The Capital is set to host the Ramayana Festival of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries at Kamani Auditorium, from 20 to 24 January this year. The five-day gala festival, to be organised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, will witness the convergence of top cultural groups from all ten ASEAN member countries ~ Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, president of ICCR, said, “The event will feature performances by cultural troupes from all 10 ASEAN countries. Through the Ramayana, the festival will showcase spectacular choreography rooted in the performing arts’ traditions of South East Asia.

“India enjoys strong civilisational links with all ASEAN countries. Ramayana as it is performed in the various ASEAN countries is not only a reflection of the strong cultural and civilisational links we have with them but it is also a bond which is their common heritage and binds them to each other”, he added.

During the Festival, the ASEAN countries will present various episodes of the Rama story through nuanced interpretations and revelations. They will reveal the assimilation, indigenisation and re-interpretation the epic has undergone. After their performances in Delhi, Ramayana groups from across the globe will also be performing in Ayodhya, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

Ramayana is one of the world’s longest epics. It is called the adi-kavya, the first of the poems. It has had primal influence on the faith, culture and art of India. Its exploration of the concepts of duty and righteousness permeated Indian philosophy and literature.

The epic inspired poets, painters, sculptors, dancers and musicians as well as millions of seekers of the spirit and of solace. The Ramayana, a multi-layered chronicle, wove ethics, devotion, wisdom and values into one extraordinary, narrative allegory. The Ramayana’s imagery and symbolism were so powerful that the epic easily made its way into the consciousness of people beyond India.