India is a country that is united by innumerable kinds of people and their different, unique cultures and heritages. Different cultures are reflected through different mediums, such as monuments built by former powerful dynasties or by celebrating different festivals.
Even in the case of festivals, there are so many different kinds that are either celebrated throughout the country or are unique to only certain regions. Apart from religious celebrations of spirituality, India hosts multiple festivals that are exclusive to celebrate art along with spirituality. Here are the top 5 festivals that exclusively celebrate classical dance forms of India.
Natyanjali Festival, Tamil Nadu
Located at a distance of about 230 km from Chennai, is the town of Chidambaram which is mainly known for hosting the beautiful Natyanjali dance festival every year during February or March. The festival celebrates dance, art and spirituality and is dedicated to Lord Nataraja who is one of the many forms of Lord Shiva.
The festival goes on for a period of 5 days. Professional artists of many Indian dance forms perform in this festival, in fact they take it as an honour to participate in this festival.
Konark Dance Festival, Odisha
The Konark Dance Festival began with a purpose of being a platform for classical dance artists of India to gather and perform, in an attempt to attain an international recognition for Indian classical dance. The festival began in 1986 and has been taking place every year from 19th to 23rd February.
Dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi are performed every year by national and international artists. It takes place in the popular Sun Temple of Konark, as a tribute to the beautiful temple.
Khajuraho Dance Festival, Madhya Pradesh
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Khajuraho Dance Festival is a chance for all the classical dance artists in India to showcase their talent in front of the two beautiful Chitragupta and Vishwanatha temples in Khajuraho. Artists from all over the country perform in this festival that goes on for 7 days during February every year.
Apart from the splendid temples of Khajuraho, other attractions at the festival include the stalls that display or sell artefacts made by local artisans.
Modhera Dance Festival, Gujarat
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Another festival that takes place in a Sun Temple, apart from Konark, is the Modhera Dance Festival. The beautiful temple is illuminated with colourful lights that enhance the vibrancy of the temple, especially during the night.
It is a 3-day celebration of art, culture, music and dance that happens during January every year. The festival plays as a platform for local dance forms and other Indian dance forms to be showcased in front of the glorious Modhera Sun temple.
Mamallapuram Dance Festival, Tamil Nadu
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Mamallapuram Dance Festival takes place in the ancient town of Mamallapuram that used to be a port city during the rule of Pallavas. Similar to the Natyanjali festival, this festival also hosts an array of dance forms like Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam, etc.
The festival takes place during December or January every year and is performed against the backdrop of rock sculptures of the Pallava dynasty.