R-Day parade to depict Ramayana, Mahabharata scenes, historic sites and more

The 2023 Republic Day celebrations will include scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, showcase the cave shrine of Amarnath, feature a drone show and more. A total of 23 tableaux – 17 from states and union territories and six from various ministries and departments – depicting India’s vibrant cultural heritage, and economic and social progress will join the parade on Kartavya Path later this week. 

The Uttar Pradesh tableau depicts Lord Ram and Goddess Sita being welcomed by the people of Ayodhya on their return from exile, with the Ayodhya Deepotsav being central to the theme.

“The side panels of the tableau depict Ram Ki Paidi on the banks of the Saryu river in Ayodhya and a big ‘Deepotsav Dwar’ has been erected. It also has a sculpture of Maha Rishi Vasishtha,” an Uttar Pradesh government official said. 

Taking inspiration from another epic, Haryana’s tableau will depict scenes from the Mahabharata war along the side panels. 

“The tableau showcases Lord Krishna serving as a charioteer to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra and offering him sermons. The front part of the tableau depicts Lord Krishna in his ‘Virat Swaroop’ form as he is displayed before Arjuna,” said an official update from the defence ministry. 

Both Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir have opted to showcase religious sites, while West Bengal opted to celebrate the inclusion of the Durga Puja festival on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. According to officials, the tableau has a feel of a traditional pandal erected during the puja and showcases a terracotta-inspired design.

Jharkhand will showcase the famed Baidyanath temple – one of the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva – as its main theme. As per official updates, ‘Kanwariyas’ wearing saffron cloths with ‘Bol Ba’ imprinted on it have been showcased in the middle of the tableau. The symbolic structures of the ancient temple in Deoghar dominate the main tableau, with traditional Sohrai paintings – as found in caves in Jharkhand – have been depicted on the side panels.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir will showcase the resurgence in tourism in the last couple of years with a portrayal of the cave shrine of Amarnath on its tableau.

The list of selected states and UTs also include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

The tableau of Gujarat depicts renewable energy production in the state and the cultural heritage of the region. Its front showcases a girl wearing a Kutchi dress, holding the ‘sun’ in one hand and a ‘paper wheel’ in another, representing solar and wind energy. The village of Modhera, famous for its Sun Temple being India’s first round-the-clock solar-powered village has also been showcased in the tableau. Artists wearing colourful ‘garba’ costumes will accompany it.

Ladakh will showcase its cultural heritage and historic sites in the Republic Day tableau. Its rear part showcases the 7th-century Gandhara art-based rock-cut Buddha statues in Kargil. The rock-cut statues in Kargil are the only three of their kind in the world and are considered to be of the same genre as the now-demolished Bamiyan Buddha statues.

Six Ministry tableaux will also be a part of the parade. The Ministry of Culture has chosen to depict Goddess Durga in its tableau. Meanwhile, the Narcotics Control Bureau will showcase a tableau for the first time this year, featuring a universal message of saying no to drugs.

This year’s Republic Day celebrations will also include a a military tattoo and tribal dance festival, Veer Gatha 2.0, the second edition of Vande Bharatam dance competition, performances of military and coast guard bands at the National War Memorial and an all-India school band competition at NWM. There will also be a a drone show and projection mapping during the Beating the Retreat ceremony – touted as the ‘biggest drone show in India, comprising 3,500 indigenous drones’ – at the Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29.

(With inputs from agencies)

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