INDIA: When one thinks of Khajuraho, one immediately thinks of the city’s magnificent temples. The temples are part of the heritage of India and have cultural value. But Khajuraho, the city of famous temples, has more for the people who visit it.
Here, many festivals are also organized by Madhya Pradesh Tourism. One such spectacular festival was held from the 20th to the 26th of February. The various dance forms were performed in an open-air auditorium, which was usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Khajuraho Dance Festival has entered its 48th year this time. It began in 1975 and was organized at the temple premises, but permission to perform there was denied after two or three years. The Culture Department’s efforts made it possible to manage this glorious festival within the temple premises itself.
Inaugurated by Mangu Bhai Patel, the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, on the occasion of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,” the dance festival is being organized with the joint effort of Ustad Alauddin Khan Sangeet and Kala Akademi Madhya Pradesh Sanskriti Parishad of the Culture Department, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Archaeological Survey of India and District Administration Chhatarpur.
It is famous nationally and internationally, and it is the most remarkable festival in the country in which Indian classical dance performers participate. At this gala event, ambassadors and high commissioners from Korea, Argentina, Vietnam, Brunei, Finland, Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos attended.
Every day was a celebration
For dance enthusiasts, the festival offers a feast for the eyes. Since times immemorial, myriad dance forms have been integrated into the classical dance styles. Watching these performances live reveals the age-old traditions firmly established and depicted through dance.
On the first day, disciples of Kathak exponent Birju Maharaj performed a Kathak dance, and a Chennai-based Shanta-V.P. Dhananjayan troupe performed a group Bharatnatyam dance. On the 2nd day, Odissi dancers, Sujata Mahapatra of Bhubaneswar and Nirupama Rajendra of Bangalore, a Bharatnatyam-Kathak Samagama, and a group Kuchipudi performance by Jayarama Rao and troupe of Delhi, mesmerized the audience.
On the third day, Mohiniyattam, presented by Neena Prasad, Bharatnatyam group dance led by Parshvnath Upadhyay, and Kathak by Tina Tambe, stole the show. On the fourth day, Kathak by Sonia Parchure, a mix of Bharatnatyam and Kathakali presented by Kalamandalam Sunil and Paris Lakshmi, Kathak and Udarta Netuma by Ragini Nagar and Danuka Ariyawansa enthralled the viewers on the fourth day.
On the 5th day, Sandhya Purecha and her team performed the Bharatnatyam dance, and Shraveri Jamenis performed Kuchipudi with her team. On the 6th day, Rudraksha Foundation brightened the stage with its Odissi dance, and transgender Devika left the audience in awe with her Kathak dance. On the last day, Shama Bhate and her team, Tapasya, Shweta Davendra, Kshama Malviya, and their groups, turned the evening into a celebration.
It felt as if the dance performances presented by the renowned artists, the rhythm and beat of their steps, had put life into the sculptures of Khajuraho, which are the living representations of Indian philosophy and heritage.
Art-Mart: another attraction
Shri Yuvraj Padole, Dy. Director, Events & Marketing, said that we had also arranged other art-culture activities this time. The visitors liked the exhibition, with a focus on Kathak and showcasing the cultural landscape and journey of Indian dance styles. In the Art-Mart, we exhibited art from other countries around the world and India. Also, Rashtriya Kalidas Samman and Rajya Roopankar Kala Puraskar were conferred.
Along with the renowned performers, several craftsmen display their crafts to the visitors. An open market for local articles sales was the attraction for the visitors to the Madhya Pradesh region. And the Bundelkhandi food stall saw people satisfying their taste buds.