Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s famed chariot festival, the Ratha Jatra is celebrated all over the world with fanfare; from London to Moscow, Toronto to Berlin, New York City to Sydney. Organised by International Movement for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), this Odia mega festival has been celebrated for three decades with the 30th celebration in Paris, this year.
The Ratha Jatra parade in Paris on July 8 celebrated the “spirit of tolerance between communities, races and religions” in the name of Lord Jagannath. It consisted of a parade where a chariot carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are flanked by devotees, in a festive fervour accompanied by songs, dance sequences and traditional music. The participants of the parade were served with vegetarian meals at the end.
French-Odissi danseuse Mahina Khanum, known for her innovative methods of infusing classical dance forms with technological tools to promote Odissi amongst the international audience, performed with her troupe on this occasion.
Prior to the Ratha Jatra, she also conducted a 3-day Odissi introductory and intermediary workshop in Paris. “The beginner’s workshop was an introduction to Odissi dance focusing on poses of Alasa Kanyas (female statues) from the Odia temples. The intermediate workshop was centered on Dashaavatara, a choreography of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. We had a turnout of about 50 students,” said Mahina.
The workshop had an Annual Day on its conclusion where some of the participants performed Odissi.