Current Affairs - Indian Art, Culture & Heritage

India gets back Goat-Headed Yogini Statue

  • A 10th century stone idol of goat-headed Yogini was handed over to India by the High Commission of India, London.
  • The idol was illegally removed from Uttar Pradesh's Banda from a temple in Lokhari.
  • The theft had taken place somewhere in the 1980s.
  • The goat-headed Yogini sculpture belonged to a group of stone deities carved in sandstone and installed in the Lokhari temple.
  • Notably, another similar sculpture of the buffalo-headed Vrishanana Yogini was stolen from the same temple in Lokhari and was recovered by India in the year 2013. It was repatriated by the Embassy of India in Paris.
  • Yoginis are a group of powerful female divinities associated with the Tantric mode of worship. They are worshipped as a group, often 64, and are believed to possess infinite powers.

‘Mera Gaon, Meri Dharohar’: First ever Cultural Survey of India’s Villages

  • The Union Ministry of Culture is going to survey the cultural aspects of Indian villages.
  • It has partnered with the Common Services Centres (CSC), a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), to undertake the first ever cultural survey of India’s villages.
  • The survey titled ‘Mera Gaon, Meri Dharohar’ seeks to document the cultural identity at the village level by involving citizens to share what makes their village, block, or district unique.
  • CSC will develop a mobile application and train the VLEs in conducting the survey.
  • Over 4 lakh Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs), managing the CSCs across the country, will conduct the survey in 6.38 lakh villages and upload the details on to the application.
  • VLEs will conduct meetings with citizens at the villages and then upload interesting facts about their village, its places of interest, customs and traditions, famous personalities, festivals and beliefs, art and culture, etc., on the application.

Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity

The Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity during its 16th session being held at Paris, France, from 13th to 18th December 2021.

  • The Committee commended Durga Puja for its initiatives to involve marginalized groups, and individuals as well as women in their participation in safeguarding the element.
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage: Intangible cultural heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural heritage.
  • Its relevance is not in the cultural manifestation itself, but in the wealth of knowledge, know-how and skills that are transmitted from one generation to the next.
  • Significance: This is a recognition of the confluence of our rich heritage, culture, rituals and practices and a celebration of the feminine divinity and the spirit of womanhood.
  • India’s ICH Elements: With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.
  • Recent Additions: The ICH elements that saw inscriptions in recent years are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017), Yoga (inscribed 2016) among others.
  • India is a signatory of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage along with traditions and living expression.

Rani Gaidinliu Tribal Freedom Fighters Museum

On 22nd November 2021, Union Home Minister laid foundation stone for setting up the Rani Gaidinliu Tribal Freedom Fighters Museum at Luangkao village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.

About Rani Gaidinliu

  • Rani Gaidinliu was born on January 26, 1915 at Nungkao village in Tamenglong district of Manipur.
  • She was a spiritual and political leader who belonged to the Rongmei tribe of Manipur.
  • At the age of 13, she joined the freedom movement and later spearheaded the socio-political movement to drive out the British.
  • In 1932, she was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. She spent 14 years in jail and was released only after India’s Independence in 1947.
  • In 1972, she was awarded Tamara Patra by the Government of India for her contribution to the freedom movement. She also received the Padma Bhushan in 1982.

‘Pochampally’ wins UNWTO’s ‘Best Tourism Villages’ Award

Pochampally village in Telangana has been selected as one of the best Tourism Villages by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

  • The Award will be given on the occasion of the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly on 2nd December 2021 in Madrid, Spain
  • The Ministry of Tourism recommended three villages for the UNWTO Best Tourism Village entry from India - Kongthong in Meghalaya, Ladhpura Khas, Madhya Pradesh and Pochampally in Telangana.

Importance of Pochampally Village

  • Silk City of India: Pochampally is a town in Nalgonda district of Telangana and is often referred to as the Silk City of India for the exquisite sarees that are woven through a unique style called Ikat. This style, Pochampally Ikat, received a Geographical Indicator (GI Status) in 2004.


