK-India Year of Culture Events

Images of India

UK-India Year of Culture is celebrating the year with visual images of India. A special display at the National Library of Scotland commemorates the 70th anniversary of Indian independence from Britain in 1947.

It examines the visual world of pre-independence India as it has been seen through the eyes of different religious faiths; through the imagination of artists and through camera lenses. Moreover, it shows how the country’s scenery, buildings, inhabitants and customs have been represented over the centuries.

Many Scots were part of the British Empire’s administration in India. We can see this history in the material in the new display, including works produced by Indians brought back by Scots returning from service in India. Some of the early published illustrations were produced by Scots who lived there.

Jan Usher, Curator (Social Sciences), who has produced Images of India said: “This small display can only offer a flavour of the sub-continent as it has been seen through Indian and Scottish eyes, from Gujarat in the west to Kolkata in the east, and from art of the early Mughal Empire to letters and books produced as part of the British Raj.”

Some highlights

  • Akbar-Nama (Book of Akbar)Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor (r. 1556–1605). This is the official chronicle of his reign. It was commissioned by him and written by his court historian and biographer, Abul Fazl. The book is in Persian, the literary language of the Mughals. It includes vivid and detailed descriptions of Akbar’s life and times.
  • Ishqnama-I Gulbadan o Naunihal (The loves of Naunihal and Gulbadan):  Ahmed Ali composed the Deccani Urdu poem around 1785. This is an early 19th-century manuscript copy with illuminated drawings.
  • An 18th-century astrological scroll:  A Sanskrit scroll of astrological computations with diagrams and mythological figures, made for an individual.
  • Watercolours by James Baillie Fraser (1783-1856):  Fraser was a Scot who had gone to India to make money to pay off family debts. Once there, he realised his artistic potential. He produced a series of works that were some of the earliest views of India. He also commissioned and collected works by Indian artists, as well as writing about his travels.

Images of India will be on show at the Library in George IV Bridge, Edinburgh between 6 July and 20 August 2017.

An 18th-century Urdu poem. UK-India Year of Culture
An 18th-century Urdu poem ©NLS

Edinburgh International Book Festival

This year Edinburgh International Book Festival welcomes writers with a deep knowledge of India. Among the writers include Aravind Adiga, Amit Chaudhuri, Meena Kandasamy, Sunil Khilnani, Neel Mukherjee and Akhil Sharma; while speakers who are intimately involved with Pakistan include Nadeem Aslam and Dilip Hiro. Explore the historic transition between the UK – India through a range of UK-India Year of Culture events.

Lotus Temple, India. UK-India Year of Culture
Lotus Temple, India ©MDHarding

Purvai Festival

This year Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides is celebrating South Asian cultural heritage. The Purvai Festival events and activities will take place between August and November.

Purvai Festival 2017 from an lanntair on Vimeo.

Explore India with Free Visa

Explore is an adventure travel tour operator with 36 years of experience, marking the 70th anniversary of independence offering a free visa when travelling as part of one of their 28 different tour groups to India. If booking between 15th August and 4th September*. Simply quote INDIA 17 to qualify and save £85 per person.

Exploring on foot is a fantastic way to get under the skin of this vibrant country. Wander around the Western Ghats – A UNESCO World Heritage Site in India’s far south – on Explore’s 11-day On Foot in Kerala trip. Go in search of elephants at the Periyar National Park; witness daily life along the peaceful backwaters of Kerala on this walking itinerary. The trip starts at £1,315 per person. It includes flights, six nights’ standard hotel accommodation, three nights’ camping and a night on a boat. It also includes the majority of your meals, an Explore Tour Leader and Trekking Crew.

Or make the most of the savings by booking a trip for the whole family. Taj, Tigers and Palaces is a 10-day day trip that offers a fantastic family introduction to Northern India. Marvel at the Taj Mahal at sunrise; search for Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat before exploring the bustling streets of Delhi and venturing to the desert plains of Pushkar. This trip starts from £1,385 per person. It includes flights, nine nights’ accommodation, some meals and a knowledgeable Explore Tour Leader.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. UK-India Year of Culture
Taj Mahal, Agra, India ©MDHarding

It is currently high season in the UK, if visiting Edinburgh or Stornoway please do book accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment.

I hope you enjoy discovering the culture of incredible India and much more this year. Happy Travels:) x

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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2 Responses

  1. Edinburgh International Film Festival | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] were many films to choose from but this one jumped out with its affiliation with incredible India. Having visited many times but never to Pushkar, I was intrigued to watch it. Pushkar Myths ( […]

  2. Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] different.  This year there is a new range of topics and program themes including the 70th anniversary Uk – India, Outriders, This Women Can and […]


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