Vivekananda Utsav at Khetri

by Vinod Joshi
Nagada Band plays with the majestic Smriti Mandir in backdrop

Dancing Peacock Partnered Ramakrishna Mission to organise Ajit-Vivekananda Maitri Utsav.

Khetri, a historical town in Jhunjhunu district in north-eastern Rajasthan, is home to over 20 thousand people. It is well known for its copper reserves and mining project of Hindustan Copper Limited.

Stage is set for the first evening concert
Stage is set for the first evening concert

Khetri was founded in mid eighteenth century and has rich built heritage in its fort, beautiful havelis (mansions), temples and other community structures. The town also had a great significance in the life of Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji visited Khetri a number of times and stayed here as a guru and inspiration to Raja Ajit Singh Bahadur (1861-1901) was a ruler of this princely state.

A full house on the first evening enjoying the Terahtali performance
A full house on the first evening enjoying the Terahtali performance

In 1958, Raja Ajit Singh’s grandson, Raja Bahadur Sardar Singh donated the palace where Swami Vivekananda had his holy stay to the Ramakrishna Mission. Here the first branch of the Mission was established in Rajasthan, and this palatial building, rich with Swamiji’s memory, has been named as: Vivekananda Smriti Mandir.

Graceful Kathak Performance
Graceful Kathak Performance

Dancing Peacock was invited to partner in organising of Ajit-Vivekananda Maitri Utsav at 29-30-31 July 2022 to celebrate the association of Swami Vivekanand with Ajit Singh.

Dancing Peacock designed and organised a variety of music and dance performances at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Smriti Mandir and many other locations in Khetri town. It also carried out a community engagement programme, especially for schoolchildren inviting them for the festival.

Manganiyar Group from Barmer
Manganiyar Group from Barmer

Evening of Day-1 at the Vivekananda Smriti Mandir witnessed Dhol & Bagpipe recital by artists from Suratgarh and Terahtali Dance performance by artistes from Marwar region of Rajasthan.

On the second day, a packed house – dignitaries from across the country to local residents including children in large numbers – enjoyed the main concert of the festival. This included a powerful performance by a Nagada-Shankh-Jhaanjh Band from Pushkar and Kathak recital by a troupe of Lucknow Gharana followed by a concert by renowned Manganiyar Group from Barmer in western Rajasthan.

Dancing Peacock's community outreach ensured excellent participation from residents
Dancing Peacock’s community outreach ensured excellent participation from residents

The festival concluded on the morning of the third day with Santon ki Vaani, a devotional concert by a folk group from Madhya Pradesh that recited the songs of Mirabai, Surdas, Kabirdas and Ravidas. This concert was organised in the most pristine setting of Panna Shah Talab, a restored step-well in the backdrop of lush green hills.

Sunrise concert at the Panna Shah Talab
Sunrise concert at the Panna Shah Talab

This is to place on record our appreciation and thanks to Dancing Peacock for organising three days long cultural festival – Ajit Vivekananda Maitri Utsav – on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The Programmes were well attended by people of Khetri and guests from all over the India and were appreciated by all.

Swami Atmanishthanand
Secretary
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Smriti Mandir

Swami Atmanishthanand, Secretary, Vivekananda Smriti Mandir (second from left) with Vinod Joshi of Dancing Peacock (right)

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