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The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, established in memory of Smt. Indira Gandhi, is visualised as a centre encompassing the study and experience of all the arts -- each form with its own integrity, yet within a dimension of mutual interdependence, interrelated with nature, social structure and cosmology.

This view of the arts, integrated with, and essential to the larger matrix of human culture, is predicated upon Smt. Gandhi's recognition of the role of the arts as essential to the integral quality of person, at home with himself and society.  It partakes of the holistic worldview so powerfully articulated throughout Indian tradition, and emphasized by modern Indian leaders from Mahatma Gandhi to Rabindranath Tagore.

The arts are here understood to comprise the fields of creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting and graphics to general material culture, photography and film; the performing arts of music, dance and theatre in their broadest connotation; and all else in fairs, festivals and lifestyle that has an artistic dimension.  In its initial stages the Centre will focus attention on India; it will later expand its horizons to other civilizations and cultures.  Through diverse programmes of research, publication, training, creative activities and performance, the IGNCA seeks to place the arts within the context of the natural and human environment.  The fundamental approach of the Centre is all its work will be both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

Recognizing the need to encompass and preserve the distributed fragments of Indian art and culture, a pioneering attempt has been made by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) to serve as a major resource centre for the arts, especially written, oral and visual materials. One of the programmes of this centre, in collaboration with UNDP, is to utilize multimedia computer technology to create a wide variety of software packages that communicate cultural information. Multimedia technology allows the user to interact and explore the subject in a non-linear mode by combining audio, text, graphics, animation and video on a computer.



  • to serve as a major resource centre for the arts, especially written, oral and visual source materials;

  • to undertake research and publication programmes of reference works, glossaries, dictionaries and encyclopaedia concerning the arts and the humanities;

  • to establish a tribal and folk arts division with a core collection for conducting systematic scientific studies and for live presentations.

  • to provide a forum for a creative and critical dialogue through performances, exhibitions, multi-media projections, conferences, seminars and workshops between and amongst the diverse arts, traditional and cotemporary;

  • to foster dialogue between arts and current ideas in philosophy, science and technology, with a view toward bridging the gap in intellectual understanding between modern sciences and arts and culture;

  • to evolve models of research programmes and arts administration more portinent to the Indian ethos;

  • to elucidate the formative and dynamic factors in the complex web of interactions between diverse social strata, communities and regions;

  • to promote an network with national and international institutions; and

  • to conduct related research in the arts, humanities and culture.


Group Song

The IGNCA was launched on 19th November, 1985 by the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi at a function where the symbolism of the components was clearly articulated at different levels. The elements - fire, water, earth, sky and vegetation - were brought together. Five rocks from five five major rivers - Sindhu, Ganga, Kaveri, Mahanadi and the Narmada (where the most ancient ammonite fossils are found) were composed into sculptural forms. These will remain at the site as reminders of the antiquity of Indian culture and the sacredness of her rivers and her rocks. In a simulated pool, the first of the principles of vegetation, the lotus bloomed. Shri Rajiv Gandhi floated lighted lamps on the water.

Foundation stone was one of an ancient 'Deodar' trees

A rare instrument called Pancamukha Vadya

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Trust was constituted and registered at New Delhi on 24th March 1987.

The founder trustees of IGNCA were Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Shri R. Venkataraman, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, Smt. Pupul Jayakar, the Finance Minister of 1987, Shri H. Y. Sharada Prasad and Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan.

Shri Rajiv Gandhi floating lamp on a lotus leaf


Audience at the inauguration of IGNCA



The five trees  which are most significant in Indian civilization were planted by the Late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi. These trees are associated with the different divisions of the Centre and replanted appropriately.-

Shri Rajiv Gandhi Planting a tree at Inaugruation


The Asvattha (Ficus Religiosa), popularly known as the Bodhi tree, symbolizing enlightenment after a period of introspection; the constant quest of delving into the self and human consciousness for future enlightenment, is the first principle of the Centre. It is the central conceptual pillar. 

The Asvattha is associated with the SUTRADHARA.


The Nyagrodha (Ficus Bengalensis), a tree which grows to large proportions, the basis of the metaphysical metaphor of the upside down tree with branches which grow roots and roots which grow as branches. This interplay of the past and the present, rejuvenation and renewal, allowing for fluidity within periphery of a circle with a still Centre, is the second principle. 

The Nyagrodha is associated with the landscaping of JANAPADA SAMPADA.


The Asoka (Saraca Indica), an ancient tree from which the name of the great emperor Asoka was derived, means, without grief. The tree and the name have provided some of the most fundamental motifs to Indian art. Representing fertility, it pervades the classical and medieval arts. It is as important in the biological sciences as it is in metaphysics and the artistic traditions. The tree symbolises the interdisciplinary approach, the third fundamental principle of the centre. 

The Asoka is associated with KALA NIDHI.


The Arjuna (Terminalia), the tree represents clarity and purity, erectness and direction. Intellectual rigor, incisiveness and integrity, become the fourth principle of the Centre. Through its long range reference work programmes it is hoped that a clearer and more balanced view of the Indian arts will be evident. 

The Arjuna is associated with KALA KOSA.


The Kadamba (Anthocephallus Camba), the fragrant flower tree representing joy, mirth, play, dance and music. The essence of creativity with its bliss and joy, its fragrance and its upliftment make the fifth principle. 

The Kadamba is associated with KALA DARSANA


Sno. Name Designation Email Phone No.

Shri Ram Bahadur Rai

2 Dr. Sonal Mansingh
3 Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi
4 Shri Nitin Chandrakant Desai
5 Dr. K. Arvinda Rao
6 Shri Vasudeo Kamath
7 Dr. Mahesh Sharma
8 Dr. Bharat Gupt
9 Dr. M. Seshan
10 Mrs. Rathi Vinay Jha
11 Prof. Nirmala Sharma
12 Shri Harshvardhan Neotia
13 Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam
14 Dr. Saryu V. Doshi
15 Shri Prasoon Joshi
16 Dr. Daya Prakash Sinha
17 Shri Birad Rajaram Yajnik
18 Secretary, Ministry of Culture
Member (ex-officio)    
19 Additional Secretary and financial advisor of Culture Ministry
Member (ex-officio)    
20 Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi
Member Secretary, IGNCA
Member (ex-officio)    
Sno. Name Designation Email Phone No.

Shri Ram Bahadur Rai

2 Dr. K. Arvinda Rao
3 Dr. Bharat Gupt
4 Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi
5 Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi Member Secretary    



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