Katha Kali-an over view

Kathakali: the Classical Dance of God's Own Country

Kathakali, literally means `story-play', is a dance-drama originated in the 17th century in Kerala, one of the smallest and most beautiful states in India lying on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. It was given its present form by Mahakavi Vallathol Narayan Menon, who was the founder of the Kerala Kala Mandalam. Elements of music, dance , painting, poetry and drama beautyfuly blended in a unique way to make this art form stand out amongst other classical dance forms. Kathakali has evolved from classical dance forms such as Koodiyattam and also imbibed elements of several folk art forms that existed in Kerala. The many aspects of traditional rituals and ceremonies that Kathakali picked up on its evolutionary course from various folk arts, has since then become its integral part. Kathakali is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The elaborate costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognised icon for Kerala

It was one of the Rajas (Chieftain) of Kottarakkara, who wrote the first play intended for Kathakali performance. They form a cycle of eight stories based on Ramayana. The performance for each story was designed to last for six to eight hours and the performed stories were then known as Ramanattom (play pertaining to Rama), which later came to be called as Kathakali. Stories based on other epics and puranas were added to its repertoire in later period. A vivid picture of the nature of performance of Kathakali in the past is not known. However, it is said that in the beginning the actors themselves used to sing the text while performing. Masks were elaborately used for some characters and percussion was limited to a Chenda, Shuddha Maddalam (two headed barrel shaped drum), a Chengila (metal gong) and Elathalam (a pair of cymbals). Among the better known Kathakali play writes are Kottarakara Thampuran, the author of the above mentioned Ramayana Stories; Kottayam Thampuran, who wrote four stories based on Mahabharatha; Irayamman Thampi, who was both a good poet and composer, accredited three stories; Unnayi Warrier, the author of Nalacharitham (Story of King Nala); and Vayaskara Moosad who wrote one of the popular stories - Duryodhana Vadham.

The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature. They typically deal with the Mahabarat, the Ramayana and the ancient scriptures known as the Puranas. This is performed in a text which is generally Sanskritised Malayalam. A Kathakali performance is a major social event. They generally start at dusk and go through out the night. Kathakali is usually performed only by men. Female characters are portrayed by men dressed in women's costume. However, in recent years, women have started to become Kathakali dancers


  1. Vettathu Sampradayam
  2. Kalluvazhi Sampradayam
  3. Kaplingadu Sampradayam.

The latest Sampradyam is Kalluvazhy Sampradayam which is implemented in Kerala kalamandalam, Sadanam and Kottakkal. By selecting attractive attams from the Kaplingadu Sampradayam(Thekkan styles) and Kalladikkodan Sampradayam (old Vadakkan styles) and named as Kalluvazhi Sampradayam. Now Kalluvazhi Sampradayam is known as vadakkan style and Kalladikkodan Sampradayam is vanished. In Kalamandalam thekkan style of Kathakali training also included.

Unique Features

The three unique and striking features that make Kathakali an unparalleled form of performing art are

1. Sophisticated language of Mudras : with 24 basic Mudras (hand and finger gestures ) Kathakali h as a total sophisticated language. When the drama is enacted on the stage, Kathakali characters communicate with each other through this sophisticated language, body movements and facial express ions. 600 to 700 gestures are there in common use.

2. Complete control of the eye balls and the different muscles in the face, so that the different emotions could be expressed and exhibited in a superb manner. (For instance the Kathakali artistes can rotate the eyeballs clockwise or anti-clockwise from corner to corner both ways etc.)

3. Flexibility and complete control of all part of the body. This is achieved by intensive physical training and oil massaging (Uzhichil) of the body. It takes years for a Kathakali artist to master the above said features.


The name Kathakali derives from the Malayalam words "katha" (meaning story) and "kali" (meaning play)

Classical elements of Kathakali

Kathakali is considered to be a combination of five elements of fine art:
1. Natyam
................(Expressions, the component with emphasis on facial expressions)
2. Nritham
................(Dance, the component of dance with emphasis on rhythm and movement of hands, legs and body)
3. Nrithyam
...............(Enactment, the element of drama with emphasis on "mudras", which are hand gestures)
...............(Song/Vocal accompaniment)
..............(Instrument accompaniment)

Even though the lyrics/literature would qualify as another independent element called "Sahithyam", it is considered as a component of Geetha, as it plays only a supplementary role to Nritham, Nrithyam and Natyam.

In olden days Kathakali pe rformance mostly took place on a temple premises or at the house of a local land lord. For a typical performance, a simple temporary pandal (canopy made of thatched roof) at a height of 101/2 feet will be erected. A minimum of 12 feet-square (144 sq. feet) is needed for the acting area. A green room will also be located close to the stage. The stage will be decorated with coconut leaves, bunches of areca nuts etc. The only source of light is a big bell metal lamp placed down the center stage called "Aatta Vilakku or Kali Vilakku"(“kali”= dance; “vilakku”= lamp). Traditionally, the lamp used to provide light when the plays used to be performed. The level of the stage used to be the same as that of the ground where people used to squat while witnessing the performance.

