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Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie

Sannimitam - Art for a noble cause

It isn’t often that I write about events on the blog, and even rarer that I announce events that are yet to take place. But this is a special one. Most of you who read my blog, have, at some time, heard me rave about my sister, Kanthi, who is an accomplished dancer. She is proficient in both, Bharatanatyam and Kathak, which speaks volumes of her talent, and those of you who follow my Facebook page would certainly have seen her photos at some point or the other. It is because so many of you have asked me about her forthcoming performances that I am writing this post. That, and the fact that this is a special performance.

The Sanskriti Academy of Fine Arts, Thane, is where Kanthi has honed her skills. She has been a part of Sanskriti ever since its inception, and the fact that she has evolved from a student to a teacher there is something we are all proud of. We have enormous respect for the founder, Smt. Asha Sunilkumar, who herself is an amazing woman, who has succeeded in passing on, not just her proficiency in dance, but also her passion, to her students.

This is the 15th year of the Academy, which makes it a special one. However, what makes it even more special is that the Academy has, this year, conducted its 25th Arangetram, and 50 of their students have so far performed their Arangetrams over these 15 years. All the more reason to celebrate, isnt it?

The event is meant to be a celebration of all that they have achieved, but they have chosen to take the celebration a step forward. They choose to call it ‘Sannimitam’ – Art ‘For a noble and worthy cause’, in an attempt to give back to society for all the blessings that have been showered on them. This is thus a charity event, with all the proceeds going to Prem Daan, a non-profit charity in Navi Mumbai, that works relentlessly to give a home to the homeless, health to the sick, and love to the unloved.

Dedicated to Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity, Prem Daan is a home for the destitute, sick and terminally ill.  The Sisters of Prem Daan are specially trained to take care of those women with mental illnesses. They ensure that the women feel safe, secure and stable within the premises of Prem Daan, before administering medicines and restoring them to health.

The programme itself has been conceived with these ideas in mind, and, along with a repertoire of traditional Bharatanatyam performances, it also includes a dance ballet which depicts the resurgence of the inherent power of women. I had the pleasure of having a brief glimpse of this ballet, and I can assure you it is impressive. I can’t wait to see the performance in its entirety!

I will be attending the event, and will post photos later. Posting videos might be more difficult, so I would suggest you please try and attend the event and see it for yourselves, especially if you live anywhere near.


Sannimitam will be presented at Gadkari Rangayatan, Thane West, on Saturday, 7th December, at 11 AM.

Passes are available for the event, though they are fast running out. Rs. 50 for Balcony, and Rs. 100 for ground floor. You can contact Kanthi on 9820851925 for passes.

You can also write to Sanskriti at for any further information, or query regarding donations. They are accepting donations in cash as well as kind. Kanthi can also give you details if you are interested.


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