History & Culture

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan — London’s thriving hub

The U.K. Centre of the Bhavan was established in London in 1972 and moved to its current premises in West Kensington in 1978. The Centre comprises The Mountbatten Auditorium (capacity 295), The Hathi Hall (capacity 100, also used as a dance studio), The Meghraj Library and resource centre, The M.P. Birla Millennium Art Gallery, a second dance studio with sprung floor and floor to ceiling mirrors, five guest rooms, used mainly by visiting artistes, nine classrooms, archive room and office space.

An Arts Council England capital grant last year has funded the installation of solar panels, CCTV, new Harlequin wooden sprung dance floor and other technological upgrades and improvements as well as the addition of beautiful murals on the stairs and in the canteen.

The Bhavan in the U.K. is unique in teaching 23 different classes under one roof. Every week, around 450 students walk through The Bhavan’s doors, many of whom attend classes in more than one art form. All the performances at The Bhavan are open to the public and our premises are fully accessible for the disabled.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan — London’s thriving hub

During this year we conducted classes in performing arts including, Summer School courses, languages and over 150 programmes at the Centre which included concerts, stage performances, plays, art exhibitions, lectures and workshops. There were over 80 programmes including dance, music, drama, lecture, puja, special events and workshops. The Bhavan presented top-quality artistes and promoted upcoming artistes including their own students. Artistes of international renown, who have performed at The Bhavan in the past year include Malladi Brothers, Pt. Srinivas Joshi, Gaurav Mazumdar, Sonal Mansingh, Rani Khanam, Baladevi Chandrasekhar, O.S. Arun, Pt. Ajoy Chakravarty, the Gundecha Brothers, Padma Subrahmanyam and B. Kannan.

Events were organised in collaboration with many other local organisations such as The Nehru Centre, High Commission of India, the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Milapfest as well as BBC & Voluntary Arts’ Get Creative Weekend. A Spoken Sanskrit course held last year was a big hit. Yoga and meditation programmes, art exhibitions, workshops, Asian Craft Festival were held at our Art gallery.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan — London’s thriving hub

Students and staff of The Bhavan have performed at several significant external events to new and diverse audiences. Musician teachers performed in a new opera, ‘Sukanya,’ written by Ravi Shankar and David Murphy that premiered in May 2017 as part of the India U.K. Year of Culture, at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre and on a tour in Leicester, Salford and Birmingham. The Bhavan presented five sessions of classical dance performance and rangoli art at the Victoria and Albert Museum's Indian Spring Festival. The Bhavan continued its relationship with Hammersmith and Fulham Artsfest presenting two events including a dance performance at Westfield shopping centre.

Bharatanatyam, Carnatic vocal and Tamil language students performed at Tiruvalluvar Day at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) to mark 20 years of the installation of the Tiruvalluvar statue. Our teachers and students gave more than ten performances overseas, mainly in India.

(Article provided by the BVB’s London office)

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:38:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/bharatiya-vidya-bhavan-londons-thriving-hub/article27326496.ece

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