Kelikottu at about 6 `o clock in the evening will announce the performance of the evening. Kelikottu is a brief passage of drumming involving Chenda, Maddalam, Chengila and Elathalam. The actual performance will begin only between 9:00 - 10:00 PM. Arrangukeli will announce the beginning of the performance. This is a passage of drumming, which is followed by Thodayam, a piece of abstract dance at the same time are invocatory in nature. Thodayam is performed by junior actors in the group with simple make-up. Recitation of Vandanaslokam (Prayer Song), followed by Purappad - traditionally a preliminary item introducing the main character of the story in full costume and make-up. However, now-a-days it is mostly Krishna and Balarama who are presented, sometime with their spouses in this introductory dance. Next is the Melappadam, which is a musical piece where vocalists and the drum mers are given opportunity to show their skill without depending on the actors. Then the story or part of the stories proposed are enacted which may last till dawn. The end of the performance is marked by a piece of pure dance called Dhanasi.


Kathakali is a dance-drama in which a high degree of stylization is seen in the method of acting, presentation, make-up and costuming. Realism is limited only to certain characters. The acting mod e of Kathakali in its totality can be better understood in terms of four fold scheme of historic representation given in Natyasastra. They are:

1. Angika - pertaining to the body and its limbs.
2. Vachika - relating to the vocal including proper pronunciation, modulation of voice accents and percussion.

3. Satvika - representation of psychic condition.

4. Ahraya - costume, make-up, stage props etc.

Angika Abhinaya: This involves the whole body of the actor and included an elaborate scheme of facial expression, mime, gestures, accompanied by their appropriate movements, poses and attitudes. Dance passages known as Kalasams have an important role to play in Kathakali. While sustaining as a pure dance, it is also meant to enhance the appropriate bhavas. Hand gestures is another integral part of Angika since the interpretation of the text is mainly conveyed through this. Hastalakshna Deepika is the regional text on the Hastas (hand gestures) mainly used in Kathakali.

Vachika Abh inaya: One of the distinguishing characteristic of Kathakali is that the actors do not speak. Vachika (drama text in the form of verses and songs) are recited and sung by vocalists. These songs are explained and interpreted in details by actors through an elaborate method of angikabhinaya which consists of highly codified gestures, facial expression, and body movements. The vocal music in Kathakali although based on the Karnatic (South Indian) system has developed a distinct regional style called Sopanasangeetham. Its main aim is the evocation of the appropriate, dramatic mood and sentiments.

Satvika Abhinaya: A highly stylized technique in the invocation of bhava has been developed in Kathakali. This is called Rasabhinava. Indian dramatic theory explain 9 kinds of basic sentiments, Rasa with a corresponding sthayi bhava (emotional stayi mood). They are:

Sringaaram (amour), Haasyam (ridicule, humour), Bhayam (fear), Karunam (pathos), Rowdram (anger, wrath), Veeram (valour), Beebhatsam (disgust), Adbhutham (wonder, amazement), Saantham (tranquility, peace). The link at the end of the page gives more details on Navarasas.
Sthayi Bhava

Sringara (EROTIC) Rati (LOVE) Hasya (COMIC, HUMOR) Hasa (LAUGHTER) Karuna (PATHETIC) Soka (SORROW) Raudra (FURIOUS) Krodha (ANGER) Veera (HEROIC) Visaha (ENERGY, HEROISM) Bhaya naka (TERRIBLE) Bhayam (FEAR) Atbhutam (MARVELOUS) Vismayam (ASTONISHMENT) Sandham (SERENE) Sama (TRANQUILLITY)

Through a systematic process of practice an actor gain a full control of the facial muscles which enables him to express the bhavas. Apart from the above sets of emotional moods Natyasastra lists another set of 8 moods which is called Satvika Bhavas compared to Angikabhinaya t his is more subtle and involuntary. Through an internal discipline an actor develops his ability in mastering this action technique. This will help the actor to go deeper into the characterization of the role in proper situation in the play.

Aharya Abhinaya:- The make-up and costuming is another important factor of the dance-drama. Such an elaborate system is rarely found elsewhere. The characters in Kathakali are types. As such characters are classified under 5 major types. According to their nature. They are: Pacca (Green), Kathi (Knife), Thaadi (Beard), Kari (Black), Munukku (Shining)

