Mahalaya Ritual

It is an annual ritual in our house to get up early on Mahalaya morning and listen to Mahisasuramardini. The tradition started probably with my maternal Grandmother who was a devotee of Goddess Durga and lived in Patna surrounded by Bengali households, and it continued even when she moved to Banaras and then with my mother…

Rāmā Kātha

During my final exams for Masters, Banaras Hindu University hosted a festival of Rāmāyana from other South-east Asian countries; everyday in the evening one country or the other presented a retelling of their version of the story in dance drama format. That was my first initiation to various versions of the epic Rāmāyana. AK Ramanujan…

Khele mashane mein Holi

Holi across the world is largely associated with Krishna, and people flock to Brijbhoomi to witness the festivities. Even the songs or paintings that celebrate this colourful festival centers around this playful God. But in the city of Shiva - Banaras (Kashi or Varanasi), Rangbhari Ekadashi marks the beginning of the festival six days before…

Ganga – a new perspective 

It was an exhibition on Ganga - the living river at National Museum. Titled Ganga : River of Life & Eternity; this was not just paintings and sculptures on Ganga but a story-telling arty narrative. While I have been familiar with lot of myths and stories around Ganga, it was the coming together of different…

Epics retold

In the age when TV had still not come to every house and there were hardly any movies for children and computers were still long time away from the Indian shores, there grew a generation on mythological stories either told by the grand-parents or through Amar Chitra Kathas. If one had the luxurious life of…