Unique Ram Leela Play at New Stafford Centre on Oct. 25

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Portraits of Maharaja Swati Thirunal of Travencore

HOUSTON: This article briefly covers  Ram Leela, its various styles, and some prominent places in India where this play is conducted annually Lastly, it describes the exciting Ram Leela play about to take place at  Stafford centre on the October 25.

Lord Ram is the seventh avatar of Vishnu and King of Ayodhya. The legend of Ram is deeply influential and popular in societies of the Indian subcontinent and across Southeast Asia and the globe. Lord Ram is revered for his unending compassion, courage and devotion to religious values and duty.

Styles of Ram Leela at some prominent places in India:
Today, several regions of India have developed their distinctive forms of Ram Leela.The most prominent Ram Leela is that of Ram Nagar, 15 km. from Varanasi which is staged over multiple venues, throughout the city. The Almora or Kumaon style incorporates musical renderings of the Katha based on the theatrical style developed by Uday Shankar.Next is the operatic style  which incorporates elements  of folk theatre along with traditional style where the couplets of Ramcharitmanas not only act as dialogues but as chorus as well.Lastly there are Ramleela staged  by professional troupes called Mandalis.A  special way to present Ramleela is through puppetry which is more prominent in Rajasthan. In Karnataka, the Carnatic dance Katakali with elaborate masks and dress present the story in silent theatre.In Ayodhya, the curtains never come down on Ram Leela. It has been going on for 13 years now for full 365 days/yr.  at the Tulsi Smarak Bhavan by different Ram Leela troupes from various parts of the country.

In Delhi the Ram Leela became more popular at the Ram Leela Grounds outside the historic Delhi Fort. The Delhi Ram Leela at the Ram Leela maidan is covered  by radios and TV and is beamed over to over 100 countries. For last 55 years Delhi’s Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra’s name is synonymous with the enacting of the annual Ram Leela – a ballet based on the epic Ramayana.

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Ram Leela ( Bhavyami Raghuramam) at  Stafford  Center in Houston, Texas:
Shri Sita Ram Foundation, a 501 ( C ) (3) non profit organization ,  produced and introduced Ram Leela  as a stage play in Houston for the first time in 2010  and has shown it annually since then.

However, this year’s play will be presented in a new and interesting manner,completely different from all the prior years shown ever in Houston.

This year’s play will be a dance theatre based on a script written in Sanskrit by Maharaja Swati Thirunal of Travencore 200 years back. It is called Bhavyami Raghuramam, Glory of Shri Ram. There will be 150 youth and children actors involved.  The commentary will be in English.

This exciting & artistic  Ram Leela play , Directed by Dr. Rathna Kumar is being presented on October 25, in the prestigious New Stafford Center, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online by going to www.ShriSitaRam.org or www.Sulekha.com or from various outlets on Hillcroft and Sugarland.