Kathakali plays

Traditionally there are 101 classical Kathakali stories. Most of them were initially composed to last a whole night. Nowadays the re is increasing popularity for concise versions of every story (lasting 2-4 hours instead of a whole night), which has been made by selecting the most dramatic or popular portions of individual stories. In spite of being a classical art form, Kathakali can be appreciated by novices and connoisseurs. This is because of the frequent use of “Lokadharmi” (or the elaboration of folk elements)which allows novices to gain a foothold when they start watching Kathakali. In contrast “Natyadharmi” (which is based on the Natyasastra-the science of Natya and is the more classical component of the art form) delights the experience of novices and connoisseurs alike. It is good to have an idea of the story being enacted. This will help the spectators to appreciate the “personalization” of characters by individual actors. In fact one of the major attractions for traditional Kathakali connoisseurs is their ability to distinguish and debate on the "personalizations" that each actor brings about in his depiction of the story. Often this is a challenging task as most the characters and stories are derived from Hindu epics, which are memorized for people from that region. Success/ failure of amateur Kathakali artistes is often decided by their sensibility to successfully personalize characters. The most popular stories enacted are Nala Charitam (a story from the Mahabharata, Duryodhana Vadham (a story from the Mahabharata), Kalyanasowgandhikam (the story of Bhima going to get flowers for Panchali, from the Mahabharata), Keechaka Vadham (another story of Bhima and Panchali, from the Mahabharata), Kiratham (Arjuna and Lord Shiva's fight, from the Mahabharata), Karna Shapadham (another story from Mahabharata). Recently, as part of an attempt at popularizing the art, stories from other cultures, such as the story of Mary Magdalene from the B ible, Homer's The Iliad, and Shakespeare's King Lear have also been adapted into Kathakali scripts.

Music (Sangeetham)

Music The language of the songs used for Kathakali is a mix of Malayalam and Sanskrit. called Manipravaalam. Even though the songs are set for “ragas” based on South Indian Classical Music” (Karnatic Music), there is a distinct style of rendition, which is known as the “sopanam” style. The Sopanam style incorporates the moods of temple songs which used to be sung (continues even now at some temples) at the time when Kathakali was born.

Enactment of a play by actors takes place to the accompaniment of music (geetha) a nd instruments (vadya). The percussion instruments used are Chenda, Maddalam and Edakka. In addition the singers (usually the lead singer is called “ponnani” and his follower is called “singidi”) use "Chengala" (a round disc made of bell metal, which can be struck with a wooden stick) and "Ilathaalom" (a pair of cymbals). The lead singer in some sense uses the Chengala to conduct the Vadyam and Geetha components, just as a conductor uses his wand in western classical music. A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the actors never speak and use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of dialogue.

Make-up ( Chutty)

The costume is the most distinctive characteristic of Kathakali. The makeup is very elaborate and the costumes are very large and heavy. One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code. Most often, the make-up can be classified into five basic sets namely Pacha, Kathi, Kari, T haadi, and Minukku. The differences between these sets are the predominant colors that are applied on the face. Pacha (Pacha=green) has green as the dominant color and is used to portray noble heroic and devine male characters who is said to have a mixture of "Satvik" (pious)and "Rajasic" (kingly) nature, eg; Krishna, Arjuna etc. Kathi (Knife) is used to Rajasic characters having an evil streak ("tamasic"= evil), such as the demon king Ravana, Duryodhana are portrayed with red as the predominant color in a green background. These are heroic charecters but lustful with arogant in nature. Thaadi (Beard) is for excessively evil and villainous characters such as demons (totally tamasic) have a predominantly red make-up and a red beard. They are called Chuvanna Thaadi (Red Beard). Kari: Tamasic characters such as uncivilized hunters are represented with a predominantly black make-up base and a black beard and are called Kari/ Karutha Thaadi (meaning black beard).

Minukku (Shining): All female (ecepct Demoness in their orginal form) and ascetics have lustrous, yellowish faces and form the fifth class. For example Brahmins, Sage, Messangers, Charioteer etc.

Teppu (Special make-up): This costume is using for portraying Birds, Bheeru (Coward) etc.

In addition there are modifications of the five basic sets described above such as Vella Thaadi (white beard) used to depict Hanuman (the monkey god) and Pazhuppe, which is used for the Sun God.

The make up is made from various mineral ores and pigments. The materials that comprise the makeup is all locally available. The white is made from rice flour, the red is made from Vermilion (a red earth such as cinnabar). The black is made from soot. They are ground on a stone and mixed with coconut oil before being applied on the face. Some characters also have their features enhanced, such as an enlarged nose or an elaborate mustache. There are made using elaborately cut paper which is stuck to the face with a mixture of rice paste and calcium carbonate. Dancers also often place a "chundanga seed" (variety of eggplant which bears small fruits) under their lower eyelid before the performance to turn the white of their eyes red. In fact the "chundanga" is not really a seed and is prepared by removing the ovaries at the base of the flowers of this plant. The procedure used for preparing these seeds involves the rubbing of a bunch of these in your palm until they become black (starting from a white color) and nearly dehydrated. They often last long enough for a season (of around four months) in this condition. The colours are not merely decoration, but are also a means of portraying characters. For instance, red on the feet is used to symbolise evil character and evil intent.

A major part of the face make-up is done by the actor himself. However, specially trained artists are entrusted to apply Chutty (framing the face with white paper and rice paste). Design vary according to the type of a characters. A close observation on Aharya aspect of Kathakali would reveal the highest level of aesthetic imagination conceived by our predecessors.


