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Delhi Thumri Festival 2017 to Witness the Performances of the Best Vocal Traditions in North India

A new style of Thumri, known as “Varanasi” developed in the late 19th century and it was not dependent on dance

Delhi Thumri Festival 2017
Girija Devi performs classical and light classical music and has helped elevate the profile of thumri. Wikimedia
  • Thumri is a genre of lively semi-classical Indian music
  • The origin of Thumri is linked with Kathak, a form of classical dance
  • For the past seven years, Sahitya Kala Parishad has never failed in delivering a successful musical fare in Delhi

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: Thumri is a genre of lively semi-classical Indian music. it is regarded as one of the most significant types of music in North India after Khayal. In Thumri, a common theme is Lord Krishna’s romance with Radha, his companion, and gopis. This year, Delhi will witness the magic of Thumri in the month of September.

The Origin-

The origin of Thumri is linked with Kathak, a form of classical dance. Thumri requires delicacy, a soulful voice to deliver its actual beauty. This form has evolved due to Awadh’s Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and Sadiq Ali Khan, the musician of his court and play a big role in what thumri is today. Wajid Ali Shah was Lucknow’s governor for the period between 1847 and 1856. His reign saw the rise of architecture, music, poetry, dance, and drama. His contribution to India’s Art is a lot. However, some musicologists feel that before him, Thumri grew as a classical form after which it achieved popularity. A new style of Thumri, known as “Varanasi” developed in the late 19th century and it was not dependent on dance.

Thumri and Perspectives-

Many traditionalists opposed the blending of dance and music in this form. However, there also existed numerous classical musicians who got attracted to this form, as it has the ability to mix notes belonging to other Ragas through innovation. Due to this reason, Thumri was selected by various performers, including instrumentalists as well as singers. This gave rise to many forms of Thumri.

Even after so many years, the tradition and love for this form of music have not completely vanished. This has been made possible by Sahitya Kala Parishad, part of the Delhi government’s Department of Art, Culture, and Languages. For the past seven years, it has never failed in delivering a successful musical fare in Delhi. Shrimati Sindhu Mishra, the organizer of this fare, has not only introduces best vocal traditions in North India, but she has also motivated the singers of genre other than Thumri to give a performance on her stage.

ALSO READRagas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises

Some of the extremely talented, but less exposed singers who have been provided with a platform in Delhi’s Thumri festival include Banaras’ Debashish Dey, Samrat Pandit, Pandit Channulal Mishra, Pandit Ajoy Chakravorty among others.

Delhi Thumri Festival 2017-

This year this festival will be held at Kamani Auditorium in Delhi from 1-3 September. The festival will commence with the performance of Vidushi Arti Ankalikar who will be portraying the Jaipur Atrauli gayeki. This will be followed by Indrani Mukherjee. Her guru was the famous Vidushi Purnima Chaudhari, but now she learns from Banaras’ Manju Sundaram. She says he teaches in the Gurukul way of old times. The first day of the concert will be terminated by Pandit Chanulal Mishra of Banaras.

The second day will witness the performance of Indore’s Kalpana Zokarkar. She has a good musical descent which comprises of training in Ustad Rajab Ali Khan’s tradition. This will be the first platform for Kalpana and she agreed that she is excited about her staging. Ramakant Gaikwad, who is an upcoming singer portraying the Patiala Gharana Thumri, will be next. To put an end to the evening, the stage will be handed over to the well known Padmashri Smt Malini Awasthi.

On the final day, Delhi based singers Pooja Goswami and Meeta Pandit, the fifth descendant of the erudite family of Gwalior Pandit will take over the stage. The grand finale will be made memorable by the performance of Padma Vibhushan Vidushi Girija Devi.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025

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If you are a Devotee of Lord Krishna, these 10 Lesser Known Facts Will Surprise You!

Here are 10 interesting facts about Lord Krishna that many people don't know

Lord Krishna
Radha Krishna Painting. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 15, 2017: Lord Krishna is unquestionably the most honorary character in the Hindu mythology. He was one of the most charming Gods who was also the 8th avatar of Vishnu. Krishna was not only a mischievous butter thief but was also the charioteer guide of Arjun in Mahabharat who played a remarkable role by helping the warrior to find the right path in the battle.

