The Tenth Governing Board Meeting of the SAARC Cultural Centre

The SAARC Cultural Centre hosted the Tenth Meeting of its Governing Board from 30th to 31st October 2018 at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka. The meeting was convened under the Chairmanship of Ms. Anoja Guruge (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of Sri Lanka). Other distinguished members who represented the SAARC Member States at the Governing Board Meeting were: Mr. Mohammad Shafiq Ahmadzai (Executive Secretary to the Minister of Information and Culture, Government of Afghanistan), Mr. Abdul Mannan Illias (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of Bangladesh), Mrs. Rajashree Behera (Director, Indian Cultural Centre, High Commission of India for Sri Lanka), Ms. Dhana Kumari Joshi (Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka), Mr. Intisar Ahmad Sulehry (Press Attaché, Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka).

Ms. Thiloma Abayajeewa (Acting Deputy Director, South Asia and SAARC Division), and Ms. Nuwandi Jayasuriya (Assistant Director) represented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka. Ms. Varuni Muthukumarana (Director, Education, Security and Culture) represented the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu and Mrs. D.K.R. Ekanayake, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre represented the Centre.

The Director, SAARC Cultural Centre presented to the Board the progress of the activities implemented in the year 2018 by the Centre and proposed programmes for 2019. Indicative Programmes of the Centre for 2019 include an array of events ranging from research programmes to cultural festivals and the Centre will continue to work towards Development of Archaeology, Architecture, Promotion of Visual and Performing and Cultural Festivals in the Region.

After reviewing the progress of Centre’s work, the Governing Board unanimously approved the Programmes for 2019. The Board also congratulated the Centre for its achievements and its committed contribution towards safeguarding and promoting diverse aspects of South Asian Culture.


The Research Seminar on “Hindu Cultural Trails: Celebration of a Timeless Tradition – Gods and Goddesses, Pilgrims and Prayers, Temples and Texts” was successfully completed

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India
From 8th to 10th October 2018

The Research Seminar on “Hindu Cultural Trails: Celebration of a Timeless Tradition – Gods and Goddesses, Pilgrims and Prayers, Temples and Texts” was successfully completed in partnership with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi from 8th to 10th October 2018, with the participation of academics and officials from the Member States.  Participation from the Member States are as follows:

  • Bangladesh    5 participants
  • Bhutan    1 participant
  • India    35 participants
  • Pakistan    2 participants
  • Sri Lanka    5 participants

Dr. Karan Singh, Member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, erudite scholar, writer and researcher was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker at the Inauguration.  Mr. Kinga Singye Second Secretary Royal Bhutanese Embassy in India, Ms. Fozia Manzoor Political Counsellor of the Pakistan High Commission in India and Her Excellency the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara, and represented the Member States at the Inauguration.

The Research Seminar commenced with a panel discussion on Hindu Cultural Trails with administrator and academics sharing their views on a common platform.  The panel discussion was chaired Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi.  The panelists were as follows:

  1. Dr. B.R. Mani (Director General, National Museum, India)
  2. Mr. Ashim Kumar Dey (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Bangladesh)
  3. Mr. Tassadaque Hussain (Deputy Director National Archives, India)
  4. Mr. R. Kargen (Assistant Director, Department of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka)
  5. Dr. Mueezuddin Hakal (Taxila Institute of Asian Civilization, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan)
  6. Ms. Tshering Choki (Archivist, Department of Culture, Bhutan)
  7. Shri. Shrivatsa Goswami (Renowned Scholar and Head Priest of Radharamana Temple Vrindavan, India)

The Research Seminar had 10 sessions and 44 papers were discussed during these sessions which are as follows:
Session 1 A – Intangible Heritage and Pilgrimages
Chair – Mr. Ashim Kumar Dey (Bangladesh)

  1. Shakti pithas and Sacredscapes in South Asia: Faithscape, Spatiality and Pilgrimage Tourism – Rana P.B. Singh (India)
  2. Saivism in Koothu – A Traditional Community Theatre – S Chandrakumar (Sri Lanka)
  3. Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath: A Grand ceremony in India and the World – Chinmayee Satpathy (India)
  4. Pilgrimage Centre: The theatre of Intangible Heritage – Shrivatsa Goswami (India)

