Shivaratri treat at Samskruthi
- G.Ulaganathan

March 16, 2017

On Mahashivaratri day, as the devoted Bangaloreans flock to temples in every locality, it is a different kind of journey for the classical dancers. For them all roads lead to Samskruthi, the residence of Bharatanatyam dancer Sathyanarayana Raju who has been organizing the whole night dance session by various artistes for the last few years. Samskruthi or the Temple of Art as he calls it is a beautiful open air theatre in front of his ancestral house in J.P. Nagar which is tastefully decorated by his disciples and the stage is a large one erected in the open courtyard.  The audience is seated on the floor on colourful mattresses and durries.

Sathyanarayana Raju


Sathyanarayana Raju’s students
The marathon session begins sharp at 6pm and this year Sathya himself presented an engaging item, “Parvati nayakane” in raga Shanmukhapriya in honour of Lord Shiva. The giant statue of Lord Nataraja and the tall brass lamp lit in front on one corner of the stage provide the ideal inspiration for all the dancers. Following their guru, the senior disciples of Sathya then went on to present an array of performances in raga Mohana and Sindhubhairavi and a bhajan in Ragamalika. They presented “Jaganmohana ne Krishna,” “Mahadeva Shiva Shambho” and “Om Shakti” with live vocal support provided by Vasudha Balakrishna and D.S Srivatsa. Nattuvangam was by Chaitra Jagadeesh. Lingaraju on mridangam and Karthik Sathavalli on flute completed the orchestra.

The other dancers of the evening/night included a brilliant Bharatanatyam solo by Suma Krishnamurthy, disciple of Dr. Lalitha Srinivasan followed by Geeta Sirisha, disciple of another  well-known male dancer Kiran Subramanyam. A break in dance was provided by a brief music concert by the students of Srivani Centre for Performing Arts. Next was a group performance by the students of Kalasindhu and disciples of Poornima Gururaj. Another highlight of the festival and probably the only Kuchipudi dance was by Gururaj, senior disciple of Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanti Kashi. He presented a number of traditional Kuchipudi items from the repertoire of Vyjayanti.

Some of the young dancers who had come all the way from outside Bangalore took over and entertained the sizeable audience which stayed on till the wee hours of the morning. A commendable effort by Sathyanarayana Raju who has been organizing this for the past thirteen years on his own, as a dance tribute to the lord of cosmic dance.  
G. Ulaganathan is a senior writer and journalist based in Bangalore.