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Namaste festival kicks off

The Festival of India in Korea kicked off last week with the opening of the Cultural Centre as well as an hour-long colorful and panoramic music-dance performance at the Sejong Center.

As the embassy’s cultural wing, the Indian Cultural Centre is the starting point for the festival that will last six months and travel through many parts of the nation.

“Recognizing that art and culture have the capacity to transcend physical borders to touch the minds and hearts of the people, India has opened a Cultural Centre in Seoul,” said India Ambassador Skand R. Tayal.

Under the title “Namaste Korea” or Salute to Korea,” the traveling cultural show started off with a performance by Ranjana Gauhar and her team who presented a medley of the finest of classical and contemporary Indian arts at the Sejong Center. 
Renowned Indian dancer Ranjana Gauhar entertains the crowd during the official opening of the Indian Culture Center in Hannamdong on July 1. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Renowned Indian dancer Ranjana Gauhar entertains the crowd during the official opening of the Indian Culture Center in Hannamdong on July 1. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

The Festival will continue and include an Indian Film Festival, a Buddhist Art Exhibition, an exhibition of the paintings of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and an enthralling presentation on the traditional Indian dress with the title “The Romance of the Sarees.”

Lovers of the theater will be able to enjoy a play from contemporary Indian theatre “Pune Highway.”

Looking ahead to the future, the embassy has lined up a symposium that brings together Indian and Korean scholars to reflect on and discuss the way forward for the expanding India-Korea Relations.

The idea for this year’s festival in both countries came during the summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Lee Myung-bak in January 2010 in New Delhi.

“The two leaders warmly noted the extensive synergies between their two friendly countries and agreed to forge a strategic partnership,” said Tayal. “The decision to dedicate the year 2011 to an intense cultural dialogue is a reflection of their recognition of the deep historic affinities between the two countries and of their abiding faith in the goodwill between the two peoples.”

As its mascot, the embassy decided to go with the peacock, India’s most recognized animal and national bird, which symbolizes the country’s colorful diversity captured into a unified soul.

For more information about the Festival of India and its many events, visit www.indoculture.org.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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