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Bhopal cultural festival draws huge crowds


Bhopal : The rich culture and artistic diversity of Indian states and at least seven countries are drawing huge crowds at a festival being held in Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal since Republic Day Jan 26.

The 26th “Lokrang” festival, organised at Ravindra Bhavan here, is showcasing Indian culture, tradition and artistic diversity besides setting an example in the country’s cultural partnership with its neighbours.

Besides different cuisines, traditional dances and folk music, the puppet show of Indonesia, sufi music and masks of different countries are the major attraction at the festival.

Diverse masks from India and overseas are on display at an exhibition being held as part of the festival. Masks from South Korea, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Bhutan and Nepal are among those showcased.

Madhya Pradesh’s Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma said here Tuesday, the last day of the festival, that the response to the festival has been overwhelming.

“Indonesian puppets, masks and batik prints are the central aspect of an exhibition entitled ‘Dwipantar’. More than 500 masks from various countries are being displayed. Mask-designing workshop are also being conducted,” he said.

“This year, the Lokrang was in its true colour and we have not only got a glimpse of colours and diversity of our country but several other countries as well, it’s beautiful,” said college girl and visitor Rashmi Jain.

The festival’s theme pavilion is dedicated to various forms of puppets. It has puppets from nine Indian states, including West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and countries like Indonesia, Turkey and Vietnam.

Indonesia’s rod puppets, which have three dimensional carved figures attached to rods used by an artist during a performance, have been a major draw.

The theme pavilion is also displaying puppets from Vietnam that dance on water. Shadow puppets from Turkey and Andhra Pradesh have also been exhibited.

Artists from Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Punjab, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and countries like the US, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Iran have also performed at the festival.

Sharma said: “Visitors are being exposed to tribal culture and weaving, dyeing and embroidery of silk garments is being exhibited.”