Trust honours artistes, scholars at start of Vasant Utsav at Sri Kapali Temple

As dusk fell over the streets of Mylapore on Tuesday, dance rasikas were at the annual Vasanth Utsav dancs fest at Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple. The Utsav, on till May 11, will host a series of dance and music concerts 6:00pm onwards.

Much before the inaugural ceremony began, a performance by K N Amaresan on the nadaswaram and B Jagadeeshan on the thavil took place.

The programme started with an invocation by Tirukallar S Guru Naganatha Oodhuvar in Tamil and by Vijaya Krishna Sharma in Sanskrit. An address of welcome was given by the chief guest Dr. Sonal Mansingh.

Guests and friends were welcomed alike by Priyadharshini Rajkumar, a secretary of the Saraswathi Educational Cultural and Charitable Trust and by Vempati Lakshmi Kameswari, a Kuchipudi artiste and the granddaughter of dancer guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam.

“My grandmother started this Trust and our whole family has been dedicated to it. The Vasanth Utsav is our major programme of the year, it’s in remembrance of her (late Indra Garyali) and so we want to promote forms of temple art. We only invite dance schools to perform on this stage because it’s only fair that everyone learning goes up on stage atleast once and gets to experience how it is. We’re also a charitable trust, so we pay all the dancers a minimal amount.” said Priyadharshini Rajkumar.

The Trusts were founded by late Indra Garyali, a philanthropist and a patron of culture and arts. A Kashmiri, she settled in Tamil Nadu to promote traditional art and culture.

The award giving ceremony was led  by Dr. C K Garyali, a well-known IAS officer, now retired and by Dr. Nagaswamy, a scholar-historian. The Indira Garyali Award for lifetime achievement was given to dance guru Dr. Sonal Mansingh – she was given the title Bhartha Kala Mahadevi.

Nritya Kala Ratna to guru Savitri Naidoo for promoting dance in South Africa and Australia, Saiva Siddhantha Shiromani to T B Siddhalingaiah for his contribution to  the field of Tamil literature, Ved Shastra Praveena to P Vijaya Krishna Sharma for his vast knowledge of the Rig Veda, Tamil Isai Nambi to Thirukkalar S Guru Naganatha Oodhuvar for sacred Tamil singing, Natheshwar Isai Ratna to K N Amaresan for propagating this traditional temple music instrument and Thavil Vadya Vidyadhara to B Jagadeeshan for his performances.

A dance recital by guru Binesh Mahadevan and his students of Akshaya Arts followed.

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