World ? Asia ? India


Sep - Oct 2009 (annual)
Cost: Free
The Ramlila, Ramleela or Ram Leela is a re-enactment of the battle Between Lord Rama and Ravana. It takes place in a number of locations throughout Uttar Pradesh once a year; Ram Nagar's is by far the most traditional rendition.
The performances last for 31 days and are marked by detailed dialogue and spectacular scenes. Hundreds of sadhus called ramayanis come to the town to watch and recite the epic.

Thanks to the permanent and impermanent structures built for the event and the spaces designated to particular scenes in the re-enactment, the whole town is transformed into a vast Ramlila ground, with the audience moving with the performers around the streets.

In keeping with tradition, electric lights, microphones and loudspeakers are not used, despite the fact that the average audience is rarely less than 10,000. The performers' costume jewellery, masks, headgear, make-up and decoration add to the spectacle and enable those further away to keep up with the action.

Ram Nagar's event dates back to around 1830. It was instigated by Maharaja Udit Narain Singh and further popularised by his successor Maharaj Isvari Prasad Singh.
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