A CAPTIVATING evening of Indian culture - from classical dance and mythological tales to rhythmic chanting - brought people together in unity.

Held at Victoria Hall in Keighley, The Bradford Hindu Council's Harmony Festival transported the audience through different time periods and traditions.

The event, hosted alongside ToNE:Tamils of Northern England, featured a dazzling array of performances from various Indian states.

It offered crowds a glimpse of each region’s artistic expressions.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Drumming at the festivalDrumming at the festival (Image: Bradford Hindu Council)

The show ventured south to Tamil Nadu, the tenth largest Indian state. 

Performers showcased Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form known for its intricate footwork and storytelling elements, and Parai, a drumming tradition with roots dating back centuries.

The Kummi dance, traditionally performed by women to celebrate good harvests, brought a burst of colour and movement to the stage.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Beautiful traditional outfits were wornBeautiful traditional outfits were worn (Image: Bradford Hindu Council)

Karagatam, another vibrant folk dance, featured dancers balancing a pot filled with water on their heads - symbolising strength and skill. 

It was also a chance to witness Silambu and Kalari, believed to be an ancient martial art form, and Oyillatam, a joyful harvest dance.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The event brought people togetherThe event brought people together (Image: Bradford Hindu Council)

Deepak Sharma, trustee of Bradford Hindu Council, said: “It was amazing to see so many different Hindu Indian cultures all on one stage. It felt like I was on a whirlwind tour of the whole country.

“It was a real explosion of colours, music, and storytelling.

“I saw families with young kids, groups of friends, and even a couple dressed in beautiful traditional Indian clothing. 

“It seemed like everyone was there to experience something new. The hosts did a great job explaining the dances.

“Sharing heritage through things like dance, music, and storytelling is powerful because it lets you connect with a culture on a deeper level.

“You're not just learning about it in a textbook, you're feeling it.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Performers on the stagePerformers on the stage (Image: Bradford Hindu Council)

Journeying to the north to Odisha, performers unveiled a graceful classical dance form known as Odissi, believed to have originated in temples.

From the north east, there was Assam's Bihu folk dance - a celebration of spring with a history dating back centuries - and Bhupen Hazarika's melodic songs, sung in both Hindi and Assamese.

Moving west, the program showcased the power and beauty of Punjabi Gidha, a folk dance traditionally performed by women to celebrate harvest and community.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Children got the opportunity to celebrate Indian heritageChildren got the opportunity to celebrate Indian heritage (Image: Bradford Hindu Council)

From the south-western state of Kerala, a captivating display of Kerala semi classical dance showcased the region's unique blend of grace and storytelling, often depicting mythological tales.

The cultural journey continued with Karnataka, the rhythmic chanting of Vachanas - traditional poems filled with spiritual wisdom.

Other events included Telugu poems, a Ugadi song, and vibrant folk dance performance inspired by the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The Bengali segment opened with a compilation of Tagore's English poetry, intertwined with song and dance.

This was followed by a performance of Nazrul's songs, a Bengali revolutionary poet who often wrote about freedom and social justice.