Chhattisgarh has transformed into a divine realm, resonating with the spirit of Lord Shri Ram, as the magnificent 'National Ramayana Festival' kicked off in Raigarh, the cultural capital of the state. The air is filled with an aura of devotion and reverence, as the state eagerly welcomes devotees and artists from across the nation and abroad to celebrate the epic saga of Ramayana. The three-day event will conclude on June 3.
The festival has become an international attraction with Ramayana Mandlis from abroad captivating the audiences with their enchanting performance. Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel said "For the first time in the country, a national-level Ramayana Festival is being organized in Chhattisgarh. This prestigious event aims to promote the teachings and ideals of Lord Shri Ram's exemplary character. While it is a national event, foreign delegations from countries like Cambodia and Indonesia are also participating, elevating it to an international festival."
Cambodian Ramayana troupe enthralls the audience with a captivating performance
A 12-member troupe of artists, who traveled a long distance of 4,500 km from Cambodia to Chhattisgarh, captured the hearts of the audience with their captivating 25-minute performance adorning their exotic costumes on the inaugural day of the three-day long festival. The Cambodian Ramayana team presented a musical rendition of the story of Ahiravan Vadh in Ramayana, where Ravana's brother, Ahiravan, renders Lord Shri Ram unconscious and takes him to Patal Lok. Shri Hanuman ventures into Patal Lok to safely rescue Lord Shri Ram, encountering his son, Makardhwaj, along the way. A battle ensues between them, but no victory or defeat is attained. Eventually, Hanuman successfully brings back Lord Shri Ram. This incident from the Ramayana was presented in a profoundly soulful manner by the international troupe.
Reamker: Cambodia's National Epic Unveiling the Glory of Rama
In Cambodia, the epic poem Reamker, based on the Sanskrit Ramayana, has been recognized as the national epic. The name Reamker literally means "Glory of Rama," and it holds significant cultural and historical value in Cambodia. The earliest known manuscript of Reamker in Cambodia dates back to the 7th century, with the surviving text originating from the 16th century. Reamker combines Hindu and Buddhist elements, adapting the Ramayana's narrative to incorporate Buddhist themes and philosophies. It explores the concept of the balance between good and evil in the world. The epic conveys philosophical allegories centered around justice and fidelity through the journey of King Rama and Queen Sita. It is widely celebrated and performed during various festivals across Cambodia. While Reamker shares similarities with the original Ramayana, it distinguishes itself by featuring additional scenes and placing emphasis on characters like Hanuman and Suvannamaccha.
The World on Stage: Indonesian Troupe to deliver captivating performance on Day Three
An attractive performance by the Indonesian troupe will take center stage on the third day of the festival i.e. on June 3. Their performance will showcase the diverse and universal aspects of Lord Shri Ram's epic tale, providing a glimpse into the countless global interpretations of the Ramayana.
Kakawin Ramayana: The Alluring Indonesian Adaptation of Ramayana
The Kakawin Ramayana is an ancient Javanese poem that serves as a rendition of the Sanskrit Ramayana, composed in the kakawin meter. It is believed to have been written during the late ninth or early tenth century in Central Java (modern Indonesia), during the era of the Mataram Kingdom. The Javanese Ramayana differs significantly from the original Hindu version, particularly in the latter half of the tale. Notable changes include the inclusion of the Javanese indigenous deity dhayana Guardian God of Java Semar and his misshapen sons, Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong, who are known as the Punokawan or "clown servants." This modified version of the epic has gained popularity and is regularly performed in wayang performances.
It is worth mentioning that this grand event has attracted the participation of 270 artists from 12 different states. Among them, 70 artists hail from the state of Chhattisgarh, while 27 artists have traveled from various foreign countries including Cambodia and Indonesia to take part in the festival.