Mr Nigam at Lanka Minar
Duration: 00:11:36; Volume: 0.173; Words per Minute: 62.263
Pankaj: Roll sound
Nigam: This is Lanka Minar, built by my great grandfather, Babu Mathura Prasad Nigam in 1875. It was conceived as an open air stage and Ramlila used to be performed here. People of Kalpi come here for tourism.
A konch is blown in the background
Pankaj: Bhai sahib, please…
Nigam: I told you there are disturbing elements here …
Mr. Nigam is going up the Lanka Minar, this scene is there in final film.
(Nigam makes sounds to scare away monkeys) … These monkeys!
History of Kalpi
Mr. Nigam: This is Kalpi on bank of river Yamuna, at a latidue of 79 degrees, in the distantce is the outskirt of city of kanpur. This is entry point to Bundelkhand region. The city was at its prime during Mughal period. Birbal belonged to Kalpi. From religious point of view, it is birthplace of Vedvyas. In the West are the ravines, on another side is ‘84 Gumbad’, also 3 kms to the West is Phoolan Devi’s village, 5Kms away is Surya Temple, on this side is Vyas temple…
Pankaj: Don’t look at the camera, talk to me, I’m standing in front of you. Forget the existence of camera.
Mr. Nigam: So there is 84 Gumbad and Vyas temple and there is also a Durg of Chandela era. There Jhansi ki Rani, Nana Saheb,Tantya Tope, Nawab Of Banda had a meeting. Laxmibai had won everything from Jhansi to kalpi. There was a fierce battle for 7 days with Hugh Rose…
Mr Nigam describing 1857 can be seen in the final film. One also sees footage from 'Jhansi Ki Rani' directed by Sohrab Modi, yo illustrate the point.
Satheesh’s end announcement.
Pankaj: There used to be Ramlila in Lanka Minar, what scenes were played and in which part of the venue?
Nigam: This is the place next to Lanka Minar called Lanka Bazaar. One corner is called Ayodhya Puri, other side is called Lanka Puri. On the east are idols, which depict scenes from Ayodhya Kand to Sundar Kand.
(sound of train from lanka Minar)
Mr. Nigam: This palce was conceived as an open air stage. On the east are idols, which depict scenes from Bal Kand to Sundar Kand. And these scenes were played here only during Ramlila.
Pankaj: The structure is no longer that beautiful, even on top there used to be …
Nigam: Brahma’s idol, it got destroyed years ago in an earthquake… there are 7 rounds in Lanka Minar, in Hindu Mythology it’s believed that after death, the soul travels 7 spaces to reach Brahma Lok. So, 7 rounds depict 7 loks. That’s why Brahma’s idol is at the top.
Pankaj: The building is in bad shape, why?
Nigam: After abolition of Zamindari system, the building has not been maintained properly. Kalpi has been declared a tourist spot, so the government might intervene.
Pankaj: What place is this and what scenes from Ramlila were played out here?
Nigam: This is Janak Vatika. There is place for Kings to sit. The ‘breaking of the bow’, that scene was played here. In the corner there is a small temple, which Sita used to visit.
This is Lanka area. This has a Shiva temple. Ravan’s idol has been made in such a way so that he faces Shiva and can worship him all the time. Lankesh would live here, and go down this path, he would play Ravan’s role and participate in ‘breaking of the bow’.
Pankaj: Why did all this stop?
Nigam: After Lankesh’s death, this Ramlila ceased to exist.
Pankaj: Does Kalpi still have a Ramlila?
Nigam: Yes, but it does not have the grandeur and the number of days too have decreased. That time Manodri ws played by a Muslim woman, who had memorized Ramcharitmanas, and hence the Ramlila was a symbol of Hindu Muslim unity.
Pankaj: Why is Ramlila dying in Kalpi?
Nigam: People have lost interest in Ramlila and ‘cos of financial constraints the Ramlila is not held with so much grandeur.
Panakaj: I saw the Sun Temple, that too in a bad state why?
Nigam: It was built in Harshvardhan’s time and the Chinese traveler Faxian came here too. Bahubhoot’s Utarramcharitmanas was enacted there for first time. The temple is 10 Kms from here but most of it has been eaten up by the river, except its boundary and a canopy. According to Shastras, Krishna’s son Shyam, suffered from leprosy, he prayed there. Closeby is an enclosed waterbody, and a bath there cures you of leprosy. Kalpi, Konark, Multan – these places Sun temple was built.
Pankaj: Even ASI monument is in Bad condition why?
Nigam: The river again is cutting into it slowly, and if care is not taken in 20-25 years we will lose it to the river.