Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

International Non-Governmental Organization | Special consultative status with UN ECOSOC
Associate member with UN DPI | Institutional member of International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Member of pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage EUROPA NOSTRA | Associate member with INTO

Roerichs' familyRoerichs' evolutionary actionsMuseum named after Nicholas RoerichPublishing activity
Scientific enlightment workProtection of the Roerichs' name and heritageICR: general information


Since April 28, 2017, the Non-Governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich went defunct with the illegal seizure of its building and territory.

printer friendly
PAGES  News|Site news|#SaveRoerichMuseum


“The Magic Flower of Romance” Russian-Indian Roerich Cultural Festival at the IRMT

 0 Kulu_Festival.JPG

The traditional spring Russian-Indian Roerich Cultural Festival took place at the International Roerich Memorial Trust. This year the Festival was dedicated to the 115-th Birth anniversary of Devika Rani, “The First Lady” of Indian cinema, wife and muse of the outstanding Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich.

On May 6 guests and participants of the Festival gathered at the Roerich Memorial Estate. The honourable guests of the IRMT: Mr Ashok Thakur, a lifelong member of the IRMT Board of Trustees, Mrs Yulia Aryaeva, Head of the Cultural Department of the Russian Embassy in India, Mrs Natalya Cherkashina, Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow) – solemnly hoisted the national flags of India and Russia and the Banner of Peace near the Roerich House.

A traditional Hindu shanty-puja was conducted under a four-branched Himalayan pine tree – this sacred ritual united the Indian and Russian guests in a single prayer for peace and prosperity. At the end of the puja, some sacred ashes and flowers were offered to the sculptures of Devika Rani, the heroine of the Festival, and her husband, the outstanding Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich, as well as to the memorial stone of Devika, which is located under the lime-trees, not far from the Samadhi of Nicholas Roerich. Here, in accordance with Devika’s wish, some of her ashes were buried in 1994.

Having come to the Kullu Valley in 1945 for the first time, Devika Rani fell in love with this picturesque place with all her soul. Here she found a home and a family that welcomed her like a daughter. Here began the second life of Devika Rani, the beloved and loving wife of Svetoslav Roerich, his muse, friend and assistant. Leaving the world of cinema, she entered the equally interesting, deep, creative world of the Roerichs, filled with creative discoveries and achievements.

These two periods in Devika Rani’s life were the subject of a thematic photo exhibition that was opened in the IRMT Conference Hall. The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the International Centre of the Roerichs, with the support of the Russian Embassy in India.

Guests and participants were welcomed on stage at the IRMT Green Theatre by the Russian and Indian curators Mrs Larisa Surgina and Mr Suresh Kumar. The guest speeches were dedicated to Devika Rani, her contribution to the Indian film industry, her role in the founding of the IRMT and her multi-faceted assistance to Svetoslav Roerich, which she saw as her life’s mission.

The speakers noted the positive results of the joint work of the Russian-Indian IRMT team. Mr Ashok Thakur thanked the Russian staff and volunteers of the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow) for their hard work at the Roerich Estate, noting that their activity, enthusiasm and dedication to the Roerichs’ mission inspire everyone for new achievements.

A festive gift to the gathering was a musical programme performed by pupils and teachers of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, which had recently reopened its doors to the children of the Kullu Valley after the winter break. Bright songs, dances and colorful costumes caused rapturous applause in the audience. The song “Katyusha” in Russian was particularly heartfelt.

The award ceremony for the winners of the children’s painting competition held on April 18 was also held here. Prizes and diplomas were presented to the children and teachers by Mr Ashok Thakur and Mrs Natalia Cherkashina.

In the frame of the festival there was also the inauguration of an exhibition of paintings by Vinakshi Sandhu. This young artist from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, presented mandalas she had created that struck everyone with their beauty and harmony. For more than seven years Vinakshi has been studying the art of mandalas and realizing their spiritual and philosophical significance. “Mandala” in Sanskrit means “circle”. In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas symbolize the universe and are an object of worship. According to the artist, she puts the purest thoughts and positive energies into her works, which have a beneficial effect on viewers and the space.

The third day of the Festival was devoted to a screening and discussion of a new documentary about Devika Rani “Discovering Devika” (written and directed by Usha Deshpande). Part of the film was shot two years ago at the Roerich Estate in Kullu. The film focuses on the first half of Devika Rani’s life and chronicles her illustrious career as an actress, director and co-founder of one of India’s first sound film studios, “Bombay Talkies”. The IRMT would like to thank the director of the film and National Film Development Corporation for allowing the film to be screened at the IRMT.

“I lit the torch of progress,” Devika said. She prayed that this torch would illuminate the path for women in India towards equality, freedom and creativity. The union of India’s charming and courageous daughter and the eminent Russian artist was a symbol of deep spiritual closeness between our two peoples. The Indo-Russian festival dedicated to Devika Rani was yet another convincing proof of this.

Back to the list