The Gudiya Sambhrama festival sees ancient temples across the city turn host to various cultural performances featuring artists of national and international repute.
An ancient Sanskrit masterpiece, said to have been written around the eighth to tenth centuries but relevant to this date, the Srimad Bhagavatam will come alive in Bengaluru this season.
The temple festival “Gudiya Sambhrama”, an annual cultural festival that celebrates the grandeur and intricacies of classical music and dance every year, will be painted in the colours of the ancient text, which is one of the 18 puranas.
Run by the Heritage trust, the temple festival has for the past seven years treated people in the city to a creative jamboree, staging performances in various ancient temples across the city, aiming at not just celebrating culture but also acquainting the next generation with the richness of our past.
The festival sees several ancient temples across the city each year turn host to various cultural performances featuring artists of national and international repute. “Bengaluru is home to beautiful temples, some as old as 1200 years and Gudiya Sambhrama is an earnest attempt to revive this multi-faceted culture in temples today,” say the organisers.
Gudiya Sambhrama has different themes each year, from sacred flowers (2017) to the sacred earth (2016) and the décor, and the discourse is centred around the theme, turning the venues from religious places of worship to an integral part of the cultural, social and environmental ecosystem.
But, why the Bhagavatam?
“The Bhagavatam is a text that is not well known hence we decided on this first. Mostly it is seen as a text that is just one for Devotion and Bhakti but it is a manual that includes so many different topics of human interest, there is a detailed description of cosmogany, of creation of the concept of time, there is even description of foetal development,” explains the trusts’ founder trustee and secretary Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar.
While in the past years various temple spaces in the city saw performances on different days, this year, as per the requirement of the theme, the Bhagavatam Saptaha (week-long reading and recital) will be held at the Sri Devagiri Devasthanam in Banashankari, while the Sangita Nritya Kainkaryam (offering though music and dance) will be held on 27, 28 January in various temples across Bengaluru.
The festival also offers a two-day workshop featuring talks on topics like humanism in the Bhagavatam, and the text not just as a separate literal entity but as part of the Indic way of life and the like, a hands-on workshop on Mysore painting and traditional Indian games.
The temple space will be turned into one from the times that the chapter being recited features, with the décor being created to bring the text alive, sporting the plants mentioned in the purana, dolls of various avataras and the like. The festival will also mark the beginning of a coffee table book on the ancient Sanskrit text.
With the winter having set in, Bengaluru sure has some cultural warmth to look forward to.