Session 1 B – Archaeology and Tourism
Chair – Prof. G.C. Tripathy (India)

  1. Pilgrimage: The visitation to Places where Heaven and Earth meet – D.P. Dubey (India)
  2. Durga Puja in Bangladesh: An Archaeological Analysis – Bijoy Krishna Banik (Bangladesh)
  3. Fresco Paintings at Katasraj Temple Complex – Kiran Shahid Siddiqui (Pakistan)
  4. Shaiva Mural Paintings of South India – A Study of Narration of Kiratarjuniya – Hathikote Anitha Chandrashekhar (India)

Session 2 A – Intangible Heritage
Chair Prof. Molly Kaushal (India)

  1. Hindu Cultural Trail focused through the Indian Village – Mohammad Hashim Qureshi (India)
  2. Hindu Cultural Trails in Bangladesh – Role of Government and Administration – Ashim Kumar Dey (Bangladesh)
  3. Shaivism as a symbol and Peace Co-existence – Umashankar Pachauri (India)
  4. Sacred Journeys and Cultural Heritage: Evaluating Prayaga and its Kumbh Mela – Ankur Goswami (India)
  5. Hindu Goddess Renuka – The legend with Relevence to Penance and Panch Maha – Bhoota Vaishnaavi Chavan (India)

Session 2 – Archaeology and Architecture
Chair Dr. D.P. Dubey (India)

  1. The Glory of Hindu Shahis as Represented by Kattha Temple in District Khoshab – Mueezuddin Hakal (Pakistan)
  2. Gods on Hindu Coins – Shirisha Kakarla (India)
  3. Sepulchral temples and Devaraja cult in South India and South East Asia – P. Venkatesan (India)
  4. Terracotta Folk Art and Traditional Knowledge System: An Anthropological Veenture into the Panchmura Village of Bankura District, West Bengal, India – Worrel Kumar Bain (India)

Session 3 A – Archaeology and Architecture
Chair – Dr. B.M Pandey (India)

  1. Art, Architecture and Archaeology of HCT in Bangladesh – Rabindra Gope (Bangladesh)
  2. The Forgotten Archaeological Remains at Mandar in Early medieval context: Its implications – Anil Kumar (India)
  3. Issues of Conservation in Majuli, Assam – Achal Pandya (India)
  4. Intangible Heritage of Cultural Routes of Jammu and Kashmir: Road towards Sustainable Development – Poonam Chaudhary (India)
  5. Ancient Temples in Telangana State – Deekonda Narsingh Rao (India)

Session 3 B – Pilgrimages
Chair – Mr. R. Kargen (Sri Lanka)

  1. Re-interpreting the Deeper Significance of Tirtha Yatra in Light of Some Basic ideas of Mahapurush Srimanta Sankaradeva, the Founder of Eka Sarana Nam Dharma in Assam – Archana Barua (India)
  2. Shiva Trail among the Himalayan Tribes – Molly Kaushal (India)
  3. Shaiva Trails: Timeless Tradition of Hindu Culture – Shanthi Swaroop Sinha (India)
  4. Study of Tirthas in Janasthaana with reference to Puranas – Chaitanya Jayant Gaidhani
  5. The Genesis of Shakti pitha and Hingula Shakti pitha of Baluchistan – N. D. Sharma

Session 4 A – Temples, Traditions and Pilgrimages
Chair – Dr. Archana Barua (India)

  1. Identification of Hindu Temples in Northern Province Kilinochchi District Sri Lanka – Vasana Premachandra, P.M. Renuka Priyadarshani & Kalpa Asanga (Sri Lanka)
  2. Reflection of Hindu Culture in Ajanta and its Preservation Through Digital Media – Prasad Pawar (India)
  3. Vaishnav Tirth: Sentimental Geography of Braj – Umesh Sharma (India)

Session 4 B – Geography, Governance, Education and Healing
Chair – Dr. Achal Pandya (India)

  1. Indic Pilgrimage Tradition and Sacred Geography – Arya P. Adityan (India)
  2. Sacred Geography of Kashmir – Advaitvadini Kaul (India)
  3. Relevance of Shanti Parva for the Present-day Polity and Governance in India – Bipin Kumar Thakur (India)
  4. Historizing the Eternal Healing System: Ayurveda, Myth and Reality – Saurav Kumar Rai (India)
  5. Role of School Education in Strengthening Cultural Ties Among SAARC Countries through the Hindu Cultural Trails: An Analytical Study of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) Text Books – Sharad Kumar Pandey (India)

