The Magical Khajuraho Dance Festival 2016
The Magical Khajuraho Dance Festival 2016
The spectacular Khajuraho Dance Festival 2016 is about to begin in the heart of incredible India, Madhya Pradesh. Set against the magnificent backdrop of Khajuraho temples, the Magh full moon bids adieu to winter and welcomes spring with this celebration of classical Indian dance forms.
The weeklong showcase begins on 20th February and ends on 26th February 2016.
Entry is free of charge for all patrons.
Article Credit: Vandana Natu
A World Heritage Site
Inscribed on the World Heritage list for ‘outstanding universal value’ and ‘human creative genius’, Khajuraho has about 22 fine-grained sandstone temples in various stages of conservation. Built by the Chandella rulers between AD 900 and AD1130, they remained wiped out from public memory until 1938 when TS Burt, an English engineer ventured into the forest to explore local legends about the same.
Famous for their eternal expression of love and tantric cult, these splendid sculptures depict human moods, sura-sundaris (graceful nymphs), erotic couples and Gods along the ornate walls, lintels and interiors of the monuments.
The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three groups based on their location in the village: Western, Eastern and Southern. The western group of temples is the most visited and ornate one with octagonal ceilings and maha-mandap halls.
The Dance Festival
Organised by the department of culture, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, this festival is currently in its 42nd year. Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Evam Kala Academy and others have been associated with it in the past.
Opening with the Odissi dance form by Padmashree Ranjana Gauhar and her group, this year’s performances include recitals by over 20 troupes/dancers presenting Kathak, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri and Sraikela (Chhau) masterpieces.
Spellbinding dances by renowned exponents like Maithil Devika (Mohiniattam), Madhu Natraj & Group (Contemporary Kathak), Prateeksha Kashi (Kuchipudi), Lubna Mariyam (Manipuri), Rajendra Gangani (Kathak) and many more will captivate the audiences this year.
In daytime, the dancers use the stage against the mesmerizing setting of Chitragupta or Viswanatha temple on the Western front for rehearsals. It is worth a peek to watch them practice on the platform terrace before it is bathed in stage lights and moonshine by the evening.
The graceful foot-work and enchanting abhinayas moving to the precise accompanists (vocals, mridangam, bansuris, sitars etc) make the evening an absolute delight.
Full moon, spring breeze and the mystical temple background give the event an almost unreal feel.
Khajuraho, The Village
Spread over 21 sq. kms., this sleepy village comes alive during the Dance Festival. The venue is situated to the west of the main road. Approximately 183 mtres to the southeast is a three-storied stepped water tank, also knows as ‘Chopra’.
Khajuraho is located in the gently sloping plains (almost flat-lands) of Bundelkhand. Bicycles are the best way to explore its nooks and corners. Every lane will introduce you to different delectable offerings from the local cuisine.
Quality tourism by art lovers has ensured that this part of the village is buzzing with activities and gift shops that sell gems, trinkets, handicrafts, textiles, publications, earthenware, stone and bronze sculptures, etc.
Rather rudimentary clay replicas of Khajuraho sculptures can be found all over the marketplace. Kandariya-Mahadeva, a Shaiva shrine in the western Group of temples is the largest monument in Khajuraho. It is about 30.5 metres in length and height, and 20 metres in width. The Eastern Group of temples also house its largest Jain shrine – the Parsvanath temple. The Southern group of temples has the Duladeo and Chaturbhuja temples. It is located around 3 kms out of the village but a gigantic, exquisitely carved statue of Vishnu makes the distance worth the travel.
State Museum of Tribal and Folk Arts has over 500 items and artifacts from all over Madhya Pradesh. Local guides proficient in French, German, Spanish and Japanese are available on a full-day or half-day basis.
How To Get There
Air: Khajuraho is connected with Delhi, Agra and Varanasi by daily flights within India.
Rail: Khajuraho is connected with Delhi, Jhansi (172 kms), Harpalpur (94 kms) & Mahoba (64 kms.). Satna (117 kms.) is convenient link for Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.
Road: Jhansi and satna are connected to Khajuraho by regular buses and taxis, which take about 3.5 hours.
Attractions Around Khajuraho
Panna National Park: Panna is a Tiger Reserve Park and a Biosphere Reserve spread over 542.6 sq kms by the river Ken. It is barely 32 kms. away from Khajuraho and makes for a wonderful day excursion.
Kalinjar Fort: 130 kms. away, sanding tall at 1,203 feet atop the last of the Vindhya Mountains, the ramparts of this fort have been home to many a dynasties of Bundelkhand.
Ajaygarh Fort: Ajaygarh was the erstwhile capital of the Chandella kings. The fort is 80 kms away from Khajuraho. It has a tough 250-meter climb but it is absolutely well worth the view. Stones for building the Khajuraho temples were provided from the Ajaygarh quarry. A lakes stands in its place now.