The Ramleela ground in Nerul was thronged by scores of people from January 21 till January 26 as Kauthig 2014 was held here. Organised by the Kauthig Foundation, it not only presented various aspects of Uttarakhand's culture but a bevy of well-known artists invited from the state, enthralled the audience with their performances.
One of the highlights of the event was the dance and musical performances by renowned artists of the pahari state. Singers Pappu Karaki, Janardhan Upreti who is known by people as 'Jannuda', Prahlad, couple singers Govind and Khushi Digari, Reshma Shah, Jyoti Upreti, Rekha Uniyal, among others enlivened the audience.
Challiya, a popular folk dance in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was also presented by Chanchal Rawat and his team. An important facet of Uttarakhand's tradition, this dance is a must in every function. Several natives of the state who have made it big in their chosen careers were also present, like businessman Naveen Bhat, producer Madhavnand Bhatt, Uttarakhandi actors Hemant Pandey and Sudhir Pandey and Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela.
“A surprise package on the last day was the presence of Unmukt Chand, who captained India's U-19 cricket team and actor Sushant Singh Rajput. We had not disclosed this due to security reasons and it was a happy surprise for all who attended,” said Pravin Thakur, one of the organising committee members.
The floods that wrecked the state in 2012 were also focussed upon, in order to spread the message of care for mother nature. “We did it with an eight-minute play that had a lot of sound effects and depiction of peoples' sufferings during the disaster. To make it realistic, we had water flowing from the stage from pipelines and sprinklers placed on both sides of the stage. Water flowed not even for a minute but the audience panicked. However, our intention was to make them understand that the severity of the floods was much higher and how important it is for us to care for mother nature to not face her wrath,” said Thakur, who took part in the play, along with four other members.
“There are around one lakh Uttarakhandi people in Navi Mumbai. Our aim was to span our culture to a wide audience in this city and make youngsters understand the traditions and take pride in it. We were able to achieve this as lakhs of people attended the event on all five days,” said Yogeshwar Sharma, president of the foundation, adding that attempts will be made to take the festival to a bigger level next year.