Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our Ancient Uttarardh Sun Festival

The first major festival of 2011 for Hindus, staying mainly in Nepal and India, (with diaspora extending all over the world,) is here. Makara Sankranti (or Pongal, in southern states like Tamil Nadu) heralds the peak of harvesting season. It also marks the transit of Sun into Makara (Capricorn) constellation and is called Uttarayan. It also means Sun is headed North, so to say. Or, geographically the Earth tilts towards the Sun, whereby the northern hemisphere experiences summer.
The western state of Gujarat calls this festival as Uttran and has been staging a kite festival (Patangotsav), which has now attained international status and its 21st edition ends this weekend. Of course, the main event at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad ends Friday evening. So get ready to move over a hundred km away to the 13-th century Sun Temple at Modhera in Mehsana district of north Gujarat for the Uttarardh festival. Well, to refresh your memory the main temple in India dedicated to Sun is the famed and fabled Konarak temple in Orissa on India’s eastern coast. Set against the backdrop of the Sun temple, the dance recitals begin at 7:30 pm. On the first evening (Saturday) Yasmin Sinh and Dr Aarti Shah will present Kathak recitals, to be followed by Suprava Mishra’s Odissi recital. So a touch of the Konark festival will be very much evident here.

Scheduled for Sunday evening, the same time are Bharatanatyam by Menka Thakkar and Mohiniattam by Ayswaria Wariar. So you get glimpses of the Kathak from north, Odissi from east and Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam from the South. In fact, Mohiniattam is from the coastal state of Kerala.
So, rush to Modhera. Do not miss out on the glimpses of the Uttarardh Festival. Catch on the telly and get ready for it again in 2012 and mark it in your diary.

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