A Kathakali actor uses immense concentration, skill and physical stamina, gained from training based on Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala, to prepare for his demanding role. Training can often last for 8-10 years. The training programme is intensive. In Kathakali, the story is enacted purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements.

The expressions are derived from Natyasatra (the science of expressions) and are classified into nine as in most Indian classical art forms. Dancers also undergo special practice sessions to learn control of their eye movements. There are 24 main mudras and numerous other lesser mudras. Each can again can be classified into 'Samaana-mudras'(one mudra symbolizing two entities) or misra-mudras (both the hands are used to show these mudras). The mudras are a form of sign language used to tell the story. The main facial expressions of a Kathakali artist are the 'navarasams' ( 'Navarasas' in anglicised form )(literal translation: Nine Tastes, but more loosely translated as nine feelings or expressions) which are Sringaaram (amour), Haasyam (ridicule, humour), Bhayam (fear), Karunam (pathos), Rowdram (anger, wrath), Veeram (valour), Beebhatsam (disgust), Adbhutham (wonder, amazement), Saantham (tranquility, peace). The link at the end of the page gives more details on Navarasas.


classical, it only scores modestly. It is definitely old, but this is one of the least important of the criteria. It is nIs Kathakali classical? If we look at our benchmarks to see if it isot necessarily something that upper classes use to define their identity, indeed the opposite is probably true. Its most glaring deficiency is seen in its inability to transcend its attachments to the Keralite community. The average Indian (non-Malayali) has only a vague knowledge that it exists, and will live their entire life without ever even seeing a Kathakali performance. Therefore from a sociological standpoint it is probably more correct to call Kathakali "traditional" instead of classical.

Renowned training centers for Kathakali

The most popular Kathakali artists have obtained their training from one the four centers below, which follow the traditional "gurukula" style. Moreover these four centers are the oldest ones with some of them present from pre-independent era of India.

Kerala Kalamandalam (located in Cheruthuruthy, near Shoranur, Kerala)

PSV Natya Sanghom (located in Kottakal, near Kozhikode, Kerala)

Gandhi Seva Sadan Kathakali and Classic Arts Academy (located in Perur, near Palakkad, Kerala)

Unnayi Varier Smaraka Kalanilayam (located in Iringalakuda, near Thrissur, Kerala)

There also several new centers, but they are relatively new compared to these old schools where masters of the art such as Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair (recipient of prestigious Kalidas award) and Keezhpadom Kumaran Nair (recipients of prestigious Padmashree award) and contemporaries trained their disciples.

Margi Kathakali Vidyalayam and Kalabharathi Kathakali Vidyalayam, FACT Kathakali School, RLV Kathakali vidyalayam, Trippunitura also conducting Kathakali classes.

The Best Moments in Life

1. Falling in love.
2. Watching the sunset.
3. Laughing at yourself.
4. Laughing without a reason.
5. Laughing till your stomach hurts.
6. Enjoying a ride down the country side.
7. Seeing the one you love happy.
8. Being a part of an interesting conversation.
9. Finding some money in some old pants.
10. Receiving or giving your first kiss.
11. Having a great time with your friends.
12. Sharing a wonderful dinner with best friends.
13. "Accidentally" hearing someone say something good about you.
14. Listening to your favorite song on the radio.
15. Listening to a song that reminds you of an important person in your life.
16. Getting out of the shower and wrapping yourself with a warm, fuzzy towel.
17. Feeling this buzz in your body when seeing this "special" someone.
18. Going to sleep listening to the rain pouring outside.
19. Passing your final exams with good grades.
20. Wearing the shirt of a person you love and smelling his/her perfume.
21. Visiting an old friend of yours and remembering great memories.
22. Hearing someone telling you "I LOVE YOU"

"True friends come in the good times when we tell them to, and come in the bad times.....without calling."

Let it be a lesson for the Mobilemaniacs

See what a cell (mobile) can do

Mobile Cooking: Cook an Egg with Mobile Phones

I am introducing a novel method for cocking Egg using your mobile phone. The method is so simple and it will take only few minutes. I am reafering this as online moble cooking of Egg. Yes, it is right you can cook with your mobile phone, its funny and interesting!

For this novel coockiing method you need two mobile phones with working SIM card, a voce source like radio or CD or casette player, an egg bowl, and an Egg either you can choose fresh Egg or take from your refrigerator. For the selection of Egg bowl you should take soem care just select a bowl which can be use in microwave oven. Should not use steel bowls or any other metal. Bowl made of Wood, ceramic, glass or plastic or melamin is fine.
The cooking steps are as below.

1. Turn it on your radio and set the volume to a comfortable level.

2. Keep the the egg with bowl in the middle of the table.

3. Keep the first Phone on the table so that the antenna is about 0.5 inch from the egg.

4. Make a call to first phone from second phone and place it on the table on other side of the egg.

5. Make sure the antenna of teh second phone is facing the egg and about 0.5 inch away.

6. Answer from the first phone without moving it from its position on the table.

Now don't hang up either of the phones. Allow them to sit there "talking" to eachother - this is how the egg gets cooked.

