Agasthya 2021

Two dancers portraying Agasthya and Rama with blue background


Produced with IDEA sponsorship, Agasthya was directed in November 2021 by Natyalaya School of Dance’s Kumari Radhika Rajalal. Kum. Radhika has been dancing with Natyalaya for many years and this was her third directorial undertaking. You may have seen her previous shows Ganga: a River’s Story, and Roopa Viroopa.

We want to take a minute to recognize Radhika and the immense effort and time it takes to handle a production like this while also taking virtual college courses. We greatly owe the success of the performance to Radhika.

Our preshow was performed by the Mohiniyattam students of Smt. Sandhya Pillai.

Sage Agasthya, born in a pot from the union of fire and water, is seen in various Indian texts including the Ramayana and Rig Veda. Believed to have lived in 1950-1100 BCE, Agasthya’s life is full of miraculous stories. He is said to have helped Rama defeat Ravana, to have created his wife Lopamudra using all the most beautiful aspects of nature, and to have made the entire Vindhya mountain range bend over.

The king tells Agasthya of the demons Ilvala and Vatapi. Ilvala would cut up his brother and serve him as food to the Brahmins. Ilvala would then call Vatapi back from the dead, killing the Brahmin’s as he burst from the stomach. When Agasthya arrives, Ilvala serves him Vatapi as well, but when he tries to call Vatapi back from the dead, Agasthya explains that he already digested him.

Two mohiniyattam dancers as Radha and Krishna in traditional white costumes

Two bharathanatyam dancers in green and red in agressive poses

Finally, the show ends with the creation of the Kaveri river. As Agasthya is carrying Lopamudra as water in a pot, he is approached by Ganesh, who tries to tip the pot. Agasthya gets angry and shoos Ganesh away. Ganesh transforms into a crow who messes with Agasthya as he meditates, eventually succeeding and topping Lopamudra out of the pot, creating the Kaveri river, a source of nourishment for millions to this day. 


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