NishaGandhi Dance festival, Kerala Tourism’s one-week-long cultural extravaganza is inaugurated by Mr. P. A. Mohamed Riyas, Tourism Minister, Govt of Kerala. The festival is setting the stage for an array of performances by leading exponents and up-and-coming artistes of diverse classical dances of the country. Kick-starting the February 15-21 event at Nishagandhi Auditorium, Kanakakunnu Palace grounds Trivandrum., the Minister said art is a major attraction for tourists, Nishagandhi Dance Festival is expected to attract more foreign tourists. “While Kerala has set a record in the arrival of domestic tourists during the post-pandemic time, footfall of foreign tourists is yet to gain pace. Cultural events like Nishagandhi Dance Festival will help attract more tourists. The festival also figures prominently in State Tourism’s tenacious efforts to keep intact the country’s diversity in arts”, Mr. Riyas noted. Keralites, open to accepting and respecting the country’s diversity, are keen to sustain diversity in all forms. Also, through art, artists often raise their voice against social evils and anti-democratic tendencies afflicting social harmony”, he added.
Mr. Riyas also presented the prestigious Nishagandhi Puraskaram to Kuchipudi maestros Dr. Raja Reddy and his wife Dr. Radha Reddy. The Delhi-based duo is known for their inspiring role as gurus and choreographers. They created history by being the first couple to receive Padma awards and by initiating their daughters to dance, thus gaining the name of a ‘Kuchipudi family’. The coveted honour carries a purse of Rs 1.5 lakhs, a statuette of Bharathamuni, and a citation. Presiding over the opening ceremony, Transport Minister Shri Antony Raju lauded the post-pandemic efforts of Kerala Tourism that helped the state to find a place on the world tourism map. “Kerala Tourism’s innovative initiatives and programmes implemented as part of the tourism sector’s resurgence from the pandemic-induced lull is commendable. These novel initiatives have helped the State Tourism to gain global attention, which in turn resulted in a spike in the arrival of tourists”, he said.
Welcoming the gathering, Tourism Principal Secretary Mr.K.S. Srinivas pointed out that Nishagandhi Dance Festival, which is rated on par with Konark and Mahabalipuram dance festivals, plays a key role in introducing Kerala arts to foreign tourists. This edition of the 2023 festival features performances of Rama Vaidyanathan and group (Bharatanatyam), Archana Raj (Kuchipudi), Janet James (Bharatanatyam), Krishnakshi Kashyap (Sattriya), Aswathy Krishna (Mohiniyattam), Pavitra Bhatt (Bharatanatyam), Dr. Sruti Bandopadhay and Group (Manipuri), Ramdas (Bharatanatyam), Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla (Mohiniyattam), Sayanee Chavda (Kathak), Ananthapuri Sisters (Bharatanatyam), Hari and Chethana (Kathak), Padmaja Reddy and Sanvi Group (Kuchipudi), Dr. Padmini Krishnan (Kuchipudi), Malavika Menon (Mohiniyattam), Rahul Acharya (Odissi), Ayana Mukherjee (Kuchipudi), Pallavi Krishnan and Group (Mohiniyattam), and Radhe Jaggi (Bharatanatyam). Also, eminent artists will be performing the “Kathakali Mela” at Kanakakunnu Palace courtyard, being held in parallel to the dance festival on all seven days.
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