28 January, 2019
Indeed, the Spring season or the Vasant Ritu as we call it is the time of joy, singing, and dancing. Perhaps, this is the reason why the Khajuraho Dance Festival is always during this time when the winter is just fading, and the summer has not yet taken over entirely. India and its various dance forms spread across the country are an integral part of its culture. You have many different classical and folk dance styles, from many states, that are simply mesmerizing. And the one place you get to see all this on one stage is the Khajuraho dance festival.
This festival is a week-long bonanza for classical dance lovers, and people use this opportunity to visit the tradition-rich Khajuraho. It started in 2002 and has continued to be a big draw for tourists since then. This year, the festival is being held from 20th to 26th of February, and you could use this chance to do some exploration of the Indian art, culture, and tradition as well as soak yourself in the myriad dances that are presented here.
Khajuraho, as you may know, is situated in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and is famous for its ancient temples, that are beautiful. The sculptures and artwork of these temples have mesmerized and inspired millions of visitors across the centuries. It is believed that the city got this name because, in the earlier days, the entrance to it was lined with date palms (khajur). And there are various versions of stories about how these temples came into existence.
The magnificent temples situated in this place dating back to 10th century, are a sight to see by themselves; and when they become the backdrop for traditional dance forms, it just adds to the ethereal purity of the performances. The carvings here celebrate the various Hindu mythological stories, and so do many of the dance forms. The examples are the Tandava of Shiva, or the Ras Leela of Krishna, etc.
You will be able to catch exquisite performances of Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Manipuri and more. Every year, they also showcase some new traditional dance forms from other parts of India. The spacious, open-air auditoriums set in the temple vicinities, especially the Chitragupta & Vishwanatha Temple, two of the most popular ones, will transport you to a different world of the yonder. The dances are usually held in the evening, and the lighting of the temples adds to the magical quality of the whole atmosphere.
You also have Chal Chitra, an exhibition of Cinema portraying art and various art forms, and a tribute to various artisans happening alongside. You also have art and craft exhibition and sale from local artisans. There are a few other things lined up by the side. You could use your time visiting the many monuments, and as well as the Panna National Park if wildlife interests you. There are also one or two beautiful waterfalls around the place that you can check out.
How to reach?
Khajuraho is well connected by air, road and rail networks, and you can plan and book your tickets during this period, in advance, as it is a peak tourist season. The Khajuraho airport is situated in the city itself, and you can easily reach the monuments from there. The rail network is also pretty good, and the railway station here is just 5km away from the group of monuments. Same is the case with the buses that ply into Khajuraho from many domestic cities, as well as many other major cities across India. Stay is easily arranged in the many hotels situated in the city; however, if you are traveling for the festival, it is better to book ahead. There are many travel packages on offer from the state tourism department as well as the online travel sites.
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