Ancient dance-drama gives respite to Nepal quake victims

Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) Patan Durbar Square, one of Nepal’s major tourist destinations, was severely damaged by the April earthquake that killed some 9,000 people. Last week, the compound of the temple Kartik Dabali became the site for staging the ancient Nepali dance-drama “Kartik Nach”.

Historical monuments and artistic structures at the Patan Darbar Square, including the Char Narayan Temple, collapsed. Seven months later, the area is still strewn with debris, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite the tragedy, thousands of Nepali people, young and old, trooped to the temple to watch the open-air presentation of the historical dance-drama to the accompaniment of folk music.

Those in the audience cheered the performance in the cool November air.

“We had expected fewer people due to the quake but to our surprise, enthusiasts of Nepali art came up in large numbers. We are glad people have started to forget the tragedy and came to watch our cultural show,” said Kiran Chitrakar, an artist and chairman of Kartik Nach Preservation Committee (KNPC).

A devout King Siddhi Narsingh Malla initiated this historical dance during his reign. This year Kartik Nach has been staged for 12 days.

Though Kartik Nach and temples in Patan Durbar Square has no solid connecting-stories, they are synonymous to each other since the 17th century.

This spectacular dance is named as “Kartik Nach” since this is performed during the Nepali month of Kartik that falls in October or November.

According to the organisers, the performance is based on the stories from Hindu mythology related to “Vishnu Puraan,” a holy sourcebook whose underlying theme is the triumph of good over evil with god’s intercession.

Wednesday was the final day of the staging of “Vastra Haran Lila,” an act of Lord Krishna, with the participation of 11 artists.

Bibek Shrestha, 23 and who played the role of Lord Krishna, said he inherited the role from his father and grandfather starting when he was seven years old.

The KNPC has around 80 members, including 50 artists. They have been staging the folk dance-drama through funds collected from the municipality and some organisations.

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