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World Dance Day

The Bhavan, London celebrated World Dance Day on April 29, 2023. It was cause for much celebration for The Bhavan as well as the dancers as the event was revived at The Bhavan auditorium after a two-year break due to the pandemic.
The event proved a massive success. Dancers and dance schools travelled from across England to perform before a sellout audience. The themes chosen for this year were 'Dance in response to the climate change and the natural environment', and 'Dance in response to the increasing digitalisation of every aspect of today's life'.
The programme included a Bharatanatyam performance by Kavya Muralidharan, a classical Odissi piece by Katrina Rute and team, performances by Amritha Jayakrishnan and team, Satyam School of Dance and Music, Debanjali Biswas and her Manipuri dance ensemble, Samarpana Classical Arts, Cambridge, Divya Kasturi's Company of Young Talents, Asmitha Keer and team, Monidipa Seal and team and Abhinav Mishra and his Amun Bhachu team.
The general and folk segment began with a Bharatanatyam presentation by the Upahaar School of Dance, followed by a heart-warming emiclassical/Bollywood performance by an Edgware dance group of women over 50.
The audience was also treated to energetic folk dances by Ragasudha & Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence (Tribal), Garba folk dance group (Garba), London School of Hula and 'Ori (Hawaiian), Ponsita School of Dance (Tamil harvest folk), and Sarjan Nartan Academy (Rajasthani folk).


Sanskrit Scholar Awarded Honorary MBE

Dr. Mattur Nandakumara, a highly respected authority on Vedic literature, philosophy, mythology, and rituals, has been appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his services to the teaching, performance, and accessibility of Indian classical arts in the UK. He has actively promoted Sanskrit education and Indian culture in the UK and Europe for over four decades.
Dr. Nandakumara is the current Executive Director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (also known as The Bhavan) in London, UK and also been identified as one of the UK's top 100 most influential Asians for his role as an ambassador for India's art, culture, and philosophy.
Since 1977, Dr. Nandakumara has been associated with The Bhavan in London, where he has been teaching multiple Sanskrit courses ranging from introductory to expert-level courses in grammar, commentary, and discussion on the great literary texts.
Expressing his gratitude upon receiving the MBE award, Dr. Mattur Nandakumara said, -œI am deeply humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious recognition from His Majesty King Charles III. I am committed to continuing my efforts in teaching and making Indian classical arts accessible in the UK and the rest of the world. I am grateful for the support of my family, mentors, colleagues, and students, without whom this would not have been possible.-
Dr. Nandakumara's outstanding achievements in promoting and preserving Sanskrit education and Indian culture have been recognised with several awards, including the Kannada Rajyotsava Award in 2011, the Samskriti Seva Samman by Hindi Samiti UK for his contribution to Art and Culture, and the Award of Distinction in the field of Art and Culture in 2006, instituted by the India International Foundation and presented by Baroness Usha Prashar.
Dr. Nandakumara has contributed to promoting Indian culture in the UK by organising concerts for the benefit of The Bhavan featuring eminent artists like Pt Ravi Shankar, Pt Birju Maharaj, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Pt Jasraj, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Zakir Hussain, and Anoushka Shankar, among others. Since 1984, he has been responsible for presenting over eighty events every year, featuring eminent artists and scholars, many of whom have conducted workshops and lecture demonstrations.
Dr. Nandakumara's dedication, knowledge, and contribution to the promotion and preservation of Indian culture and Sanskrit education are an inspiration to all.


The Bhavan's Music Festival

For the past one year, The Bhavan, London has been celebrating its golden jubilee with a whole year of specially curated performances, workshops, and events.
As one of the finale events, on March 18, 2023 Pt. Kushal Das gave a Sitar recital, accompanied on the Tabla by Pt. Rajkumar Misra. On March 19, 2023 the Mysore Brothers gave a duet violin recital accompanied by Double Mridangam by Sri M Balachandar and Sri Bangalore Prakash.
The Mysore brothers and Pt. Kushal Das got together in a live conversation and interaction with the audience and threw light on the deeper insights and nuances of their respective instruments. The audience had the chance to ask them questions and gain their perspectives about their art forms.
The music festival concluded with a Hindustani vocal recital by Sri. Sanjeev Abhyankar on March 25, 2023 and a Karnatic vocal recital by P Unnikrishnan on March 26, 2023.


