IN1999 I visited the Edinburgh Festival for the first time and watched shows morning, noon and night, overwhelmed by the sheer burst of creativity and diversity that was on display. I returned the next year with my wife Puneeta and lived in a B&B on Dalkeith Road, ate one meal a day, squabbled over how many biscuits should be consumed and fought when Puneeta insisted on ordering a whole hot potato for herself (which she couldn’t finish) for £1.50. We sneaked into the Edinburgh Tattoo, courtesy of a friend, and watched it in pouring rain! We were hooked and decided this was artistic heaven, if we had to die hungry … well why not, especially after seeing a brilliant play at the Assembly Rooms or Traverse Theatre.

Now my Delhi-based company Teamwork Arts produces work at festivals across the world which marry the built heritage with culture inspired by the Fringe and its varied choice of location. Watching a show at St Stephens, or Augustine’s in Edinburgh, walking into the ballroom at the Assembly Rooms or gazing up at the rafters in the Hub at International Festival events were unique experiences. As an arts producer & presenter, to me this is the Mecca of all festivals and an incredible place to network, discover the undiscovered, watch emerging talent evolve into shining stars and have a ringside view of what will become uber-cool in the next season. It was here that I had a naked torso flop on me in a dance production, entered a lift to see an extraordinary dance piece, and went to a public toilet to see some riveting theatre.

Building relationships and reaching out to other festival producers and directors saw us expand our work through to New Zealand and Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. We all tend to converge for a few days here and exchange gossip, book shows, collaborate and commission work and learn best practice, make great friends, discover new restaurants, drink espresso martinis and savour the many whiskies and great wines.

We have had our fair share of horror stories over the years. A set lost in transit as we battled to open our production Yeh hain Mumbai Meri Naam at the Traverse Theatre. A liquid bomb scare in Heathrow whereby 25 of our 29 cases were "misplaced", visas denied for our dancers at the Tattoo. New romances, betrayals, deaths and more.

And yet, year on year, we are pulled to the festival like the proverbial moth to the flame. Edinburgh is proof that the arts is the best means we have of bringing people together from different nations, across all ages. It provides a window into the minds of other cultures, their philosophies, histories, economic activities and sensitivities.

2017 is a year of great significance for the arts world – 70 years of the Edinburgh festivals and 70 years since the world’s largest democracy, India, attained independence from the British Crown.

To commemorate the second of these anniversaries, which falls on August 15, an ambitious cultural exchange programme is being hosted in both countries to celebrate diversity, youth and innovation throughout 2017. IndiaUK2017 will showcase theatre, music, dance, exhibitions, science and literature across a slew of venues here in the UK, including the British Library, Science Museum, Shakespeare Globe, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Glasgow’s Tramway, and in Edinburgh the Festival Theatre, Tattoo, Dance Base, C Venues and Assembly Rooms.

Being the most exciting and vibrant date in the UK’s annual cultural calendar, Edinburgh in August needed to be one of our highlights. As a nation of scale it seems appropriate to be bringing something suitably large and our Indian Naval Band of 60 musicians performing with over 90 dancers from India and across the world, choreographed by Teamwork’s Gilles Chuyen, is proving a popular part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Royal Military Tattoo. The performance is a tribute to India using iconic music, spectacular costumes, and an energy-packed performance appreciated by the 8000-strong crowd every evening.

Our season of soloists explores complex ancient traditions, from martial arts origins and techniques to retelling our epic stories in the most compelling and contemporary way. The relationship of a martial arts student to his guru blends tradition and ethos with theatre through movement. In The Offering at C Royale, Aditya Roy brings the two artforms together in a spell binding story rooted in our traditions. Just along George Street at Assembly Rooms one of our finest actors, famous in India across stage, TV and film,brings her incredible technique and magnetism to a play inspired by Ganesh, the elephant headed god. Yuki Eliias has won a slew of awards for her performances and we are thrilled to have her here in Edinburgh with us. Creating nine characters across the hour she weaves a web of intrigue and vividly depicts a tale of adventure through the eyes of a spider, a hyena, the first lady and the kidnapped boy with an elephant head, in a funny story of angst and self discovery, exploring the balance between God, man and nature.

Theatre and story-telling around myths, gods and legends in India is an important part of our culture, rooted thousands of years ago and as captivating as ever.

Dance of course, as Festival audiences have experienced in the past, is in an important part of our culture, woven into many occasions from the everyday to the celebratory.

Shilpika Bordoloi is one of our finest dancers, She grew up in Jorhat in Assam, learning Indian classical dance forms from the age of 3, and has now evolved her own dance disciplines through which she tells the tale of Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island which has developed a people and culture of its own. A mix of movement, dance, theatre and music with instruments of the region, Majuli paints a rich and wonderful portrait of this little known culture.

We can but bring a small sample of a huge nation’s rich, diverse and ever evolving arts scene in India, but we hope that you will explore our stories and traditions and discover something that transports you into the heart and soul of a faraway country.

Sanjoy K Roy is director of Teamwork Arts, which has taken India to the world and brought the world to India for over 25 years.