Cooking time may vary from phone to phone, and is depends on the power output of your phones. To give you an idea, if both phones had an output of 3 Watts, then it would take approximately 2 minutes to cook a large free range egg. You can adjust the cooking times according to your phone output. The cooking time will be proportional to the inverse square of the output power for a given distance from egg to phone.

After cooking, turn off both of the phones. Remove the shell and enjoy your mobile-cooked egg!

The immediate radiation of the mobiles has the potential to modify the proteins of the egg. Imagine what it can do with the proteins of your brains when you do long calls.

For more Readings

Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

The Video Clip, a compleate introduction

The Basic Informations

When I was in Indin Istitute of Technology, New Delhi (IITD), with more than ample time to spare and running out of places to visit, I decided to include the much talked about, newest attraction of Delhi. With this is mind, hoped into an auto after taking a metro ride to Connaught Place, and it faithfully landed me right at the doorstep of the huge 'Temple Premises' (Working in Hitech City this is the easiest similie that came to my mind, need not be the best or the most appropriate). The Temple compound was almost immeasurably huge spread over 100 acres, much larger than the Infosys People Factories constructed across the country.

The first thing that crosses one's mind or rather that should cross the mind is the name of the mandir, Akshardham. The very sound of it proposes great meaning to the plenary nomenclature. Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades. The entire tour of the mandir can be considered to consist of the following sub itenaries for every darshanarthee or devotee.
The magnificent Central Monument, other Monuments of religious importance, like the foot prints or the ten doors Hall of Values (Paid) – 45 mins, Audio Animatronics show IMAX Screen Film on Neelkanth (Paid) – 40 mins movie, Boat Ride through the Indian Heritage artifacts and models(Paid) – 12 mins.

The beautiful monument built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities. The monument is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble, where pink stone symbolizes bhakti in eternal bloom and white marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace.

Akshardham was created by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in fulfillment to the wish of his guru, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth successor in the spiritual hierarchy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In only a short timespan of five years Swaminarayan Akshardham became a reality through the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 300 million man hours of epic services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans and the immense sacrifice, austerities, prayers of hundreds of thousands of young and old devotees of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

The specifications of the monument are as follows
Height: 141.3 ft
Width: 316 ft
Length: 356 ft
The roof has intricate carvatures which have the power to mesmerize any roaming sight. There are many other splendid monuments like the fore mentioned. The star attraction of the whole tour however is the three paid audio visual shows, which are so superbly crafted that they take you to a different realm altogether, almost making you feel that you are transported to the time when Neelkanth quit his home in search of truth.

Hall of Values
Sahajanand Darshan
Audio Animatronics Show

Experience the timeless messages of Indian culture featured through the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The principle theme of sculpting one’s life for happiness, success and peace of mind is portrayed in this exhibition. The exhibits portray the messages of ahimsa, endeavor, prayer, morality, vegetarianism, family harmony, etc. through fifteen 3-D dioramas and presentations from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Exquisite settings and statues in each diorama are brought to life through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting the audience to 18th century India. Unique 3-D dioramas and walk-through dioramas. Statues come to life through animatronic technology. A fresh experience, a new message and a novel presentation in every diorama.

Giant Screen Film
Neelkanth Darshan
85' X 65' Sc

Unique Features
A large format Epic on a scale never seen before. A period film that transports you back to 18th Century India. Experience India's intricate architecture, colorful festivals, traditional rituals, fascinating peoples and landscapes. A land of ancient civilization. An amazing true story that has the power to inspire millions across generations. 11-year-old child, 7 years, 8,000 miles, one incredible journey. Filmed in over 100 locations all over India, from the freezing Himalayas to the scorching deserts. A cast of 45,000.

About the Film

Mystic India rediscovers India, a land of many mysteries and fascinations, the one land that all desire to see. Home of the Himalayas, the tallest mountains, India is our world's largest and oldest democracy, and contains an amazing wealth of wisdom, culture and spirituality. And within this earliest civilization known to mankind, lie hidden mystical secrets. It lies hidden in India’s silent spirituality, making her a mystic land of meditation, contemplation and enlightenment. For thousands of years, many have willingly left the comforts of their home and family and set off across this spiritual land in search of these secrets. Their aim has been to reach a deeper understanding of existence and share the meaning of life that would elevate the rest of humanity. Of all such journeys, perhaps none is greater than the true story of an 11-year old child yogi, Neelkanth, who took an extraordinary journey through the wonders of mystic India. An adventure of hardships and survival, faith and fearlessness undertaken by a child. The only one of its kind in the history of mankind.

