Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be the chief guest at a Ram Leela celebration in Ayodhya, which will feature a special Russian version of the epic to be performed by a team from Moscow.
Government sources have confirmed that Mr. Modi will be in Ayodhya on October 23 where he is slated to perform pooja and other rituals of the deity Ram Lalla Virajman, and also inspect the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra site where the Ram Janmabhoomi temple is coming up.
The team from Moscow consisting of 12 artistes is being coordinated by Disha-India Russia Friendship Society. They will perform the Ram Leela in Ayodhya as part of a special collaboration between the Padma Shree Gennadi Pichnikov Memorial Russian Ram Leela Team and Disha. The Russian Ram Leela team is the only one of its kind in Europe and has been performing in Moscow for decades.
"We performed in India in 2018 when the Government of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had invited us. This year the visit is more special as we are returning to Ayodhya after the pandemic and as we want to highlight close friendship between two sides in the midst of the special military operation that Russia is carrying out in Ukraine," Rameshwar Singh, convenor of Disha, India-Russia Friendship Society.
Gennadi Pichnikov was a legendary Russian stage actor who was known for portraying Lord Ram on the Russian stage. He was popularly known as the "Russian Ram" and the Padma Shree Gennadi Pichnikov Memorial Russian Ram Leela Team has been carrying forward his legacy of Ram Leela performances that have been modified to appeal to the Russian audience.
For the last few years the Uttar Pradesh government has also been organising a deepostsav (festival of lights) on the banks of the Saryu in Ayodhya, and Mr. Modi will also be participating in it as well as witnessing the aarti at the New Ghat built on the Saryu. Foreign productions of the Ram Leela have been encouraged by the Government of India in recent years as a sign of building stronger cultural ties with different parts of the world.