Russian band Ramayana captivates audiences at Ayodhya’s Deepotsav celebrations

The universal theme of the victory of good over evil has made the Ramayana epic popular all over the world. This was evident in Ayodhya as 120 artists from eight countries performed the epic as a dance ballet during the ongoing sixth edition of Deepotsav celebrations in Ayodhya yesterday.

The Disha, an Indo-Russian friendship society based in Moscow, and the Padma Shri Gennady Mikhailovich Pechnikov Memorial Ramlila direct the performance of the Ramayana by foreign artists. The performance of the 12-member Russian troupe captivated the audience.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the guest of honor at the Ram Leela celebrations in Ayodhya today and the performance by the Russian band is part of it. The Prime Minister will perform pooja and other rituals of the Ram deity Lalla Virajman and also visit the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra site where the Ram Janmabhoomi temple is being constructed.

A scene from the show

This Russian team of Ram Leela which has been performing for several years is unique in its kind in Europe. The group performed for the first time in Ayodhya from November 4 to 6, 2018 during Deepotsav celebrations. They also performed at Prayagraj during Kumbh in 2019.

The producer and director of the show who is also the head of Disha informed that Yogi Adityanath government provided them a platform in India to showcase the Russian Ramlila. Speaking to The Hindu, he said: “This year the visit is more special as we are returning to Ayodhya after the pandemic and as we want to highlight the close friendship between the two parties amid the special military operation that Russia leads in Ukraine.”

Sharing production details, its co-director Aleksandra Koneva said the performance will include the war between Lord Ram and Ravan; meeting of Lord Ram and Sita; his return to Ayodhya; the swayamvar of Sita; Kaikeyi asking for her three wishes; exile of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman; Ravana abducting Sita; and Lord Hanuman in Lanka apart from other episodes.

Russian Ramayana in Ayodhya3
The Russian Ramayana was first performed in Ayodhya in 2018

The lead roles of Lord Ram and Sita are played by Ildar Khusnullin and Milana Bychonek respectively. Other performers include Nadezda Singh as Kaushalya; Rati Kosinova as Sumitra; Gulnara Isakova as Kaikeyi; Alexei Fleyjanikav as Lakshman; and Vaychislav Chernyash as Ravan.

Lord Hanuman will be played by Kushnerova while Sugreev by Artem Zubkov and King Dashrath by the Danish Shevtsov.

Besides Russia, artists from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Nepal and Fiji perform Ram Leela in Ayodhya.

Launched in 2017, Deepotsav encourages foreign artists to stage the Ramayana.

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