Garhwal is a rich and diverse cultural region in Uttarakhand in the Himalaya mountains of North India. Following political agitation for separation from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand was established in 2000 as the 27th state within the Republic of India. Much of the Garhwal region can be understood both in terms of the sacred landscape of the Himalaya and in terms of intense pressure to develop infrastructure for pilgrimage, tourism, and economic growth. This pressure has had a profound impact on the fragile environment, on the cultural history of folk traditions in the mountains, and on the lives of musicians, artists, bards, and poets, who have been displaced by the construction of dams, by flooding caused by deforestation, and because of road construction to accommodate pilgrims and tourists.
Professor Datta Ram Purohit, Garhwal's leading authority on the performing arts, recognized poet in the tradition of Garhwali bards, and accomplished director of the regions theatrical tradition, Pandava Lila, will speak on these issues, with specific reference to a catastrophic flood in the sacred Kedarnath Valley, 2013.