  • Ikat is a Malaysian, Indonesian word which means “Tie and Dye”.
  • Ikat involves the process of wrapping (or tying) and dyeing sections of bundled yarn to a predetermined colour pattern before they are woven.
  • The dye penetrates into exposed sections while the wrapped section remains undyed.
  • This pattern formed by the yarn in this process is woven into fabric.
  • Bhoodan Pochampally: Pochampally is also known as Bhoodan Pochampally to commemorate the Bhoodan Movement that was launched by Acharya Vinobha Bhave from this village on April 18th, 1951. Currently a two room Vinobha Bhave Mandir exists within the village which was earlier the place where Vinobha Bhave resided during his visit to the village.

About the Award

  • The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO Pilot initiative aims to award those villages which are outstanding examples of rural destinations and showcase good practices in line with its specified nine evaluation areas.
  • It also aims to support villages to enhance their rural tourism potential through training and access to opportunities for improvement.

Rani Kamlapati: The Last Hindu Queen of Bhopal

The Habibganj railway station in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has been renamed after 18th-century Gond Queen of Bhopal, Rani Kamlapati – the last Hindu Queen of Bhopal.

  • Kamlapati was daughter of Raja Kirpal Singh Sarautia of the princely state of Salkanpur, Sehore. She is known for her intelligence and courage.
  • Rani Kamlapati was an expert horse rider, wrestler and an archer. She fought wars with her father’s military and her female team and she protected her kingdom from invaders.
  • Rani Kamlapati was married to Nizam Shah, the son of Suraj Singh Shah who reigned over the state of Ginnaurgarh.
  • Nizam Shah had built a palace, the Kamlapati Mahal, for the queen in Bhopal, which was completed in 1722. The monument is designated as one of national importance and is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • After Rani Kamlapati's death in 1723, the rule of Nawabs started in Bhopal, led by Dost Mohammad Khan.

Meghalaya celebrates ‘Wangala’ Festival

This year, Wangala Festival was started in Meghalaya on 12 November. Usually, this celebration lasts for two days, but sometimes it can continue for a week also.

  • The Wangala Festival, also known as the 100 drum festival is celebrated in Meghalaya.
  • It's the most important festival of the Garo tribe.
  • Wangala is a post-harvest festival, when the Garos give thanks to Misi Saljong (also known as Pattigipa Ra∙rongipa), the Sun God, for blessing the people with a rich harvest. (Shad Sukra is a festival celebrated in Meghalaya every year before the sowing season by the Jaintia people. Only after the commencement of this festival that the sowing of seeds takes place).
  • The celebration of the Wangala Festival marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good output of the fields. It also signifies the onset of winter.
  • Wangala is celebrated with different forms of dance. These dances are performed on the tunes of folk songs that are played on drums and primitive flute (made of buffalo horns).

Ragula: On the first day of the festival, people celebrate it with a ceremony called Ragula. This ceremony is performed in the house of the village’s chief. On this day, people dress up in colourful costumes along with feathered headgears.

Kakkat: On the second day of celebration, which is called Kakkat, people begin the ceremony by dancing to the rhythms of long oval-shaped drums. In this celebration, young and old join together while men play the drums and women perform traditional dance forms. The dance form is known as Dama Dagota which is done to please God Saljong.

Ganga Utsav 2021

The 5th edition of Ganga Utsav-The River Festival 2021 was celebrated recently.

  • The annual event is organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) jointly with the Ministry of Jal Shakti to mark the anniversary of the announcement of River Ganga as the ‘National River’ on November 04, 2008.
  • The “Ganga Utsav 2021 – The River Festival” celebrated the glory of the river Ganga as well as all the rivers of the country to promote the celebration of ‘Nadi Utsav’ (River Festival).
  • At the event among several other initiatives, Continuous Learning and Activity Portal (CLAP) was launched. It is a learning portal to keep children and youth engaged throughout the year towards protection and restoration of our rivers.


NMCG is the implementation wing of National Ganga Council, set up in 2016, which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NRGBA).