10 interesting facts about Lord Krishna that people are unaware of-

1. Krishna had 108 names

2. He had 16,108 wives. Startling, isn’t it?

3. The most misconceived notion we have concerning the color of Krishna. The color of Krishna’s skin was dark but not blue as we see on screen

4. He resurrected his Guru Sandipani Muni’s dead son back to life

5. He acted as the war cry for the Pandavas in Kurukshetra during Mahabharata

ALSO READ: Krishna Janmashtami 2017- Hindus in India and Abroad Gear Up to Celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna 

6. He was linked to the Pandavas in Mahabharata

7. The matter is subject of discussion that whether Radha, Krishna’s companion, was cited at all in ancient scriptures

8. The relationship of Radha-Krishna was used to condone premarital sex in modernized India

9. Wonder what led to Krishna’s death? Queen Gandhari cursed Krishna after witnessing the massive toll in Mahabharata which eventually led to his death and the destruction of his dynasty

10. The death of Krishna was the result of numerous curses and his own act of adharma against Sugreev’s brother, Bali in Ramayana

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Krishna Janmashtami 2017 : Hindus in India and Abroad Gear Up to Celebrate birth of Lord Krishna

The legend behind Lord Krishna's birth is one of the most celebratory tales of the Hindu mythology.

Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna
You might think Janmashtami is only celebrated in India. However, the festival attracts huge crowds and is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm in countries abroad alike. Wikimedia
  • Janmashtami, being celebrated on the 14th of August this year, marks the birth of Lord Krishna
  • Krishna is believed to be the eighth avatar or Lord Vishnu
  • Rasleela as part of the tradition is organized on an auspicious day

New Delhi, August 14, 2017 : Hindus across India and abroad are gearing up for one of their most significant festivals. You will see processions the road, decorations all around; a vibrant environment with kids dressed as Radha-Krishna and lines of devotees dancing, singing and chanting to the tunes of ‘Aala re aala, Govinda aala’ (Here comes Govinda (Krishna). This year it will be celebrated on August 14.

Krishna Janmashtami, popularly known as Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, who is considered the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu.

It is popularly believed that all the devotion and affection offered to Lord Krishna benefits the devotees unlimitedly, and those benefits stay for eternity.

Janmashtami Date 

Krishna Janmashtami falls on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shravana.

Significance of Janmashtami

Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of fervor to commemorate the birth of Krishna, who is considered the right avatar of Vishnu.

Times were tough, freedom was denied, evil was everywhere, and there was a threat to life. It was in such a scenario that Krishna was born at midnight on the eighth day of Bhadrapada, in Mathura to Devaki and Vasudeva. As his uncle King Kansa posed a threat to his life, Vasudev crossed the river Yamuna with a young Krishna in tow, and took him to foster parents in Gokul named Nanda and Yashoda.

This legend is celebrated by devotees on Janmashtami by fasting, and signing devotional songs of love for Lord Krishna.

Celebrating The Birth of Lord Krishna

At Vaishnava temples, festivities commence before dawn breaks and extend all day till the midnight, when the Lord Himself is believed to have taken birth. Women draw tiny Krishna footsteps outside their doors, and leading their way to the kitchens and the house-temple, which is symbolic of Krishna’s journey into their homes.

After his midnight birth hour, Krishna deities are bathed in a variety of pious liquids like milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, and water-this ceremony is called the abhisheka. Krishna idols are then decorated with new clothes, flower garlands, kumkum and other decorations.

Janmashtami celebrates the birth of lord Krishna
Lord Krishna dolled up in new clothes for Janmashtami. Wikimedia

Incense sticks are burned and scriptures are also read. Men, women, and children alike indulge in kirtan by singing songs in Krishna’s name, and japa-mala (praying with a rosary), which is a more intimate form of prayer. Some people also observe a day long fast which is then broken by sharing food and sweets. Women cook elaborate dishes to welcome and feed the mischievous God.

Finally, at midnight priests pull apart the curtains to reveal the freshly dressed deity Krishna who sits either in a tiny cradle or on an altar specially decorated for the night.

How is Janmashtami Celebrated In the Country and Outside

Major Krishna temples organize recitals of the Bhagwat Gita and the Bhagwat Purana to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. A rich traditional form of dance-drama called Rasleela or Krishna Leela is also organized which begins a few days before Janmashtami.

Maharashtra: Popularly known as Gokulashtami in Maharashtra, it is celebrated as Dahi Handi in cities like Pune and Mumbai.

