Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sandhyadipa Kar - Odissi Dancer Par Excellence

As i was going through some Odissi dance snippets posted on FB of a friend's child - I was reminded of my childhood friend Sandhyadipa Kar. Sandhya or Deepa is the daughter of the renowned Oriya Music composer Prafulla Kar. She trained in Odissi dance from her childhood with Guru Shri Kelu Charan Mohapatra. Her love of the art form is evident in the zeal with which she has pursued Odissi with teaching, workshops, performances (some combined performances with her renowned Father and brother being much anticipated in Oriya communities the World over) for the past 15 years - combined with a busy family life. She is of course one of the eminent exponents of Odissi today.

Here is a youtube snippet of the immensely graceful Sandhya performing "Dasavatar"

The Odissi Profiles: Sandhyadipa Kar: "Sandhyadipa is currently settled in Cleveland and is actively involved in performing, promoting and teaching Odissi Dance."

Monday, 12 July 2010

Watch Puri Ratha Yatra Live Online Free - the Festival of Chariots on your PC!

Watch the Puri Rath Yatra Live online free at the NIC Rath yatra Website

It is again the time of the year when the three deities of the Puri Jaggannath Temple visit their Mausi at Gundicha. Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra along with the Sudarshan will ride in their respective chariots Nandighosh, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana to their beloved Aunt's place at Gundicha Mandir for their annual holiday.

The swaying praying conveyance of the deities accompanied by cymbals and trumpets is an elaborate process done with the utmost reverence and is known as "Pahandi".

After Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra have been enthroned on their chariots - the ruler and King of Puri (only a symbolic runer now, in republic India) sweeps the chariots to get them ready for the journey.This part of the ritual is known as "Chera Pahara".

Then the journey starts. the huge cocunut ropes attached to the chariots are pulled by tens of thousands of devotees starting with the Chariot of the eldest brother Lord Balabhadra, then Goddess Subhadra and the finally that of the Lord of the Universe - lord Jagannath accompanied to the huge cries of the devotees. The juggernaut (yes, actually derived from the rolling of Jagannath's chariot) continues till it reaches Gundicha Mandir - with a slight break at another small "Mausima" Mandir in between.

The sights and intense devotion at the Rath Yatra, congregation of literally millions - where even an square inch of space is fought for in the hot sun or drizzle for the few miles of the journey - are treasured remembrances. This year our ancestral house on this same route was sold off. I really don't know when I will next be privy to the blessed Darshan and the pulling of the Rath during the Rath Yatra. But i know I will remember and dream of it forever.

Jai Jagannath.

NIC will be webcasting this event live and free for those of who cannot make it. Make sure to watch it online free at

Rath Yatra is on 13t July, 2010. Telecast/ Webcast starts from 9 am.