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Eastern Warriors: India - Festival at Royal Armouries Museum

Saturday 13 – Sunday 22 February


Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the rich and varied culture of India this February half term, at the Royal Armouries in Leeds through its exhibits and events for all the family, including dance, cookery, yoga and music.
Activities will highlight the museum’s impressive national collection of Indian arms and armour, including remarkable items such as their world record breaking Elephant armour and stunning jewel-encrusted weapons. Throughout the week the museum will also host a variety of tours, talks, craft sessions and film screenings.

Events Officer Gail Cockerill said, “It’s going to be a fantastic week packed full of a variety of cultural activities, creating a really fun half term programme for everyone to engage with.”

Highlights include:

• Indian Vegetarian cookery sessions
• Martial arts and combat demonstrations
• Music, drama and dance performances
• Indian art and craft activities
• Celebration of World Yoga Day
• Plus handling sessions and talks


Indian Vegetarian cookery sessions:

Saturday 13 and Saturday 21

Demonstrations: Join award winning, local chef Hansa Dabhi of Hansa’s Gujarati Vegetarian Restaurant in Leeds, as she demonstrates how mouth-watering Indian vegetarian delicacies can be created. (Free, no booking required but limited availability.)

Workshops: Participants will get a chance to make and take home a traditional Indian dish under the supervision of award winning local chef Hansa Dabhi. (Pre-booking required, £15 per head, limited spaces available.)

Music, drama and dance performances:

Monday 15

A day of music inspired by Indian traditions and instruments from renowned local organisations South Asian Arts and Manasamitra. Performances and workshops will take place throughout the day. (Free. No booking required).

Manasamitra Music Performances: Renowned musician Marc Layton Bennett will provide a performance demonstration of drum music using Bhangra rhythms as his inspiration. (Free, no booking required but limited availability.)

Manasamitra workshop: Marc Layton Bennett will lead this interactive session where participants will have a go with drums, other percussion instruments with the chance to learn the art of ‘Beat Boxing’. (Pre-booking required, £5 per head, ages 5+, limited availability.)

Performances from South Asian Arts: South Asian Arts-uk musicians Ustad Dharambir Singh, Kaviraj and Prabhjot invite visitors to listen to the beautiful sound of the100 strings of the Santoor, blending notes of the Sitar, and unique language of the Tabla. (Free, no pre-booking required but limited spaces available.)

Tabla workshops: Visitors are invited to discover the world of Indian music, have-a-go at the instruments and learn the language of the Tabla. (£3.50 per head, ages 8+ pre-booking advised as limited availability.)


Friday 19

Royal Armouries will be showcasing some of the finest Indian dance traditions performed by renowned local organisations Manasamitra and Trishool Dance Academy throughout the day.

Kathak demonstrations: Kathak is an ancient storytelling device and classical Indian dance form. Professional dancer Jyoti Uniyal will demonstrate this beautiful art combining dance, art and storytelling. (Free, no pre-booking required.)

Kathak workshops: Jyoti Uniyal will lead a Kathak dance workshop where participants can learn steps and gestures used in this traditional art form. (£2.50 per head, ages 5+, limited availability, no pre-booking required.)

Trishool - Modern Dance Performance: Dancers from the Trishool Dance Academy will perform powerful and energetic dance incorporating various dance styles inspired by Bollywood. (Free, no pre-booking required.)

Bollywood Workshop: An interactive fun workshop for visitors with Sanchez Singh Rayat from the Trishool Dance Academy on some basic Bollywood dance moves. (£2.50 per head, no pre-booking required but limited spaces available.)


Celebration of World Yoga Day:

Sunday 21

Visitors are invited to celebrate World Yoga Day and participate in a mass yoga session at the Royal Armouries. All ages and all abilities are welcome to have a go throughout the day.

Informal, drop-in sessions led by Leeds’ Yoga Hero will take place at 11am and 3pm, with a mass yoga session at 1pm led by an eminent Yoga scholar Shree Chandrakant Sharma of Jaipur in India. (Free, suitable for all levels, limited mats available.)


Indian art and craft activities

Henna: Monday 15, Tuesday 16 and Friday 19

A chance to have a fantastic henna design by a professional Henna artist from Mehndi Seasons. The designs are bespoke and drawn freehand. (£2.50 per head, no pre-booking required.)

Gatka combat training: Saturday 13, Sunday 14, Tuesday 16, Wednesday 17, Thursday 18 & Saturday 20.

Demonstrations: A traditional form of combat-training demonstrated by experts in this ancient martial art. (Free, no pre-booking required.)

Workshops: Learn the moves and discipline involved in this ancient martial art in our ‘have-a-go’ workshops throughout the day. (Free, no pre-booking required but limited availability.)

Shadow Puppet Workshops, Inkwell Arts - Tuesday 16, Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18:
Shadow theatre is one of the oldest art forms of India, and in this workshop participants will be inspired to create their own puppet and perform in a shadow puppet play. The play will be filmed and edited to create a full performance which will be available to view online. (Free, but booking required.)

Historical Indian Heroes and Heroines by Kishor Dabhi - Tuesday 16 Learn about some historical fighters of India who helped to change the course of history over the centuries. (Free, no booking required.)

Vedic Mathematics – Monday 15: A fun way to simplify mathematics for all ages by Shree Hasmukh Shah. (Free, no booking required.)

Crafts - Saturday & Sunday 13 & 14, and Saturday & Sunday 20 & 21: Cassandra Kilbride, textiles artist, will create Lotus flowers from floristry wire. Younger children can colour and cut out lotus-flower shapes to take home. The lotus flower is India's national flower and Indian dancer’s costumes are often adorned by flowers and bells. (£2.50, no booking required.)



Kathak dancing demonstration - Royal Armouries Museum