I say glimpses cause of 2 reasons, one being that the event is exhaustive in nature, explores varied mediums and is set across cultures and rituals unified only by its theme that of the epic Mahabharata. One visit is not enough since every day has something new to offer in terms of performances, ritual demonstrations and theatrical and literary programs.
The 2nd reason, though frivolous, being that the battery of my camera died down on me at the wrong time :(
I got fascinated by the theme and though i do not profess to know it as good as the Ramayana, one has grown up hearing about it and also being fed on the BR Chopra’s iconic televised series. Actually my son knows more of Mahabharata for his deep interest in the epic and also mythology.
The journey of the stories of Mahabharata has been traced to the sage Vyasa who composed the story in about 8800 stanzas and called it Jaya. Jaya Utsav brings together multiple traditions from all across the country on a single platform. Some of the performances appear for the 1st time in public domain outside of their ritual context.
When i reached the venue in the evening, the place looked a bit deserted and disappointment almost set in, just then i heard the drums and loud music coming from the lawns where a crowd had gathered.
On joining the many audiences i saw Pandav Leela being enacted. This particular rendition was by the local folks of Uttarakhand and local bard was singing in the Garhwali dialects. The thumping music and the dance lifted my spirits and though there were verses i could not understand clearly the jist was not lost. The Pandavas are worshipped in the western Uttarakhand area specially during the Pandav leela. During the Leela some of the vyoohs like the chakravyooh and kamal vyooh are popular theatrical performances.
After a while i went to the Maati Ghar were i was greeted by a range of paintings and arts and in various styles as also across mediums. The Madhubanis, patachitras, kalibari style and even pop art with Mahabharata theme were a visual delight. The exhibition provides a glimpse through photographs, maps, dioramas, paintings, calendar prints, ethnographic objects and installations too. Personally i was overwhelmed seeing such beautiful art.
Inside the maati ghar, a room with the arrowbeds has been created and the lighting effect is amazing.
Walking out the food court is aptly been renamed as Bhim ki Rasoi, the wafting aromas are irresistible and i gave in by chomping down a plate of alu tikkis;my ever favorite. Post this i wandered across to the Haat selling various hand crafted wares like the patachitra paintings, Gond art, madhubani paintings, leather puppets and dolls depicting various scened from the Mahabharata. The artists were forthcoming and the one from the patachitra painting stall showed me how they etched the figure on palm leaf and then paint over it. the paintings ranged from various the 10 avataras of Vishnu to different forms of Ganesha and even various etchigs from the animal world.
In an entirety the experience was artistically uplifting and better than expected. Would love to go back with a fully charged battery of my camera and to watch some more performances.
The event is on till 10th and the entry and parking is free and ample. If you live in Delhi don’t miss it.