The Festival of India in Cambodia

A taste of India is landing in Cambodia as The Festival of India prepares to celebrate the country’s rich culture and heritage at a series of events in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

The Festival of India, which starts today (WED) and runs until Feb. 19, is set to feature a feast of colour, art, dance and history. Hosted by the Embassy of India in Phnom Penh and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the event includes a Buddhist Festival, Buddhist-themed photo exhibition and Ramayana classical dance performance by the world-renowned Kalakshetra Foundation from Chennai.

The Ramayana is a great Indian epic that is similar to Cambodia’s Reamker. Different themes from chapters of the story will be retold to the audience in a stunning sequence of tales. These include Jatayu Moksham, Mahapattabhisekam and Choodamani Pradanam.

The Buddhist Festival, which takes place at Wat Ounalum, features photo exhibition, Dharam Darshan, which explores and illustrates the life and teachings of Buddha. A fascinating exhibition of butter sculptures also takes centre stage. These sculptures are traditionally made out of coloured butter and shaped into multi-coloured pieces of art. They are offered to enlightened beings in exchange for peace, prosperity and good luck.

The festival also gives visitors the chance to hear Himalayan Buddhist monks’ magical chanting. Noted for their skill at throat singing, a specialised form of chanting that produces multiple distinct pitches at the same time, some of the monks will be carrying out a rare performance.

During the five-day festival, monks from the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies will also be on hand to create an intricate sand mandala, a cosmic diagram that represents the dwelling place of a deity.

The Ramayana performances take place on Feb. 14 and 15 at Phokeethra Ballroom, Hotel Sofitel, Siem Reap, and on Feb. 17 to 19 at the Chaktomok Theater, Sisowath, Quay, Phnom Penh. All performances start at 6pm and tickets are free.

For the Phnom Penh performances only you can collect tickets in advance from Java cafe, Cambodia Living Arts office and a selection of Indian restaurants.

The Buddhist Festival takes place at Wat Ounalum, Sothearos Blvd, from today to Feb. 18, with the opening ceremony at 4pm today (WED).

For more information on the activities and where to get tickets from visit http://www.indembassyphnompenh.org