With the aim of reviving the fading age old traditions and culture in contemporary society, the Heritage Trust conducts Gudiya Sambhrama, the Bangalore Temple Festival, across different temples in the city. Since its advent in 2010, this annual festival has emerged as one of the city's and probably South India's most innovative and energetic temple festivals.
The event organized across 22 heritage temples, a few of them thousands of years old, endeavors to reverberate the city with traditional dance, music, theatre, puppetry, story-telling and more with artists hailing from all over the country. Traditionally temples have not been limited to only religious activities; they had served as centers of communities for centuries, a platform for performing arts. Gudiya Sambhrama is an attempt to take the classical arts back to the temples and in the process reduce the ever growing chasm between today's generation and our rich culture.
I was lucky to catch the Odissi dance event organized at Sri Siddhivinayaka Devasthana in HSR Layout. All the dancers were from Sharmila Mukerjee's Sanjali Center for Odissi Dance institute in Bangalore. Sharmila Mukerjee, who learnt Odissi dance from the notable guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra, and her troupe kept the audience enthralled with their scintillating performances.
The event was special for me as Odissi dance originated from Odisha, my native state. Considered my many as the oldest surviving dance form of India, it is distinguished from other classical dance forms by the importance it places on the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis, the Tribhangi and the basic square stance known as Chouka which symbolizes Lord Jagannath. The dance is characterized by various stances, called Bhangas, which involve stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures.