Winston Churchill said “a love for tradition has never weakened a nation; indeed it has strengthened the nation in their hour of peril.” It is perhaps the same love that inspires the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association of Dharmshala, a non profitable organization to organize a event to show the culture of Tibet to India and to give strength to bond between Tibet government in exile and local peoples of Himachal.
A two days dance and music festival was organized by Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association of Dharmsala in the hill tops of Shivalik hill in a small city Mcleodganj, also known as little LHASA because of the fact that it is headquarters of Tibetan government in exile .The program was organized to commemorate the conferment of the Nobel peace prize on his holiness Dalai Lama, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tenzin Gyatso .
In the opening ceremony of 22nd festival, Sh Sonam Topgyal, the Home Minister of Tibetan government in exile lighted the holy lamp, along with Sh Ajay Singh, the President of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, Ram Swaroop, Secretary and Dawa Rinchvin, Event Co-ordinator.
Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), working to popularize the Tibetan culture among the youth commenced the show with four different dances, one each representing the four provinces of Tibet. The Himachal and Indian classical and folk dancers were also the pillars of the extravaganza. The Himachal folk singer Sunil Rana sung himachali folk song with his melodious voice but the highlight of the show was presentation by Indian classical dancer Guru Smriti Sharma and her disciples.
They started with Guru Vandana, followed by Shri Ganesha Vandana, Shiva stuthi. Visitors from other countries were speechless to see Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi dance with ‘Rass Bhava’ and ‘Mahisasur Mardani’ presentation were talk of the town and stood as prime attraction for photo journalists from the European media. Many foreigners rushed to Guru Smriti Sharma for an interview and asked many questions about ‘Goddess Durga’ and other characters.
The 2nd day of the festival was dedicated to folk dancers of Himachal and Himalayan region, Dances from Nepal represented by local Nepali community which were magnificent. The Himachali folk dance ‘Nati’ was also performed by a team from nearby city Dharamsala.
Prem Sagar compeered the show and while giving vote of thanks Omkar Nehria , Subash thanked one and all with a promise to organize more such shows in the days to come.