Session 5 A – Gods, Goddesses and Pilgrimages
Dr. Kiran Shahid Siddique (Pakistan)

  1. The Role of Hindu Cultural Trails to Reconstruct the Cultural heritage of Bangladesh – Hasibul Hasan Sumi (Bangladesh)
  2. Goddess Nanda Devi Pilgrimage and Rupkund Mystery – Manwendra Singh Bartwal (India)
  3. From Bleeding Goddess to Bleeding Hearts – Ananya Barua (India)

Session 5 B – Intangible Cultural Heritage & Tourism
Chair – Ms. Tshering Choki (Bhutan)

  1. Trends of Hindu Religious Pilgrimage between Sri Lanka and India – Rajaratnam Kargen (Sri Lanka)
  2. The Influence of Vaishnava Cult on Bharathiya Natya Shastra: A Special Reference to Yakshagana – Santhoshi Subrahmanya (India)
  3. Intangible Cultural Heritage of Assam – Sattriya: The Path Pristine – Sharodi Saikia (India)
  4. The Confluence of Vaishnava and Shakta Traditions in Mohiniyattam – Aiswaria Wariar (India)
  5. Sankirtana of Manipur: Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – S. Shyamkishore Singh (India)

The papers discussed within these 10 sessions included new archaeological findings on Hindu Cultural Trails from the Member States, documentation of Hindu art and archaeology, Archaeology, Tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage, Texts, Tourism, Heritage Management, etc.  A discussion was held during the Question and Answer sessions which followed the presentation.  These discussions enabled the participants to share their ideas and of course gain new knowledge about the work within the Region.  The Research Seminar was concluded on 9th October 2018 with the distribution of certificates of participation for the paper presenters and gifts of books and DVDs presented by the IGNCA.

On 10th October 2018, the participants joined a Cultural Tour to sacred area of Vrindavan near Mathura and visited Radhamadha Jaipur Temple and Govind Dev Temple.  Lunch was organised at the Jai Singh Ghera constructed by the founder of Jaipur Sawai Jay Singh in early 18th century.  The Research Seminar and Cultural Tour both brought together a camaraderie among all participants and established academic and social links among the participants.


Courtesy calls on SAARC High Commissions and Embassies in Sri Lanka

The objectives of the SAARC Cultural Center are to promote regional unity through cultural integration and contribute towards preservation, conservation and protection of South Asia’s cultural heritage within the framework of the SAARC Agenda for Culture. To work towards these objectives successfully Mrs. D.K.R. Ekanayake, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka, paid courtesy call upon the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Counselors of the SAARC Member States in Sri Lanka. Together they discussed the forthcoming Governing Board meeting to be held in Sri Lanka on the 30th and 31st of October 2018 and the future action plans regarding the programmes. She further reiterated them to continue their active participation and support to build an intercultural dialogue and harmony through the programmes to be conducted by the SAARC Cultural Centre.


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Director SCC with Mr. Muhammad MunirGhiasy, Charge de Affairs
Embassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Director SCC with The High Commissioner H.E. Riaz Hamidullah, The High Commission of Bangladesh Director SCC with Mohamed Ahamed Waheed, Counsellor, Embassy of Maldives and Ali Abdulla,Third Secretary, Embassy of Maldives Director SCC with H.E. Prof. Bishwambher Pyakuryal High Commissioner of Nepal in Sri Lanka, Embassy of Nepal Director SCC with H.E. Maj. Gen (Rtd.) Dr. Shahid Ahmed Hushmat, High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, The High Commission of Pakistan

SAARC Non-Violence Day Art Competition for School Children

SAARC Art Competition organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre would like to inspire the School children to promote the Concept of Non-Violence through their creativity.  The Centre intends to highlight the need to inspire peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, co-existence and respect for people.  Winners in each category will be awarded cash prizes and certificates and the Award Ceremony which will be held in conjunction with the SAARC Charter Day on 8th December 2018.

