Sensational India! is an annual celebration of Indian visual and performing arts at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, held each spring. The festival showcases India’s rich heritage of art, culture and history through multifaceted programs and exhibitions such as Indian art exhibits, dance, music, lectures, films, family events, social events and related activities. Each year, the Peabody Essex Museum transforms into mini India. The aroma of Indian cuisine, the color and vitality of Indian classical and folk dance and the musical sounds of the veena and tabla enliven the atmosphere at the Sensational India! festival.
Since its inception, the Desai Foundation has partnered with the Peabody Essex Museum to host this exciting and unique event that has attracted over 14,000 people over its lifetime, with the potential to reach all of Eastern Massachusetts. Among the artists featured are Karthik Seshadri, Lakha Khan, MF Hussain, Gieve Patel, Ravinder Reddy and Jogen Choudhury. The festival includes a variety of lectures from bestselling authors such as Madhur Jaffrey, Bharati Mukherjee, Diana L. Eck, Shashi Tharoor and Anand Giridharadas. The following dance groups from India and parts of the United States have also performed: Nrityagram Dance Company, Natya Dance Theater, Parul Shah Dance Company, Dakshina Dance Company and the Sa Dance Company. In 2011 the Sensational India! programming introduced the Bollywood dance party encouraging people to celebrate and enjoy the latest Indian Dance Fusion, Bollywood, Bhangra and Western remixed music with well-known DJs such as DJ Rekha, DJ Yogz and DJ D X-treme.