A Cultural Plethora

The last weekend of February 2023 at the Bhavan proved to be a treat for the London art lovers, with three different events on offer.
On February 24, 2023, Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence presented their production 'Shivoham', woven around the different aspects of Lord Shiva and his 'Sapta Tandava'. Dancers from different Indian classical genres came together to display the mythologies of Shiva and his dancing form. A brainchild of Ragasudha Vinjamuri, the evening was a spectacular display of Indian classical dance forms, music, and lyrics. Shri Amish Tripathi, Director of the Nehru Centre graced the occasion as chief guest.
On February 25, 2023, Smt. Punita Gupta, a star disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar, celebrated 50 years of her career as a sitarist with a special concert along with her students. As this coincided with the Bhavan's own golden jubilee year, it was an emotional occasion for all involved. Her students paid tribute to her excellence and dedication. The team received high praise for the quality of the performance, the organisation and curation of the event.
On February 26, 2023, the audience was treated to a special concert by 'The Carnatic Comfort Zone', the Berlin based German-Sri Lankan group led by the charismatic Sri Lankan singer and composer Manickam Yogeswaran and his team of musicians, a fusion of East and West.
The audience applauded the unique amalgam of Carnatic classical compositions with Western instruments and melodies. 
Members of the audience later remarked: -œIt was so harmonious and blended so beautifully. There was never a dull moment, and the interweaving of musical instruments was enchanting-.
Yogeswaran presented songs from 'Raghupati Raghava' and 'Thirupugal' to his own compositions for films in innovative ways that allowed all the instruments to play together and solo.



Over two weekends of February 2023, the Bhavan, London hosted the first instalment of a unique festival centred on the youth artistes currently training at the Bhavan.
The Bhavan's resident teachers in various subjects presented their disciples, showcasing the intensive training they receive in Indian Classical Performing Arts.
The festival took place on February 11, 12, and 19, 2023.
The first day saw performances from students of Hindustani vocal, tabla, and sitar. The second day showcased students presenting Carnatic vocal, veena, and Carnatic violin concerts, and the final day saw a dance extravaganza featuring upcoming talents in Odissi, Kathak and Bharatanatyam.
The audience was thrilled with the quality of the performances on all three days. The students were grateful to have the opportunity to present their talents in an event which was specially curated for them.


The Bhavan's Republic Day Celebrations 2023

On February 9, 2023, The Bhavan, London, organised a celebration of India's Republic Day. His Excellency Sri Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India, was the Chief Guest of Honour.
Lord Dholakia OBE PC (Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and Patron of The Bhavan), Shri Virendra Sharma MP, Cllr Daryl Brown (Deputy Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham), Mr Gopi Hinduja of the Hinduja group, Brigadier Vikramjit Singh Gill from the High Commission and Murli Ramadoss of Chellaram Foundation were among some of the dignitaries who graced the occasion with their presence.
The speeches by the dignitaries were followed by cultural performances by The Bhavan's music and dance students.


The Bhavan's Founder's Day 2023

The Bhavan celebrated its annual Founder's Day event on January 28-29, 2023. The weekend proved to be a visual and artistic treat.
Being the largest organisation for Indian classical arts in the UK, The Bhavan, London, boasts of over 700 students who come to train with the resident teachers for over 16 courses in music, dance and languages in a year; and the event showcased the very best in each department.
Students from the classical dance, music, instrumental and language courses performed on The Bhavan stage and presented their training and talent. The audience was treated to a variety of performances, which gave a glimpse not only into the depth and breadth of classical Indian arts, but also the rigorous training that The Bhavan invests in to produce the future torchbearers of our art forms. It was a chance for the public to applaud, appreciate and encourage the students and teachers for their dedication towards their art.
Students also received their certificates for successfully completing their diplomas and post-diplomas.
This year's event also gave a platform to other students training at The Bhavan to share their experiences and speak to the audience. It was refreshing to see people from all ages and all walks of life come together at The Bhavan for learning and immersing themselves in our classical arts.
The Saturday event began with a Sanskrit prayer by the Executive director Dr. Nandakumara and on Sunday, by Shri Raghu Nandakumara.
On Saturday Shri Nikhil Rajan, Manager, London Airport, Air India, was the chief guest and he spoke about the importance of inculcating the arts in our lives and its therapeutic effects. He also spoke about the continued support, partnership and friendship with Air India.
On Sunday, Mrs Candida Connolly, Chair of The Bhavan's Education Committee, was the chief guest and spoke briefly about the history of The Bhavan and the important work it has been doing to propagate Indian arts in the UK, while giving equal importance to the quality of training and performances.


