By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 16 Apr: ‘Virasat Art and Heritage Festival 2022’ was inaugurated by Dr Alka Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC at the Dr BR Ambedkar Stadium (Kaulagarh Road). Guest of Honor, Dr Alka Mittal, Managing Director of ONGC, and Chief Guest, DGP Uttarakhand Ashok Kumar lit the ceremonial lamp. Virasat this year is dedicated to the memory of Late Sanjeev Kumar Singh, IPS, Founder member of REACH and Late Rajashri Joshi, Executive member of REACH. Alok Gupta MD OVL, gracefully thanked REACH and ONGC for the astounding program that enriches the cultural kaleidoscope of the city. He reminisced about his childhood spent in Dehradun. DGP Ashok Kumar applauded Virasat and its members for their dedication to this astonishing cause. The first woman to become ONGC’s Chairman and MD, Dr Mittal received the ‘Virasat Samman’ for her remarkable contributions to the festival over the years. Dr Mittal embarked upon her speech with a long and strong connection between Virasat and ONGC. She recollected her time spent attending Virasat and she thanked all artists and performers for their immense contribution to the art, culture and heritage of our country. Moving forward, Cholia, a martial and processional dance from Kumaon was showcased. It is a sword dance usually accompanying a marriage procession, now performed on many auspicious occasions. Especially popular in the districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat and Pithoragarh of the Kumaon division it has even spread to the Garhwal division. Furthermore, it is popular in the Baitadi and Darchula districts of Nepal. Under the able guidance of Sangeeta Sharma, Anveshana Dance Theatre presented a confluence of various classical dance forms featuring Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Chhau, Kalaripayattu and Indian contemporary dances. For this 15 -day festival, stalls have also been set up by merchants from different provinces of India where visitors can enjoy its diversity. The set-up mainly includes stalls of different cuisines, handlooms and handicrafts from India, Afghan dry fruits, traditional crockery, Indian wooden crafts and bamboo crafts from Nagaland along with other stalls. REACH was established in 1995 in Dehradun and has continued to organise the Virasat Festival ever since. Its aim is simply to preserve the value and essence of Indian art, culture and heritage and to bring these cultural values to the masses. Virasat has been instrumental in reviving many rural arts which were once on the verge of extinction due to lack of audiences. The festival has played an important role in preserving and reviving our village traditions, music, dance, crafts, painting, sculpture, theatre, storytelling, traditional cuisine, etc. and bringing them into practice in these modern times, because of which our classical and contemporary arts have started being recognized once again. Virasat 2022 promises to mesmerize you and take you on an unforgettable and enthralling musical and cultural journey!