Spiritualism and tradition are modern day lost causes; you’re always too caught up with today to ever look inside, or look back. Isha Foundation, through its annual cultural extravaganza, Yakshas, aims to rectify that.
Fearful of alienation of roots from the culture, Yakshas has been organized to showcase the specialties of Indian performing arts. Spread over a week – this year, from 13th to the 19th of February – the festival incorporates musical performances of varying styles – like Hindustani, bhajan, thumri – as well as virtuoso dance and instrument recitals.
This year, for example, the festival organizers have enlisted performances by sarod maestro, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, famed Bharatnatyam exponent and Padma Shri awardee, Alarmel Valli, legendary violinist, L. Subramaniam, and pop icon Shubha Mudgal, amongst other luminaries.
The ambience at Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple, situated at the Isha Yoga Centre at the verdant Velliangiri foothills 30 kms from Coimbatore, promises to behove such a celestial gathering of artists. There will also be performers of veritably lower profiles doing their thing too, mingling in with the stardust.
Yakshas ends with the protracted Mahashivrathri celebrations, in glory of one of the most auspicious (and reportedly, the darkest) night of the Hindu calendar. Stellar arrangements are rumored to be such on this night that there is a general upsurge in human energy levels. Yogic traditions preach one to stay up all through the Mahashivratri, to attain spiritual catharsis.
What might make it easier would be to know what a great line-up of musical acts is in store for these celebrations, scheduled to begin around 5.40 pm on 19th February, as per galactic auspices. Kailash Kher and Colonial Cousins are the most eye catching entries on the list. But only because Wasiffudin Dagar, the other big name on the roster, hasn’t been on TV as much. He boasts of a terrific lineage, having allegedly descended from Swami Haridas Dagar, who was Tansen’s teacher.
At exactly midnight, there will be the Annadhanam, an act of charity and goodwill that serves free food to anybody who wants it. The food is prepared and served by volunteers at Isha and gives their intentions the truest halo.
The celebrations will end the following morning, hopefully on a pretty euphoric note. Getting there shouldn’t be a hassle, considering the venue’s proximity to Coimbatore. Rail, air and bus connectivity is sorted right there. The only question is, will you do it for you?
If you’re still doubtful about travelling, the Mahashivrathri celebrations will also be telecast live on Aastha Channel