Festivals of South India highlight cultural and social values

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Chendi Melam by Kerala Group Rhythm 345 was a great starter

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 3, 2022

The Second Annual Indian Newslink Festivals of South India, held under the auspices of the Wellington-based Indian High Commission and the recently-formed Federation of South Indian Associations New Zealand, with the support of many other sponsors, held at Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland Central was an event to remember.

Chaturbhandi by the students of Anuradha’s School of Indian Dances had verve
Karthick RC and Sreekala Srihari, our main Masters of Ceremonies

More than 550 men and women representing a cross-section of the resident communities beheld the richness of a region – its culture, colour, costumes and cuisine and were awed by the variety.

About 200 people were involved in putting together the annual feature this year, of who, about 125 were performers.

Dawn of a New Era by Rhythm Academy of Dance highlighted the folk dances of South India
Mookkuthi Amman presented by Auckland Tamil Association gloried Goddess of Power by Heeral Pusarla and Keertana Sannidhanam

Unique aspects of South India

In addition, their parents, husbands, brothers, sisters and children were all a part of the Festivals, adding to the value of belonging to one of the most vibrant parts of the world.

Mohini Attam performed by Dr Dhanya Sreekanth and students of her Tapasya School of Classical Dance highlighted Kerala’s heritage

Our earlier story (featured on the front page of this issue) highlighted a few aspects of the Second Edition of the Festivals of South India, and we are happy to provide an extensive report with more pictures in this two-page Special.

There are several factors like South Indian food, classical music & dance, Kalarippayattu (ancient martial arts), and Ayurveda which work as a highlight for this region. Overall, this part of India comprises amazing wildlife, forested valleys, mountains, and mind-blowing historical architecture. With the range of Hindu pilgrims, you can witness the point of Land’s End during your visit to Kanyakumari.

Harika Garikapati presented a Kuchipudi item (Andhra Pradesh)

Tribute to Gurus and Performers

Chenda Melam, in the true Kerala tradition, was performed by Rhythm 345, an Auckland based Malayali group. The men and one-woman band presented a ‘welcome item,’ that reverberated the corridors of Mahatma Gandhi Centre, setting the tone for the evening.

Karthick RC and Sreekala Srihari, our main Masters of Ceremonies explained the significance of the event with an outline of the natural bounty of South India and introduced Anuradha’s School of Indian Dances, arguably one of the best in the world.

Sheethal Allam as Rudrama Devi, the Queen of the Kakatiya Dynasty (Telangana)

Ms Ramkumar had choreographed an item that combined Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi and Mohini Attam that symbolises the cultural contribution of the five South Indian States. Fifteen students of her School performed a medley of Carnatic music bringing meaning and energy to the evening. They were followed by the students of Rhythm Dance Academy, who presented folk dances of the five states in a number that ushered in the New Year festivities. Called, ‘The Dawn of a New Era,’ it brought forth the colour and verve of the performers.

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