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Ramlila at Ramnagar is a kingly affair


Vikram Thapa,CNN-IBN
Oct 01, 2006 at 02:43pm IST

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Ramnagar: The Ramlila at Ramnagar may be the most famous in Banares but it certainly isn't the most accessible.

Kunwar Anant Narain Singh, the Ramnagar Maharaja, is not very media-savvy when it comes to covering the event, but CNN-IBN was already there. So, here's what there was to the lila.

What was started in 1830 by Kashi Naresh Udit Narain Singh is still a popular religious drama of widespread reputation. People from all walks of life get together to praise lord Rama.

The boat, as usual, is the most popular mode of transport and also serves as the make-shift green room for the ramayanis.

As the boats lie in wait of the King under the evening sun, the crowds get thicker at Lanka. The Maharaja is late and the lila won't start without him. The slotted time is 1730 hrs (IST) and it's almost 2000 hrs (IST) when he finally arrives.

There's pin drop silence as the ramayanis recite the ramcharitramanas. Hanuman is on his way to Lanka when he meets Surasa, the sea demoness.

After this, the crowd moves to another part of Ramnagar where Sita lies in wait of Lord Rama. There are no amplifiers, no loud speakers, just paraffin lamps, the shrieking ramayanis and an ever alert audience.

Before Hanuman could meet Sita, the clouds over Ramnagar decided to gate crash and the crowd pulled begins to disperse.

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