Hindustani Music Festival

Bhavan's resident Hindustani vocal teacher Smt. Chandrima Misra presented her students in a dazzling display of talent. In this two-day festival conceived and organised by her, solos, duets, and group performances were presented by her students.
The first evening was titled 'Bhairav to Bhairavi' and showcased morning ragas.
The second evening took the audience on a journey through melodies that are sung in the evening. Chandrimaji dedicated the programme to her late mother, Smt. Gita Samanta who passed away last year.
It was indeed heartening to see the auditorium jam packed on both days, with a very warm and receptive audience. It was even more encouraging to see so many artists, ranging from 8-year-olds to adults, displaying their artistry and dedication.


Diwali Gala

On November 19, 2022, the annual Diwali Gala was held at the Biltmore Hotel in central London.
His Excellency Mr. Vikram Doraiswami, Indian high commissioner, was the Chief Guest. Mr. Rama Gheerawo was the Master of Ceremonies and kept up a lively interaction with the audience.
The event began with a vibrant percussion ensemble performance, followed by a short film documenting Bhavan's events and activities.
Mr. Krishnan Gurumurthy, lead anchor of Channel 4 News, spoke about his family's decades-long association with Bhavan and praised its role in not just propagating culture, but also bringing generations of Indian diaspora together to enjoy our classical arts.
Mr. Doraiswami spoke about how the arts are an integral part of the Indian way of life. The universal qualities of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram make up the concept of Dharma, echoing the words of the poet Keats when he says, 'Truth is beauty, beauty is truth.' He said that Bhavan is a synonym for all the above qualities and has preserved the unique spirit of our heritage while also innovating in the arts. 
Bhavan's dance students put on a wonderful performance showcasing the classical dances of Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and Odissi. 
The event was also attended by Amish Tripathi, Director of The Nehru Centre, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Usha Prashar, Lord Loomba, Mrs Seema Malhotra MP, and Mr Virendra Sharma MP among others.


Sri Joginder Sanger Felicitation

The Bhavan, London bid farewell to Sri Joginder Sanger, who retired from his position as the Chairman after years of service.
The evening began with prayers by Executive Director Sri. Mattur Nandakumara. Sri. Subhanu Saxena, who succeeded Joginderji as the Chairman, gave a warm welcome address. He expressed his gratitude to Joginderji for his leadership of many decades and his selfless service to The Bhavan. He felt it was a great challenge to walk the path set out by Dalalji and Joginderji.
The felicitation speeches were given by Sri Virendra Sharma (Member of Parliament), Lord Dholakia OBE PC (Patron of The Bhavan UK), Lord Swraj Paul PC (Patron of The Bhavan UK), Barry Gardener MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Sri Varinder Singh (Executive Committee Member, The Bhavan UK), Mr Gopichand Hinduja (Industrialist), Sri Indra Sethia (Executive Committee Member) and by Executive Director Dr. Mattur Nandakumara.
Nandaji also welcomed Sri. S. Subhanu as The Bhavan's new Chairman.
Joginderji responded to all the felicitations and shared a few of his thoughts, reminiscing on his long journey at The Bhavan. He felt it was the greatest honour to serve The Bhavan, a place where everyone who has love for Indian culture is always openly welcomed. He felt that by serving The Bhavan he was serving himself.
The Bhavan's students presented a short cultural programme.




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