Film Synopsys

On June 29, 1792, Neelkanth begins his journey of awakening. Having resolved to embrace the challenges of nature, he leaves his home in the city of Ayodhya. Neelkanth walks alone into the cold stormy night, wearing nothing over his shoulders or under his feet, carrying nothing - no maps, no money, no food - except inner courage, confidence and a silent spiritual strength. At the Saryu River, he enters the cold, raging current. Neelkanth is swept away, leaving behind all that was familiar. Neelkanth's footprints begin to map the length and breadth of India - its dense jungles, fertile plains, majestic mountains, mighty rivers, and peaceful coastlines. Flourishing for more than 8,000 years, this land has been home to an ancient and highly advanced civilization.


Neelkanth's walk would last for 7 years, 12,000 kilometers, covering every corner of India. On the banks of the Ganges, Neelkanth takes part in the Harki Pedhi Arti (The Ceremony of Lamps) at Haridwar. For thousands of years, Hindus have gathered here to pay their respects to India's most sacred river. A priest notices Neelkanth in the distance and desires to meet him. Neelkanth poses a riddle to the priest, "Iron sinks, but wood floats. What should iron do to keep from sinking?" No matter how long it takes, the priest promises himself to find the answer. Continuing his way north, Neelkanth climbs his way to the mountain village of Sripur, famous for its grand shrine, Kamleshwar Muth. The mahant (chief priest) notices Neelkanth resting under a nearby tree. He warns Neelkanth of the man-eating lion terrorizing the village and invites Neelkanth to stay in the Muth. Neelkanth asks, "Can your doors stop death?" As night falls, the doors of every home are tightly fastened. It is well past midnight and a chilling roar shatters the eerie silence. A lion charges through the grass spotting Neelkanth. They meet face to face. The Mahant, fearful for the young child, looks out his window and sees a strange and unbelievable sight; the ferocious lion is humbly lying by the feet of Neelkanth. The next morning, as Neelkanth leaves, the grateful faces of villagers surround him. Hosting a diversity of faces, India is home to a colorful mixture of people. Neelkanth introduces us to the faces of India. Home to 18 different languages and 850 dialects, India is the envy of the world; no other country, even continent, has so many different people living and working together.

Continuing into the Himalayas, Neelkanth makes his way to Badrinath Temple. Standing at 11,300 feet, Badrinath is one of India's most revered temples. For six months of the year, the temple closes during the deadly cold winter. A procession begins its journey down from the mountains to warmer temperatures and safety. A priest meets Neelkanth on the steps of the temple and invites Neelkanth to join him, but Neelkanth says, "I am not going down, I am going up…to Lake Mansarovar." The priest cannot believe what he has just heard. He says "At this time of year…you'll face blizzards and avalanches. You'll never survive." Neelkanth smiles and walks down the steps, leaving the priest to wonder why such a young child would risk his life in the mountains. For six months, in the freezing temperatures with no shelter, Neelkanth treks through the Himalayas, home to 92 of the 94 tallest peaks in the world. Crossing a pass at 18,000 feet, Neelkanth reaches the sacred peak of Mt. Kailash, and the holy shores of Mansarovar, the source of four of India's mighty rivers - Indus, Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej. With no guide or maps, Neelkanth negotiates through the deepest gorge in the world cut by the Kali Gandki between Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri in the Annapurna Mountain range. Eventually, he reaches Muktinath at 12,500 feet, where an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu gloriously stands to this day, encircled by 108 waterspouts. Here he undertakes a journey without motion, a journey within. Performing severe austerities in a rare yogic posture, months turn to seasons, seasons turn to years, and Neelkanth grows older and wiser. Descending the mountains, it has been 5 years since Neelkanth has left his home. From the peaceful villages to the mountain peaks, Neelkanth leads us through a land ornamented with grand monuments, palaces, and relics of stone. We explore Indian architecture and its paradise of styles, forms and shapes. Neelkanth's route leads him through the rainforests of Assam, the jungles of Sunderbans and to the shores of Jagannath Puri. The annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots) is celebrated here.

Every year, for thousands of years, millions of pilgrims flock here to pull the chariot of Lord Jagannath. Raja Mukund Dev, King of Jagannath Puri, invites Neelkanth to celebrate Rath Yatra. A conch shell blows and the boisterous clanging of plates deafens us. Directly ahead, we see Neelkanth sitting on a colossal chariot and the king standing by his side. Hundreds are pulling the chariot with four massive ropes. Pilgrims are cheering, singing, dancing, and throwing vermillion into the air. The huge wheels of the chariot fill our vision. We float above and let the Rath pass beneath to reveal an awesome sight of thousands. A sea of colors shines below. This festival is just one of many festivals of India. They are expressions of joy for many occasions - be it the birth of a child, the changing of the seasons, or the New Year. A wide spectrum of colors, costumes and customs are portrayed in the festivals of India. Viewers are immersed in some of the greatest festivals of India; from the lights of Diwali to the colors of Holi. Following the eastern coastline, Neelkanth arrives in South India at the ancient Rameshwaram Temple. Built in the 12th century, the Rameshwaram temple has 1,212 pillars and India's longest stone corridor stretching 1.2 kilometers. This temple is one of the most important pilgrimage places in all of India. At each of the 22 wells, people bathe as a purification rite. Standing by one of these wells, Neelkanth is pleased to find the priest he met in Haridwar five years back. The priest has found the answer to Neelkanth's riddle, "If iron attaches itself to wood, iron too can float. We are the iron ring. Enlightened persons like you are the wood." Pleased with the priest's response, Neelkanth explains that the association of an enlightened person keeps our weaknesses from drowning us in the ocean of life.

