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Dancing on the foothills of Dhauli


The Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav brings martial arts and classical dance varieties on the identical platform

The Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav brings martial arts and classical dance varieties on the identical platform

The pristine white Peace Pagoda (Shanthi Stupa), atop the historic Dhauli hills, close to Bhubaneswar, serves as a befitting backdrop for the 18th Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav. Launched in 2003 as two separate festivals, they had been merged in 2013 to be carried out as a three-day occasion to rejoice peace and concord by music and dance.

The open-air stage at Shanti Vihar, on the foothills of Dhauli, is surrounded by sprawling paddy fields and luxurious inexperienced bushes alongside the banks of river Daya. The in any other case calm place, comes alive through the competition, with vacationers from throughout the globe and artwork lovers from close by villages and cities thronging the venue.

Organised collectively by Odisha Tourism Improvement Company and Orissa Dance Academy, the competition has been carrying ahead founder and legendary Odissi guru Gangadhar Pradhan’s imaginative and prescient of bringing collectively heritage and artwork. The 36-year-old Konark Dance and Music Pageant can also be his brainchild. Guru Gangadhar was eager to take dance and music again to the place they belonged — historical monuments.

From the Dhauli-Kalinga Pageant, 2022
| Picture Credit score: Odisha Tourism

Son of a poor farmer, on the age of 5, he was provided to a village temple to function a Gotipua dancer for 10 years. His ardour and laborious work made him one of the sought-after gurus. On the age of 25, he began the Orissa Dance Academy in Bhubaneshwar. 5 years later, he established the Konark Natya Mandap, close to the Solar Temple, the place, in 1986, he started internet hosting the annual Konark Dance and Music Pageant. It prompted the Odisha authorities to launch its personal Konark dance competition three years later.

From the Dhauli-Kalinga Festival, 2022

From the Dhauli-Kalinga Pageant, 2022
| Picture Credit score: Odisha Tourism

Why Dhauli?

After establishing the Orissa Dance Academy as one of many world’s largest Odissi dance establishments, and Konark Natya Mandap as a novel establishment that trains artistes in Gotipua, Odissi and a number of other indigenous and marginalised artwork varieties in gurukul system, he turned his consideration in the direction of Dhauli.

It’s presumed that the Kalinga conflict was fought right here. Emperor Ashoka, who received the conflict, embraced Buddhism after witnessing dying and destruction. Guru Gangadhar was eager to arrange a gurukul and launch a competition at this very website to advertise Odisha’s wealthy artwork traditions. He invested all his earnings and even borrowed some cash to accumulate land on the foothills of Dhauli to arrange Shanti Vihar, the place, as soon as upon a time, peace received over conflict.

Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.

Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.
| Picture Credit score: The Hindu Archives

Together with the Indian classical dance traditions, Gangadhar determined to venture Odisha’s vibrant, however marginalised, artwork varieties corresponding to Gotipua, Mayurbhanj Chhau, Sambalpuri dance, Danda Nata, Prahallad Natak, Mogul Tamasha, Ghoda Nacha, Dhuduki Nacha, puppetry, Odia jatra, Geetinatya, Pala, Daskathia, and Sankeertan. Because of this, the competition emerged as a deal with for each connoisseurs and customary folks.

Whereas guru Gangadhar was internet hosting his Dhauli competition, the Kalinga Nationwide Martial Dance Pageant, conceptualised by Bhubaneswar-based Italian Odissi and Chhau exponent Ileana Citaristi, was being staged atop the hill on the Peace Pagoda. In 2013, Division of Tourism, Odisha, merged the 2 common occasions and renamed it as Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav.

Reaching new heights

lleana Citaristi

lleana Citaristi
| Picture Credit score: Siva Saravanan

After the premature demise of Guru Gangadhar in 2010, and the merger of the 2 festivals three years later, his prime disciple and Odissi exponent Aruna Mohanty took over because the competition director. As curators, Aruna and Ileana have taken the competition to newer heights with the inclusion of latest and experimental artwork varieties. Through the years, aside from a number of Indian martial artwork varieties corresponding to Kalaripayattu, Thang Ta, Paika Akhada, and Malkhamb, these of Japan and South East Asia have additionally been featured. Revolutionary productions like ‘Bibiddha Barna’ (seven folks artwork types of Odisha), and ‘Charishnu’ (seven Indian classical dance types), and instrumental ensembles have widened the competition’s repertoire.

Whereas Guru Gangadhar concerned folks from close by villages within the competition, Aruna has been bringing in faculty college students to observe the performances and perceive the importance of artwork and heritage. The Division of Tourism provides particular bundle excursions to extend footfalls through the competition.

Aruna Mohanty

Aruna Mohanty
| Picture Credit score: Biswaranjan Raut

Visionary Gangadhar has impressed the federal government and the folks of the state to give you extra such festivals at historical temples and monuments, together with Konark dance competition, Mukteswar dance competition, Rajarani music competition, Kharavela competition at Khandagiri Jain caves, and Chausathi Yogini competition at Hirapur shrine. Odisha tops the desk in India on the subject of festivals that remember tradition and heritage.

“Tomorrow, when I’m gone, there shall be many extra Gangadhars to advertise and protect Odisha’s arts throughout the seven seas. I’ll then shed tears of pleasure from above, remaining indebted to Lord Jagannath for giving me the braveness to dream,” the legendary artiste had as soon as mentioned.

The Bhubaneshwar-based author is an unbiased journalist.



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