Srinagar joins UNESCO Network of Creative Cities

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is among the 49 cities selected worldwide to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

  • It has been designated as a creative city of craft and folk arts.
  • These 49 cities were added to the network of 246 cities following their designation by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, in recognition of "their commitment to placing culture and creativity at the heart of their development and to sharing knowledge and good practices".
  • The Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU) had recommended Srinagar and Gwalior for inclusion in the coveted list, only Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital made it.

(Image Source: The Kashmir Pulse)

Other Indian Cities on the List

  • Chennai and Varanasi - UNESCO Cities of Music
  • Jaipur - UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Arts
  • Mumbai - UNESCO City of Film
  • Hyderabad - UNESCO City of Gastronomy

The network now numbers 295 cities reaching 90 countries that invest in culture and creativity — crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music — to advance sustainable urban development.

About UCCN

  • The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
  • The cities under this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

Aim of the Initiative

  • The UNESCO Creative Cities aims to achieve Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action (Sustainable Development Goal 11 aims for Sustainable Cities and Communities).

What does it mean to join UNESCO' Creative Cities Network?

  • By joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), cities commit to sharing their best practices and developing partnerships involving the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services.
  • They also pledge to develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector.

On Abhidhamma Day 2021, Kushinagar gets Intl. Airport

  • The Union Culture Ministry and International Buddhist Confederation, in association with the government of Uttar Pradesh, is organising the Abhidhamma Day (20th October 2021) on the auspicious occasion of Ashwin Poornima.
  • The day marks the end of three-month rainy retreat - Varshavaas or Vassa - for the Buddhist monks and nuns during which time they stay at one place and pray.

(Image Source: PIB)

Popular Belief

  • According to widely held belief, this is the day when Lord Buddha came back to earth from heaven. He is believed to have gone to the heaven to teach Abhidhamma Pitaka (a basket of ultimate things) to his mother. The teaching took three months after which Buddha came back to Earth. His followers too mark the three-month time by staying at one place and praying.


  • On 20th October 2021, Prime Minister of India will attend 'Abhidhamma Day' event in UP's Kushinagar on occasion of inauguration of Kushinagar International Airport.
  • The ancient city of Kushinagar is the final resting place of Gautama Buddha, where he attained Mahaparinirvana after his death. The prime tourist attractions in Kushinagar includes the ancient Mahaparinirvana Temple- one of the most sacred shrines for Buddhists, Rambhar Stupa, Kushinagar Museum, Sun Temple, Nirvana Stupa, Matha Kuar Shrine, Watt Thai Temple, Chinese Temple, Japanese Temple.

Observation Highlights

  • The highlight of the event is the exposition of Holy Buddha Relic being brought from Waskaduwa Sri Subuddhi Rajvihara Temple in Sri Lanka by the Mahanayaka of the temple.
  • These relics are accepted as real relics (bone fragments, ashes, pieces of Jewels) of the Buddha.
  • These relics were found in Piprahwa, Sidharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, about 160 km from Kushinagar, in 1898. A part of the relics was sent to the King of Thailand and another part was sent to the King of Burma.
  • The Prime Minister will offer prayers to the Holy Relic and also visit the Mahaparinirvana temple to offer flowers and Chivar (a monk's robe) to the reclining statue of Buddha.

Chivar Dana

  • Chivar refers to a “monk’s robe”. The period after three month long Varshavas, observed as retreat by monks and nuns by staying in vihara during rainy season, is a time of giving, for the laity to express gratitude to Sangha.
  • Lay Buddhists bring donations to temples, especially new robes for the monks and nuns.
  • Also the gift of the atthaparikara (in Sri Lanka it is known as Atapirikara) - the Eight Requisites - is part of the offerings.
  • However, Dana of Chivara can also be given on other occasions.

The Reclining Buddha

  • A reclining Buddha statue or image represents the Buddha during his last illness, about to enter Parinirvana, the stage of great salvation after death that can only be attained by enlightened souls.
  • Statues and images of the Reclining Buddha show him lying on his right side, his head resting on a cushion or on his right elbow. It is a popular iconographic depiction in Buddhism, and is meant to show that all beings have the potential to be awakened and be released from the cycle of death and rebirth.
  • The Reclining Buddha was first depicted in Gandhara art, which began in the period between 50 BC and 75 AD.
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