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Temple visits, academic exchanges: Sangamam delegates rediscover age-old Tamil Nadu-Kashi link

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VARANASI, Dec 29: Cultural performances, temple visits and academic dialogues on the banks of the Ganga gave delegates attending the Kashi Tamil Sangamam here an opportunity to rediscover the age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Kashi – two of the country’s ancient seats of learning.

The second edition of the sangamam, organised by the Union education ministry, began on December 17 and will conclude on Saturday. It is being attended by 1,400 delegates from Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry.

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“The visits to ghats and temples in Kashi and Prayagraj… it has been a mesmerising experience. Each place has a huge significance for people from Tamil Nadu, and the confluence of cultures is not a new phenomenon,” Satish Raj, a chemistry teacher from Tamil Nadu, who was part of the writers’ delegation, said.

The delegates have been divided into groups named after seven sacred rivers of the country and each comprises 200 members — students’ group (Ganga), teachers’ group (Yamuna), professionals’ group (Godavari), spiritual group (Saraswati), group of farmers and artisans (Narmada), writers’ group (Sindhu) and group of traders and businessmen (Kaveri).

Raj added that the academic sessions at the Namo ghat here were the most interesting for him.

Trustee at the Kashi Vishwanath temple, K Venkata Ramana Ghanapati, said delegates witnessed and experienced cuisines and different aspects of lifestyle and culture of the regions.

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Ghanapati, who is the first trustee of Tamil origin at the temple, said the itinerary of the delegates include a two-day outbound trip, a two-day return trip to Varanasi and a one-day trip each to Prayagraj and Ayodhya. “Till now, five delegate groups have visited Kashi,” he said.

More than 42,000 people had registered till December 8 to attend the sangamam, of which 1,400 were selected by a committee, according to officials.

Raj Chenna, another delegate, said that he is excited about the last leg of the trip, which is to Ayodhya. “We are less than a month away from the inauguration of the Ram temple. I am looking forward to visiting Ayodhya…I will definitely come back again after the inauguration,” Chenna said.

The consecration ceremony of the temple is scheduled to be held on January 22 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend it.

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Stalls at the Namo ghat showcasing handloom, handicrafts and cuisine gave delegates an insight into the rich aspects of Tamil Nadu’s and Kashi’s art and culture. Cultural programmes, combining the cultures of the two places, organised during the evenings, were a major attraction for the visiting delegates.

Seminars, discussions and lectures were organised to deliberate on literature, ancient texts, philosophy, spirituality, music, dance, drama, yoga, ayurveda, handloom and handicrafts as well as modern innovations, business exchanges, EdTech and other next-generation technologies.

Experts and scholars, local practitioners of various disciplines and professions from Tamil Nadu and Kashi are participating in these exchanges.

The sangamam aims at rediscovering, reaffirming and celebrating the age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Kashi. The first edition was a month-long event organised last year and more than 2,500 people from Tamil Nadu participated in it. (PTI)


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