India’s largest classical dance expo kicks off amidst much excitement and pomp. Khajuraho, located right at the heart of the Indian subcontinent is home to the largest cluster of medieval temples belonging to Hindu and Jain faith. These temples have gained popularity owing to the large number of erotic sculptures depicting sexual life during medieval times.
Spreading over 20 square kilometres, these temples were sculpted out of sandstone and were put together mortise and tenon joints, thereby eliminating the need for mortar in construction.
Built between 250 -1050 AD, these splendid models of medieval Indian art were given burth to during the reign of the Chandela Dynasty. Despite being declared by UNESCO as world heritage sites, these fine examples of Indian indigenous architecture which originally stood as a set of 80 majestic temples now have only 25 constructions that are well preserved.
The annual Khajuraho Dance Festival is a tradition that has been carried on for years. Originally started as an initiative by the Madhya Pradesh Government to boost tourism in the state, this event has gained much popularity over the years, and has become one of the much-looked-forward-to events in the Indian tourism circuit.
Held in an open air theatre with the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to the Sun God and Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva forming a dramatic backdrop, this week long festival has world renowned artistes performing all forms of Indian classical dance in front of the grandly illuminated splendidness of Indian medieval architecture.
Take a break. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine. The century old structures standing tall, the sun setting in central India casting a blanket of stars over the ancient town as the intricately sculpted structures come to life with the onset of brass chimes resonating mystically in the temple complex.
The Indian percussion instruments setting the mood as the danseuse gives a stupefying performance of an exotic Indian dance form is nothing short of overwhelming.
The colours, the music, the aura and everything in the moment will put you into a mystical trance transporting you to the golden age where culture and art prospered. There is a guarantee of not a single second lost to futility as you simultaneously lose track of the time spent as you sit enthralled.
Aptly called as the largest gathering of Indian classical dancers, an evening of this experience will leave you longing for more.
If there is one thing about dance that the artistes agree on, it is the fact that dance as a medium of expression is not just for the maestros; and this dance festival respects that thought. Apart from the accomplished danseuses from across the globe, one can get watch the upcoming dancers perform as well. This festival provides a platform for all aspiring dancers to perform in front of a wide array of audiences over a period of seven days – an opportunity many a dancer vies for.
This season, for the first time in 36-years, the Khajuraho Dance Festival that started on February 1 has free entry for all visitors.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR –
Here is a list of things to experience from February 1-7 this year -
The event is set to be inaugurated by Sujata Mohapatra, an established Odissi exponent and disciple of the respected exponent Guru Padmabibhushan Mohapatra.
25 renowned dancers and seven dance groups from across the country are set to enthral the audiences this year.
Among the classical Indian dance forms to be performed are Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Manipuri and Kuchipuri.
Apart from the dance performances the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad has a traditional arts and crafts expo to blend with the event.
For information on places to stay, eat and visit in and around Khajuraho, one can contact The Other Home for further details.