Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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

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“Roerichs: Heralds of Culture.” Anniversary Festival at the International Roerich Memorial Trust


Saturday afternoon, May 4, brought together more than three hundred guests from India, Russia and other countries in the Himalayan Roerich Estate. c It is not by chance that the Festival was named “Roerichs: Heralds of Culture”. All members of this great Russian family not only made a unique contribution to world culture – they deepened and expanded the very notion of culture as “worshiping the Light” and substantiated its key importance for our future.

The day’s festivities began with a shanti puja under the famous four-trunked Himalayan pine tree near the Roerich Memorial House, which houses stone images of the gods and protectors of the Kullu Valley. The Hindu ritual was conducted by Jagadev Acharya, the head priest of the Krishna temple in Naggar. Pujari prayers for the welfare and prosperity of the world echoed in the hearts of those present and ascended with the sacred flame, contributing to filling the space with bright thoughts and high energies.

The traditional ceremony of hoisting the national flags of India and Russia was attended by Ms Torul S. Ravish, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, HP – cum - Director of the IRMT and Mrs Yulia Aryaeva, Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in India. The Banner of Peace was hoisted by Mrs Galina Stepanova, a renowned Russian artist and philanthropist from St. Petersburg, as well as Mr Suresh Kumar and Mrs Larisa Surgina, Indian and Russian curators of the IRMT, symbolizing the close cultural ties between our great countries and the commonality of our spiritual aspirations.

A significant event of the Festival was the international action “Remembrance Garden” organized by the All-Russian Public Movement “Volunteers of Victory” in India, the Russian Club “Atlas” and the International Roerich Memorial Trust in cooperation with the Russian Embassy in India and the School at the Russian Embassy in India. The goal of the Remembrance Garden is to plant 27 million trees in memory of those who died during World War II and to preserve the memory of the tragic events and heroic deeds of the soldiers. India also participated in World War II, thousands of soldiers went to the front and did not return home.

As part of the action, eleven saplings of Himalayan cedar – deodar – were planted on the site next to Svetoslav Roerich’s summer studio. In one or two years, when the young deodars grow up, some of them will be transplanted to other areas of the Roerich Estate and the Urusvati Institute.

According to the organizers, the location of the action in Kullu was not chosen by chance. During the Great Patriotic War Roerich wrote essays full of faith in the victory of the Russian army, created a heroic cycle of paintings praising the feat of the Russian people. “Service to the humanity is service to the Motherland, and service to the Motherland in the highest sense is service to the humanity,” Nicholas Roerich asserted. “Create heroes!” – Helena Roerich called on. How relevant and modern their words sound today!

The Festival program was continued by an official program in the Green Theater of the IRMT. After a musical prayer to the Saraswati Goddess, performed by the teachers and students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children of the IRMT, Ms Torul Ravish, Head of Kullu District and Director of the IRMT, welcomed the participants of the Festival. She spoke about the growing importance of the International Roerich Memorial Trust and emphasized the importance of the IRMT as a center of Russian-Indian cooperation.

Mrs Yulia Aryaeva, Cultural Counselor of the Russian Embassy, highlighted the Roerichs’ contribution to the development and preservation of culture. “Where there is culture, there is peace,” Nicholas Roerich wrote. “There is the feat, there is the right solution of the most difficult social problems. Culture is the accumulation of the highest Grace, the highest Beauty, the highest Knowledge”. The representative of the Embassy noted that it was here, in Naggar, that the outstanding Roerich family worked for the benefit of the whole world, this place became the karma bhumi of Maharishi Nicholas Roerich – the place of the highest creative and spiritual achievements.

On behalf of the Union of Women of Russia, Mrs Irina Arkhipova, Ambassador of Culture, General Director of the historical film studio “Pharaoh” (St. Petersburg, Russia), organizer of the annual international research expedition “Himalaya”, greeted the audience. Mr Yuri Babushkin, a participant of the expedition, sculptor and head of the “Amrita” creative workshop, presented a sculptural composition “Bears” made of mammoth tusk to the IRMT.

The IRMT Indian curator Mr Suresh Kumar, welcoming the guests of the Festival, drew attention to the fact that all the work in the IRMT is carried out by joint efforts of the Russian and Indian sides, with the support of the Kullu administration, the government of Himachal Pradesh, the International Center of the Roerichs (Moscow) and the Russian Embassy in India. He noted that the Roerich Estate has become one of the most famous tourist destinations on Indian maps.

Mrs Larisa Surgina, the Russian Curator, IRMT, working at the direction of the ICR (Moscow), conveyed to the guests of honor and all the participants of the Festival the greetings of the management and staff of the International Center of the Roerichs (Moscow), noting that the anniversary year of the Roerich family unites Russia and India in a noble effort to honor the memory of the great Russian family for whom India became a second home. She also conveyed greetings from the ICR volunteers, coordinators of the International Jubilee Festival of Children's and Youth Art “Roerichs’ Realm”, which was attended by the students of the Helena Roerich Academy and students of the Alexander Kadakin School at the Russian Embassy in Delhi.

An exhibition of drawings by children from the Embassy School was presented here on the site of the IRMT Green Theater. As Altai and the Himalayas united in the paintings by Nicholas Roerich, so Russia and India sound in unison in the work of young Russian artists.

Drawings of Indian children, participants of the competition, held on May 1 at the IRMT, were presented by the winners themselves, during the award ceremony, taken place on the stage of the Green Theater. It should be noted that great help in organizing the children's competition was provided by the teachers of the IRMT Academy: Anshul Kumar (music), Sapna Thakur (painting), Mamta Thakur (dance) and Anup Kumar (tabla), as well as school principals and teachers of the Kullu Valley. Certificates and commemorative prizes were presented to the young artists by the Festival's honored guests Mrs Yulia Aryaeva and Mrs Chandrika Malhotra, the DAV Public School Katrain Principal.

The best paintings of Russian and Indian children will be sent to Moscow and will take part in the final stage of the “Roerichs’ Realm” Festival, after which they will participate in exhibitions to be held in India and Russia.

A bright musical program with the participation of students and teachers of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, teachers and students of the Russian Embassy School and other guests was a wonderful gift for all participants of the Festival. Indian and Russian songs were performed; a musical perfomance with painted spoons was presented; bright expressive dances caused friendly applause of the audience. A famous singer Om Prakash (Katrain) took part in the concert; Nicholas Roerich's poem “The Light” was recited by Gauri from SVM School Larankelo (Naggar). The local resident Ambra Devi (Naggar) sang a song of her own composition dedicated to the Roerichs. The concert, as well as the whole festive day of the Festival, was held in a joyful atmosphere of friendship, warmth and mutual understanding.

On this festive day two more bright events took place (we will speak about them separately): the grand opening of the exhibitions “Reflections of India” by Galina Stepanova and “Himalayan Nights” by Dev Chandra, an artist from Mumbai. Providing exhibition halls to artists from Russia and India has become a good tradition of the Roerich Culture Festivals at the IRMT.

In conclusion, let us recall the wonderful words of Nicholas Roerich: “When sending greetings about Culture, one cannot send it without a smile, without a call of friendship. So let us come together, so let us gather and work for the Good, for Knowledge, for Beauty. And let’s do it urgently, without missing a day or an hour to build the good.”

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