Legend has it that baby Krishna would steal yogurt and milk-cream from homes, which is reflected in these celebrations. Pots of yogurt are hung up high through ropes and a team of young boys called ‘Govindas’ climb over one another to form human pyramid scheme thus attempting to break the earthen pots. The girls surround them; teasing and cheering for them. The content that spills out of the pot is considered Prasad (holy offering) and are then distributed.

Gujarat: The festival is known as Makhan Handi (pot with freshly churned butter) in the city of Dwarka, where Krishna is believed to have established his kingdom. Folk dances and Bhajan recitals are performed at temples. In Kutch, farmers take out Krishna processions in decorated bullock carts.


Northern India: Janmashtami is the largest festival in Braj region, in the cities Mathura where Krishna was born, and Vrindavan where he is believed to have grown up. Krishna temples are decorated and lighted up, where Bhakti events are organized and night vigils observed.

In the northern states, Rasleela is played which literally means play (Leela) of delight, essence (rasa) wherein the childhood mischief of Krishna and the love affair of Radha-Krishna are primary enacted.

Janmashtami is not only widely celebrated in India but also in other countries. More than eighty percent population of Nepal identifies as Hindu and celebrates the festival with full zeal. The day is also recognized as a national holiday in Bangladesh. Janmashtami in Fiji is known as Krishna Ashtami and is celebrated by a quarter of the population.

The festival also attracts large crowds in the western states and is celebrated with great pomp and show.

Fasting rules for Krishna Janmashtami 

On the day of the fast, devotees take a pledge, known as Sankalpa, to observe a day long fast in the devotion of Krishna. This fast is then broken on the following day when both Rohini Nakshatra and Ashtami Tithi are over. The Sankalpa must be taken after finishing all morning rituals, only after which fast begins.

Fasting rules on this day are essentially the same as for Ekadashi fasting and no grains should be consumed when fasting on Krishna Janmashtami.

On the following day, when both Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra are over, the fast can be broken-this practice is known as Parana. If both Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra don’t get over before sunset, then fast can be broken during day time when either of the two ends.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple in New Jersey Consecrating Unique Krishna Idol with 19-day Rituals

Why Are There Two Krishna Janmashtami Dates?

Krishna Janmashtami is usually listed on two consecutive days.

  • The first date is for the Smarta Sampradaya.
  • The second date is for Vaishnava Sampradaya.

A single date would mean both the Sampradaya observe Krishna Janmashtami on the same day.

The ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) is established on the principles of Vaishnava traditions. In this belief system, preference is given to Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra and Janmashtami is observed on the Saptami. In North India, most people observe Janmashtami on the day chosen by ISKON. The ISKON date is also collectively followed in Braj region.

Janmashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of lord Krishna
The ISKON temple at Delhi is decorated with lights and diyas to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday. Wikimedia

People who aren’t followers of Vaishnava are Smartiam. They give preference to the Hindu midnight or Nishita for Janmashtami celebrations – either Saptami Tithi or Ashtami Tithi. Finally, the most auspicious combination of Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra during Nishita time is given the highest preference. In a situation when a person is not a follower of Vaishnava Sampradaya, Hindu religious texts Dharmasindhu and Nirnaysindhu should be considered to decide Janmashtami day.

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August 13 is Balaram Jayanti: Birth Anniversary of an Incarnation of the Shesh Naag and Avatar of Adishesha

This year the Balaram Jayanti falls on August 13

Lord Balaram
Lord Jaganath, Balaram and Shubhadra at Adi Chitteswari Temple. Wikimedia

Aug 13, 2017: According to the Hindu Calender, a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Balaram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna is observed on the 6th day of Krishna Paksha (the waning phase of the moon) in the month of Bhadrapad, six days after Shravan Purnima or Raksha Bandhan. This year Balaram Jayanti is celebrated on August 13.

The embodiment of ‘Shesh Naag’ is glorified as Lord Balram and his birth anniversary is celebrated this day.

Balarama is also perceived as the avatar of Adishesha, who is the serpent on whom Lord Vishnu rests. In other places, he is also quoted as Baladeva, Balabhadra, and halayudha.

His birth anniversary is celebrated in different parts of the country by different names. In north India, it is known as Hal Shasti and Lalahi Chhath. In brah region in India, it is famously known as Baladeva Chhath and in Gujarat, it is discerned as Randhan Chhath.

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.