The Art Competition is open to school children in two age groups (Age as of 1st January 2018) using the following topics for their Artworks,

  1. Junior Category: 10 – 13 years: “The good man is the friend of all living things” – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. Senior Category:14 – 18 years : “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of  what we are doing to ourselves and to one another” – Mahatma Gandhi

All paintings should be submitted in the following format
Size       : Standard A3
Medium: Water Colours, Crayons, Acrylic, Oil

All paintings should be accompanied with the following information:

  • Name in Full
  • Age and Date of Birth
  • Name of School
  • Paintings should be certified by the Principal, Art Teacher, or the Class Teacher. (The entry should be the original work of the school children and there should be no assistance rendered by anyone else)

Completed Paintings, with the above-mentioned information, must reach the SAARC Cultural Centre on or before the 1ST OF NOVEMBER 2018. Late entries and entries with incomplete information will not be accepted. The submitted work will remain the property of the SAARC Cultural Centre.

The winner in each category will be awarded a certificate and a cash prize as follows:
1st Prize      LKR. 25,000/=
2nd Prize     LKR. 20,000/=
3rd Prize      LKR. 15,000/=
The School that sends in the highest number of entries will receive a Certificate of Recognition. The Award Ceremony will be held on SAARC Charter Day, the 8th of December 2018. Details of the ceremony will be informed in due course and will be available via

Entries must be sent (By Registered Post or Delivered by Hand) to:
The Documentation Officer / Programme Assistant,
The SAARC Cultural Centre, No. 224, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.

For further clarification please contact 0771053008 / 0723915808 / 0112584451
We look forward to receiving completed and certified entries for this unique children’s art competition.

Staff Profiles

Under Construction


SAARC Cultural Capital

The city of Thimphu in the SAARC Member State of Bhutan was decalred the SAARC Cultural Capital for the year 2018, at an auspicious and traditional opening ceremony on the 31st of May 2018. The Exhibition of Handicrafts was also declared open following the official ceremony.

The Chief Guest  for the event was the  honorable chairperson of the National Council of Bhutan, Tashi Dorji.  H.E. the Secretary General of SAARC graced the occasion and addressed the gathering. The Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, the Director General of the Ministry of Cultural and Home Affairs, Directors from the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, distinguished delegates from ministries of the SAARC Member States, staff from the SAARC Cultural Centre and the participants from the Member States for the Handicraft Exhibition were in attendance.

It was a marvellous celebration and display of culture in Bhutan and was a most successful and creative opening ceremony, including a SAARC parade of participants from the SAARC Member States and the performance of the especially composed SAARC theme song.

The programme will conclude on the 1st of June 2018.

SAARC Art Competition – to Mark International Non- Violence Day

October 2016

The SAARC Cultural Centre, mandated to promote culture in the region will celebrate SAARC Non- Violence Day, with an Art Competition for children. October 2nd is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Ghandhi, who in recent history, revived the principle of non violence.  At the root of many of the problems faced by the world today, is the various forms of violence including those against the environment, augmented by social strife and inequity.

The SAARC Cultural Centre will reach out to children in schools across the island by organizing an Art Competition that would create awareness on the need to revive and inspire in our societies peace, tolerance, non discrimination, co-existence, non-violence and respect for each other. The competition is opened to all children in two age groups

Junior Category – Ages 5 – 14, Senior Category – Ages 14 – 19

The paintings should be based on the following themes

Junior Category :  “You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

Senior  Category: “My religion is based on truth and non violence. Truth is my God, Non Violence is the means of realizing him” Mahatma Gandhi

All paintings should be submitted in the following format

Size :  Standard A3

Medium : Water Colours, Crayons, Accrylic, oil

All paintings should be accompanied with the following information:

Name in Full, Age, Name of School, Title of the painting

DEADLINE – 30th  October 2016

Cash Awards will be given for the first three in each category. ( 1st Prize 25,000/ 2nd Prize 20,000/3rd Prize 15,000)  The Award Ceremony and Exhibition of Paintings will be held in December to coincide with SAARC Charter Day 2016. All selected paintings will receive a certificate of participation. Late entries will not be accepted. The school that sends the most number of entries will be acknowledged.  All entries should be sent to the SAARC Cultural Centre, 224, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. For further clarification please contact 0771053008


The Centre is intended to function as a major meeting point for the artistic communities of the member states. The Centre will provide the necessary facilities and conditions for individuals and groups in various fields of interest to meet and interact in a conducive environment.