Navrattan – A Quest for the Lost Gems is a performance for families, schools, children and adults. Created by Nutkhut’s co Artistic Director Simmy Gupta and based on the children’s stories of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1542 – 1605) and his favourite advisor, Birbal (1528 – 1583).

Birbal was said to be the most wise, witty and intelligent of Akbar’s nine closest and best advisors known as Akbar’s Nine Jewels or Akbar’s Navrattan – the name also given to a piece of jewellery representing the universe. Akbar was the Mughal Emperor of India from 1556 – 1605, reigning at the same time as Queen Elizabeth. His was a peaceful reign as Akbar was a great supporter of the arts and tolerant of all religions and beliefs. 

Navrattan participants embark on an epic quest to help Birbal solve clues and so find and collect the nine missing gems from Emperor Akbar’s favourite nine-jewelled pendant, the Navrattan. The Navrattan is linked to emotions associated with the Navgraha – the nine planets.

Navrattan will use interactive performance elements, including shadow puppetry and traditional Kathak dance, along the path of the trail to entertain family audiences. Each participant will leave with a keep-sake of their adventure with Akbar and Birbal. 

Inspired by Akbar’s love for maths, geometry, science and astronomy, the workshops will intertwine these educational elements in a fantastical but informative way that will be sure to delight young participants. 

Let Navrattan take you into the mysterious world of the Mughal Empire! 

"...the show is rooted in traditional stories, arts and crafts but has a refreshingly new and contemporary feel to it, from the performers to the beautifully made props. This show was a highlight of our festival!"

- Gus Corcoran, Events Manager, Ealing Council

Navrattan

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