DatesStart Date: 25-02-2020 End Date: 03-03-2020
LocationKhajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Dance, a form of art that is widely popular around the globe. It is practiced in different forms- classical, western and folk. For dance lovers all over the world, the Khajuraho Dance Festival is one of the most anticipated festivals. It is organized by the Kala Parishad of the Madhya Pradesh government. It is held in the Chattarpur district against the backdrop of the enchanting Khajuraho temples. The festival is an attempt to promote Indian classical dance forms- Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali to name a few. It is a seven-day long festival which usually takes place from the 20th of February to the 26th of February.
The Khajuraho Group of Temples is a group of Hindu temples which is located in the Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. These groups of temples were built by the rulers of the Chandela Dynasty somewhere between 950 and 1050. Out of the 85 temples that were originally built only 25 survive today. It is believed that after the Delhi Sultanate took over, many temples were destroyed, and some were simply neglected.
The temples have been declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO. The temples were dedicated to Hindu and Jain gods to symbolize the harmony and co existence of the two religions. The Khajuraho temples attract a lot of temples owing to a vast number of erotic sculptures in the premises of the temple. When people visit, they are in for a surprise because the temples have so much more in store for the visitors apart from these erotic sculptures. The sculptures represent the importance of Kama, or sexual desires, as an important part of the human life.
Out of the various sculptures present in the temple, approximately only 10 percent of those are erotic. The rest depict scenes from mythological stories, scenes from the lives of Gods and Goddesses, or simply some scenes from the daily life of a common man. Well, it should be remembered that contrary to the popular misconception, the sculptures do not represent Gods engaging in sexual activities. The sculptures also depict some hybrid mythical animals. Whatever they may represent, the sculptures are bound to leave the visitors awestruck by their beauty.
Dance has always been an inseparable part of Indian culture and history and even Mythology. In mythology, we have Shiva’s Tandava, which was also known as the dance of destruction, Krishna’s Raas-Leela with his Gopis and the dances of the beautiful Apsaras, like Meneka and Urvashi. Lord Shiva is also worshipped as Nataraja, the God of Dance. In the courts of great kings, it was a tradition of having a court dancer and the kings immensely enjoyed these dance performances. Everyone has heard the tragic love story of Salim and Anarkali. Saleem was a prince and Anarkali was a mere dancer in the court of his father. Every festival in our country is incomplete without dance and music.
The dance festival held at Khajuraho is a seven-day long festival which is an attempt for the revival and preservation of the Indian cultural heritage. The festival was started in the year 1975 to celebrate the expressive nature of the Indian classical dance forms. The classical dance forms include Kathak, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam among the others. Renowned classical dancers from all over the country and the world gather here to participate in this seven-day long fest.
It takes place in front of the Chitragupta temple, which dedicated to Lord Surya, and the Vishwanath temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is definitely a treat to watch the dancers all decked up in their beautiful costumes and jewelry and dancing to mesmerizing music. This year the stage was graced by renowned dancers of the Indian classical world like ArushiNishank, Radha-Raja Reddy, Lakshmi Vishwanathan and DarshnaJhaveri. To witness the beautiful dance forms against the backdrop of the beautiful temples is a visual treat that is sure to leave a lasting impact on the spectators. The dance festival begins at seven in the evening and goes on till late at night. There are no entry charges and it is free for everyone. Western dance forms have only been added to it recently.
The Ministry of Culture and the SahityaNatakAkademi recognize nine dances as classical dances which are Kathak, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam, Sattriya and Chhau. These different forms of dances come from the different parts of the country and differ in their form and expression, but they do haveone thing in common which is the grace with which they are performed. ShastriyaNritya is an umbrella term used to describe all these dance forms. The Indian Classical dance forms are traditionally religious and nature. All of them include traditional music or the recitation of verses in the local language or Sanskrit. They enact scenes from classical Sanskrit plays. They are very expressive in nature. They may be diversified in the form of the expression and costumes but are united in the representation of the core ideas. The dancers generally wear heavy makeup and costumes which add to the beauty of the dance, especially in dance formslikeChhau and Kathakali, the elaborate costumes play an important role in the performance of the dance.
The city is well connected by air,railways and road.Chattarpur district is just about 620kilometers southeast of New Delhi. There is a domestic airport which is just 12 kilometers away from the Khajuraho temple.One can easily find buses taxis and cabs which carry passengers from the airport to the world heritage site.The city of Khajuraho also has its own railway station and it is located right in the heart of the city.One can find public transportation of all kinds,whichever is suitable,from the railway station.The city also has good connectivity by road too. The roads are in a very good condition which enables people to travel comfortably. State owned buses, which may be air conditioned or non air conditioned, ply frequently on the roads of Madhya Pradesh. There are a lot of options and one can always choose the option with which one is most comfortable with.
The dance festival is bound to leave the travelers with an experience of a lifetime. While people are there to witness the dance festival, they can also explore the Khajuraho temple, Bhimbetka caves and SanchiStupa, all of which have been declared world heritage sites. The Khajuraho temples stand tall to this day braving the test of time and weather and as the temple mesmerizes people with its beautiful architecture, so does the performance of the dancers.
Delhi - Agra
Gwalior - Khajuraho - Bhopal - Bhimbetka - Sanchi - Ujjain - Indore - Mandu - Jalgaon - Aurangabad - Bombay (Mumbai)
Delhi - Agra
Dholpur - Bateshwar - Mitawali - Padhavali - Gwalior - Chanderi via Sonagir and Datia - Orchha - Khajuraho via Dhubela - Jabalpur - Bhopal via Sanchi Stupa and Udaygiri Caves - Delhi and departure
Delhi - Dholpur
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