Seraikela Chhau Mahotsav promises to provide much more than just cultural extra-vaganza. Adventure sports will now be part of the three-day fest that will begin from May 29.
"We had planned to offer more sports activities but due to the terrible heat we had to restricted it to two. We will organise parasailing and rock climbing. Water sports was also on our minds but we decided against it seeing the low water level in the river," said Rajesh Sharma, the deputy commissioner of Seraikela-Kharsawan.
The festival, which till last year was organised as part of the Chaitra Parva, is now being held separately and the administration introduced adventure sports to attract more youths so that they can learn about their heritage and culture of the state and enjoy themselves at the same time.
"The idea about organising adventure sports is to give something different to the audience. Songs, dramas and cultural activities can be monotonous for the youths but sports will provide that variety to the festival. It will be a different experience for the artistes and the audience," said Tapan Kumar Patnaik, the director of the Chhau Academy Centre, Seraikela.
Many artistes of international stature have been invited to perform at the Mahotsav. The administration has tied up with the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, and the Purvanchal Sanskritik Kendra, Calcutta, to bring in well-known faces in the field of dance to perform here.
This is not all. The organisers have also planned workshops for schoolchildren to educate them about the intricacies of Chhau dance. There will also be a mask-making workshop on all the three days, which is an important aspect of the dance.
"Till date, we have approached 12 schools in Seraikela and they have come up with positive responses. We want more students to take up Chhau and know about it. Then only we can revive the dying art form. We have also requested the Tata Steel Zoological Park authorities to allow us to conduct a workshop for students in the city," said Patnaik.
Apart from Chhau dance of the different schools — Manbhum, Purulia, Mayurbhanj and Seraikela — dancers will also perform folk and classical items accompanied by instruments like shehnai and sitar. We want to provide a wholesome entertainment package for the audience and want to show them the beauty of Jharkhand. Through this we will also be able to promote tourism here.
Telegraph / 2009 May 06