Venue: Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu)
Duration: Five Days
Highlights: Dance performances by eminent dancers from all over the country, with the Natyanjali temple providing a magnificent background.
Nataraja is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built as a tribute to His dancing form. The temple bears beautiful ornate carved pillars, with portrayal of Lord Nataraja in 108 poses of Bharatanatyam classical dance. Thus, the temple plays an ideal venue for the dance festival. The Natyanjali Dance Festival is organized in the ancient Nataraja temple of the city. This dance festival is held during the months of February and March and continues for five days. The festival is organized in collaboration with the Department of Tourism (Government of Tamil Nadu), The Ministry of Tourism (Government of India) and The Natyanjali Trust (Chidambaram). Natyanjali Dance Festival begins with the auspicious festival of Mahashivratri, the birth anniversary of Lord Shiva. Dancers from across the country take part in this festival. Nataraja Temple serves as the backdrop for splendid performances during the festival. The festival aims at conveying the message of 'Unity in Diversity' through the language of music and dance.
Lord Nataraja, according to the Hindu mythology, is a cosmic dancer. He is called the Lord of Dances. As such, the Natyanjali Dance Festival provides a fitting opportunity for all the dancers to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja. Held at the 'Prakara' of the temple, the dancers, full of intense bliss and devotion, with their evocative abhinaya, offer their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja. The 1000-year old temple provides an apt backdrop for the spectacular event taking place under the golden roof of the temple showing pillars that depict Lord Nataraja in the classic 108 poses from the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu known as Bharatanatyam.
Types Of Dances
Attended by all the renowned artists and connoisseurs throughout the country, the Natyanjali Dance Festival becomes a spectacular event taking place under the golden roof of the Chidambaram temple, in the hall adorned with the pillars exhibiting the classic 108 poses of Lord Nataraja. The festival becomes much more than dance art exhibition as all the artists performing at this pious venue regard this festival as their homage to Lord Nataraja. Performing at the dance festival is considered a great honor to the classical dancers as they dance to create the 'Padams' and 'Varnams' in the course of creating an imaginary figure of the Lord Nataraja, whom they regard as their divine deity.
Spread Of The Festival
Natyanjali Dance Festival is one of the popular cultural festivals in India. The festival provides a platform for the budding classical dancers, who assemble to pay their tribute to Lord Shiva through their dance. The dance festival is one of the most important cultural festivals in India. Besides, being counted among the popular Indian cultural festivals, the Natyanjali Dance Festival is also among the Chennai dance festivals. Natyanjali Dance Festival is not only meant for the experts, even the new performers who want to showcase their talent and get recognition perform at this stage. As such, the festival attracts a huge crowd.
Chidambaram Tourist Attractions
Amongst the must visits in Chidambaram, Nataraja Temple is the most famous and is located in the center of the town, covering an area of 40 acres.It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu. The highlights of this temple are the Sivakamiamman temple, the Sivaganga tank and the thousand pillar hall. Annamalai University is one of the major attractions in Chidambaram. It is a residential University founded by the Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar.
How To Reach
By Air: The nearest airport is at Trichy, at a distance of 160 km.
By Rail: The railway station is close to the Nataraja Temple. Express and passenger trains leave for Chennai four times daily, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur twice daily, Tiruchirappalli and Madurai.
By Road: Chidambaram is well connected by road with Chennai, Pondicherry, Madurai, Thanjavur, etc.