For the next two years, Neelkanth travels from the temple towns of South India, through the backwaters of Kerala and ends his journey in the village Loj in Gujarat. In the villages of India, where to this day 80% of all Indians live, it is a tradition to welcome visitors like gods. A giant banyan tree hangs over Loj. Under this tree, villagers often gather for discussions. Neelkanth learns of a great saint and teacher Ramanand Swami in one of these gatherings. Delighted to hear such news, Neelkanth waits for him in his ashram. While at the ashram Neelkanth, who conquered the challenges of nature, sweeps the floors. Having mastered all the disciplines of yoga by the age of 14, Neelkanth shares his knowledge with others. Neelkanth and Ramanand Swami meet on a riverbank. Ramanandji says, "Now that you have arrived, lead the people because you are the true master." But Neelkanth prefers the silence of the mountains. Ramanand Swami encourages Neelkanth and says, "Awakening was your aim and shall continue to be so. Your footprints in the sands of time will light up the path for seekers of courage, confidence, love, truth, and tolerance."Neelkanth grows older to become one of the greatest spiritual leaders of India. His lessons continue to inspire millions. His vision, work, and wisdom echoes the essence of Indian culture - its unity in diversity. This is the greatest gift India can offer the world.

From 1792 to 1799, Neelkanth walked alone, barefoot and barebody, 8000 miles for 7 years through the length and breadth of India. Carrying no maps, no food and no clothing, how he crossed the roaring rivers, faced ferocious animals and survived the freezing winter of the Himalayas, is still a mystery. It is a story of struggle, of kindness and of courage even when face to face with a man-eating lion. Mystic India takes you through icy peaks to the cool blue Lake Mansarovar, into the wild jungles of Sunderbans and the rainforests of Assam, through barren deserts and to the silent shores of South India. Explore and learn from the majesty and mysticism of India's art and architecture, music and dance, faces and festivals, customs and costumes which are brought to life on the giant screen. This entertaining, educating and enlightening giant screen film (15perf/70mm) rediscovers India, a land of many mysteries and fascinations. It is the world’s first large format epic on India.

A period film set 200 years back in time, it retraces the incredible journey of an 11-year old child yogi, Neelkanth. In 1792 AD, he walked for 12,000 km continuously for 7 years, barefoot and barebody, through the length and breadth of India, from the Himalayas to the southern sea-shores. Based on this inspiring true-life story and journey all over India, the film explores unique elements of India, like: Amazing and intricate art and architecture, symbolizing creativity of centuries… Fascinating festivals, among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Colorful customs and intriguing rites and rituals with deeper meanings for peaceful living… India as an epitome of the world with its natural and geographical diversity containing nearly every kind of habitat on earth. World’s oldest and largest democracy with one of the world’s most diverse peoples living together, with every shade of skin and a vast variety of cultures. India’s contribution to the world including concepts like Non-Violence and practices like Yoga and Ayurveda for natural health… A nation of silent spirituality, making her a mystic land of meditation and contemplation, where quest continues to understand secrets of life beyond our material world.

The real light and wisdom of India, seeking to know not how to conquer the world but how to live in peace, how to live together in harmony. The essence and message of “Mystic India” that there can be Unity in Diversity, that we are a single human family, capable of living together, loving one another. Thus, more than just a breathtaking journey, and the heroic tales of the child’s tolerance and survival, his values of faith, friendship and fearlessness, the film presents a unique journey into the mind and soul of India through the eyes of an innocent child.

Over two shooting schedules in March - May 2003 and Jan-Feb 2004, the Mystic India production team traveled to more than 100 different film locations in India, at times shooting in hostile conditions at a height of 13,000 feet, re-creating the adventures of Neelkanth in the astonishing detail of large format. Capturing dazzling images and scenes on a scale never seen before in large format, this film transports the audience to some of India's most sacred and treasured destinations. The epic proportions of the film climax in the Rath Yatra (The Festival of Chariots). Colossal, 5-storey high chariots on mammoth wheels roll past 8,000 people in period dress of the 18th century from all corners of India. The experience is immense and intense. And what makes the film unique and educative are the questions it answers about India, her culture and way of life. Even the silent, meditative moods transmit the simple messages of love, service and harmony; unraveling India's greatest gift to the world, its unity in diversity.Mystic India is an epic journey into the land and soul of India.

