Bharata Muni statue unveiled in Delhi (Post No.6643)

Kavita Dwibedi with Bharata Muni


Date: 17 JULY 2019

British Summer Time uploaded in London – 16-5

Post No. 6643

Pictures are taken from various sources including Facebook, google, Wikipedia. This is a non- commercial blog. ((posted by AND

New Delhi, July 16,2019– Joining the pan-India celebrations of Guru Purnima, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on Tuesday unveiled a statue of sage and theatrologist Bharata Muni who composed the ”Natya Shastra”, an ancient Sanskrit text on performing arts.

The unveiling happened on the Foundation Day of IGNCA”s Kalakosh division, a department dedicated to the rich body of literature surrounding India”s classical arts.

The statue was unveiled by Rajya Sabha MP and classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, IGNCA president and senior journalist Ram Bahadur Rai, and National Gallery of Modern Art director-general and sculptor Adwaita Gadanayak.

The ”Natya Shastra” is the oldest extant literature in the field of dramatic arts.

The black-coloured sculpture, conceptualised by classical dancer Padma Subrahmanyam and sculpted by Bengaluru-based artists T.N. Rathna and S. Venkataramana, represents divine forces and the classical arts tradition of India.

It can now be seen at the IGNCA”s entrance.


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Colour Coding of Seats in Ancient Theatres!

sitabenga cave
Amazing Cave Theatre: Sitabenga near Ambikapur.

Compiled by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1040; dated 13th May 2014.

Specimens of ancient theatre stages are available now. They are found in two caves in a series of hillocks named Ramgarh in Chhattisgarh. These two caves are named as Shitabenga and Yogimara caves and they are near Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh. There are two dramatic stages coupled up with green rooms as they were prevalent in the olden days when Sanskrit plays used to be staged. It is said that these caves are at least 2200 years old.

In the Natya sastras we have references to 18 different types of stages. Some of these stages were triangular, some of them were of square size and often the stages were quadrilateral in shape. A quadrilateral stage has some characteristics of its own, its length being twice its breath. If its length could be measured at 64 yards its breadth would be 32 yards.

Square shaped stages were more common, measuring four yards each side. The auditorium was in front of the stage with seats made up of wood and bricks. The seats meant for the Brahmanas had white pillars in the front and the seats meant for Kshatriyas had red coloured pillars in their front. The Brahmanas would sit in the front row and the Kshatriyas would sit behind them. Usually the seats of the Brahmanas used to be at the nearest point of the stage. Then the Vaisyas had their seats in the Vayukona i.e. North West corner of the auditorium and those seats were marked by the yellow colour pillars. Sudras used to sit in the Isana kona i.e. the north east corner and their seats used to be marked with black colour pillars.

cave ramgarh
2300 year old Ramgarh Caves used to stage dramas

Usually the stage used to be a two -storeyed one. Any play centering round the men and matters of the earth would be staged on the groud floor of the stage, while the incidents which were heavenly or celestial used to be enacted on the first floor of the stage.

Screen and Background Wall

Scenes of cities, villages, rooms, houses, rivers, forests etc., figured prominently in the scenic depictions on the wall. On each side of the wall there was a door kept hidden by a thin piece called Yavanika. This had many colours. If it is a comedy play white Yavanika was used, because poets associated white with laughter. Fame, glory and laughter are described as white. (it may be due to the white teeth and white umbrella of the Royals). If it is a warfare Yavanika was in red colour(blood and anger were associated with red in old literature). The actors and actresses used the doors on the wall to enter and exit from the stage. Beautiful girls were employed to lift the screens.
(from’ Sixty Four Arts in Ancient India’ by Anil Baran Ganguly, The English Book Store, New Delhi-1, Year 1962).

ranigumpa near Bhuvaneswar 3rd c,BCE
2300 year old Ranigumpha used as Theatre near Bhavaneswar in Odisha

Sage Bharata knows Acoustics!

The Natyasastra of Bharata is a compendious treatise on practically all the literary aspects of drama and all matters relating to the theatre, from the construction of the play house or ‘natya mandapa’ to audience response.

“ The play house (Natya mandapa) should be designed in the shape of a mountain cave, have two ground levels, small windows and free from gusts of wind, so that the voices of the actors and singers as well as the sound of musical instruments will be resonant (Natyasastra 2-80/82)
The ‘shape of a mountain cave’ is an interesting detail, because not only does it reveal an awareness of the acoustical properties but it also suggests that originally shows and spectacles and even plays might have been presented in cave theatres.
Jewels and precious gems were placed underneath the stage during the building of the play house according to prescriptions based on their auspiciousness.

Sanskrit drama clearly reveals its dance-origins; miming is often indicated by the stage-directions. Dance is very much part of it. Dramatic performances were usually held on special occasions; coronations and other royal events, great weddings, religious festivals and fairs. Open air performances are also known. Bhavabhuti’s play ‘Malati Madhava’ was performed for the festival of Kala priya natha (Siva).

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Languages : Sanskrit and Prakrit

The classical drama of India used Prakrit or regional dialects as well as Sanskrit. Brahmins, kings and high officials spoke Sanskrit. Women, even queens, children and the court jester spoke Prakrit; low characters like the fishermen and policemen in Act 6 of Kalidasa’s ‘Sakuntalam’ also spoke in dialect. This provided Sanskrit plays a rich variety in speech.

( from Kalidasa, The Loom of Time by Chandra Rajan, Penguin Classics, 1990)

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