Thursday, 28 January 2016

Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman - Nupur steps into its third decade

For ankle bells which have sounded for over two decades, Goa’s annual Nupur festival spread over three days, marking its 21st consecutive celebration this year, had a modest audience gathering each evening. Carrying a certain aura pervading its performance site, in the precincts of Shree Mahalsa temple at Mardol in Goa, this festival mounted by Kala Academy Goa in association with the West Zone Cultural Centre, was conceived as a means of initiating, what popular perception sees as, a very western oriented people of Goa into the classical dance heritage of India. The event is now perhaps in need of a venue like the Kala Academy’s own aesthetic premises by the sea, frequented by a cosmopolitan clientele. Also the travails of having to travel twenty odd kilometers from Panjam to Mardol for a festival which starting at about 7 o clock ends at nearly 11pm each evening, belies the purpose of the endeavour to reach out to the larger population. The temple grounds with the lit Dnyandeep in the rear bounded on by the temple (very distinctive architecture unlike any other region in India, sporting exquisite chandeliers hanging from the ceiling in the main entrance hall leading to the garbagriha) on one side and living premises for priests and visitors on the other, arguably makes for an attractive setting, the sound of  puja bells and the drums heralding the evening haarti, suiting the ambiance of ‘temple dances.’

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