An epic period film featuring an exciting and inspiring pilgrimage of Neelkanth Varni, a child-yogi, of 18th century India. This unique period film, Neelkanth Darshan, was shot in the icy peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the pristine shores of Kerala in the south. The large format film depicts India’s holy places, festivals and spiritual traditions on a giant screen that is over six stories high. Neelkanth Darshan is the first ever wide format film filmed in India and produced by an Indian organisation. The international large format version of Neelkanth Darshan film is Mystic India. Filmed in 108 locations of India with 30 giant settings 45,000 cast in colourful costumes. A vivid experience of 18th century India presented on a giant screen. Giant screen: 85' x 65' ft

A beautiful 27 ft. high bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni stands in a
determined pose outside the large format film theater.
Boat ride

Sanskruti Vihar India's Glorious Heritage

A 12-minute spectacular boat-ride experience of the 10,000 year old India’s glorious heritage. Savor the world’s oldest Vedic village life and bazaar Sail through Takshashila – the world’s first university Journey through the labyrinth of ancient discoveries and inventions by the great rishi-scientists of India


Musical Fountain
Yagnapurush Kund

The fascinating web of life on earth is intricate, precise and beautiful. Its fragile network shows an uncompromising interdependency between man, nature and God. Therefore what we receive for sustenance by way of earth, water, fire, air and space, we need to repay and sacrifice with body, mind and heart. To fulfil this function in life, India’s great sages and rishis established the yagna tradition. They chanted mantras, offered grains and ghee in a sacrificial fire (yagna kund) to appease the deities of earth, water, fire, air, etc. Yagna means to sacrifice or generously give in appreciation to others. The Yagnapurush Kund is a fascinating combination of a Vedic yagna kund and a musical fountain. It is the world's largest yagna kund measuring 300' X 300' with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an 8-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Panchratra scripture. Its perfect geometric forms testify to ancient India's advanced knowledge in mathematics and geometry. At night the center comes to life with a colorful musical water fountain that echoes the Vedic sentiments of India. Yagnapurush Kund has been so named after the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the third successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Swami Yagnapurushdasji (Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj).

Garden of India
Bharat Upvan Through the millenniums people have always looked up to role models for inspiration, guidance, peace and courage. Their sterling lives radiate a perennial glow for the whole of mankind, regardless of all human, geographical and cultural distinctions.India, which has the most ancient civilisation in the world, that hosts one sixth of humanity and has the largest democracy in the world, has produced from its vast cultural matrix a legion of role models for the world to emulate.

Bharat Upvan exudes a magnificent natural and cultural ambience through its manicured lawns, lush gardens and wonderful bronze statues of the great role models of India. India's child gems, valorous warriors, freedom fighters, national figures and great women personalities inspire visitors with values and pride for our great nation.

This is a special lotus of auspicious sentiments.
Yogiji Maharaj, the who dreamed of Akshardham, always prayed, “May God do good of all.” He had infinite faith in God and man.Every petal of Yogihriday Kamal reflects the auspicious sentiments of Yogiji Maharaj.

Ever since time immemorial great thinkers, scientists, writers, international personalities, saints and sages from every corner of our earth have expressed their prolific faith in the religious scriptures, God and man. Here, every petal inspires with messages from internationally renowned personages about faith in God and faith in man.An iota of this faith canTransform the face of our world,And also one’s own life.

Important Informations

Address - Near Nizamuddin Bridge
City - New Delhi
State - Delhi
Location - North India
Year of Construction - 2005
Constructed By - BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
Type of Construction - Medieval
Type of Building - Temple
Managed By - Swaminarayan Sect
Dedicated To - Swaminarayan
Other Deities - Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Sita Ram, Shri Laxmi Narayan, Shri Uma Maheshwar
Religion - Hinduism
Importance - The sprawling Rs.200-crore pink sandstone cultural complex spread over 100 acres showcases the grandeur of Indian history, art, culture and values.

Opening Schedule - 9AM - 9PM (Tuesday-Sunday). Closed on Monday.

Entry Formalities - Only small female purses or male wallets allowed . Cell phones and other electronic devices are prohibited. Entry to the complex is free. But for exhibitions and light and sound show inside the complex, one has to take tickets.

Accomodation - Available at the nearby hotels and lodges in New Delhi.

Accesibility - New Delhi is very well connected to the major Indian cities by air, rail and road.

Nearby Cities - Ghaziabad, Noida,Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Inauguration: 6-11-2005, Kartik Shukla Panchmi, Labh Pancham, V.S. 2062Organizer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Creator: HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Infosys' Chairman and Chief Mentor Officer (CMO) - Mr.Narayana Murthy's Speech on Late Sitting

I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization.

There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue . Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after5 pm on Monday.

Another problem is that people who are in the office for long hours are not pleasant company . They often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behaviour poses problems, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another.

As Managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office.

First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves . I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 am, Sunday.

Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives . For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:

1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.
5) Eat well and sleep well .

This is called recreating . Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2. Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires personal change. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them.

In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my eldest son.

When he was a toddler, If people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors' left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out.

Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office . The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life! Things happen 24 hours a day .

Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.

(Because you never know when it stops loving you)"

- Narayana Murthy -