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Famous as "Cultural Capital of Chhattisgarh" Raigarh has made a name for itself as a cultural hub of India. The city has been home to many famous artists including Vijaya Sharma, Firtu Maharaj, Pt. Kartik Ram, Pt. Kalyan Das Mahant, Pt. Barman Lal to name a few. Raigarh is no strange when it comes to hosting cultural festivals.'Chakradhar Samaroh' organised anually on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the very popular fest of the region. It saw gathering of music and dance exponents from all over India. The event is
organized annually in the memory of the memory of Great King and
Musician Maharaja Chakradhar Singh.
The beginning of Chakradhar Samaroh!
The begining of this festival dates way back to the Maharaja Chakradhar Singh. The king of Raigarh, Maharaja Chakradhar Singh was a big fan of dance
and music. He possessed many skills like being a skilled dancer and
playing the tabla. He has inspired many and a lot of books on music were
penned by him. Chakradhar Samaroh was first started by the ancestors of
the king but it’s he who made the festival well known to all by his
love for music and his cravings for dance. He gathered musicians, dancers, artists and other entertainers from all over to Raigarh.
Even in those days Ganesh festival
in Raigarh were popular attracting artists from far and wide.
Before evenings 'Bhajan', 'Keertan', 'Gayan', 'Vadan', 'Nritya' were organized which
continued all the way up to late in the night in full swing on the
grounds of Badal Mahal in front of the Ganesh idol for all the audience of general
public. Raja Chakradhar Singh also arranged Ramleela, Gammat, Mesmerism, Gambling,
Wrestling etc. and in the main palace i.e. Moti Mahal the king organized
for classical music and Kathak dances for himself and his family
members.Today the celebrations are fixed on the basis of the Hindu calendar that usually falls between the months of September and October.
Everyone used to take part in this auspicious event. Farmers used to bring vegetables, rice and pulses etc. and donate them to the imperial store and everyone gave according to his status. Rations used to be distributed to every artist in the mornings. The traveling performers usually used to be accommodated in school buildings and other vacant houses of the town. Coats, utensils and other necessary items were also supplied by the king. He used to take good care of all his artists. The performers were also paid by the king according to what they deserved. The payment ranged money to other goods and sometimes even more.
Few years after the death of Raja Chakradhar Singh the festival came to a halt. The festival came back to life in 1984 when Sarvodaya Leader Keyur Bhushan came to Raigarh. It was under his chairmanship that the "Shri Chakradhar Lalit Kala Kendra" was established. The performances resumed back again during the Ganesh festival from 1985 onwards.
Today the district administration has proudly conducted almost 30 years of this celebration. The Samaroh is held in memory of the Late King Chakradhar who will always be known for his immense love and contribution in the field of music, arts and sports. The Samaroh stands as the hallmark of Cultural Heritage of the State. People from all over come and participate at this festival. The celebration is also followed by sports' events, namely wrestling and kabbadi which have been kept based on international standards.
Major Events and Attractions of Chakradhar Samaroh
This 10 day extravagant event in Raigarh attracts performers from every corner of the world. Every year historic Chakradhar Samaroh is organized by Madhya Pradesh Goverment. Madhya Pradesh Department Of Culture in coordination with district administration through public participation arranges for the 10 day long cultural fest. Music, Dance, Song are major events at Chakradhar Samaroh. Till date many renowned artists have participated in this famous cultural fest of Raigharh. Famous artists like Ustad Bismillah Khan, Teejan Bai, Pinaz Masani, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Esha Deol to name a few. Today this cultural festival has become synonymous with Raigarh and is has certainly added value making Raigarh a hub of culture. The amazing performances, culture of the people will definitely leave you impressed.