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Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held every year, by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, to celebrate the rich heritage of Indian classical dance.

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Venue: Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu
Time: December-January
Duration: 4 weeks
Highlight: Performance of exponents of the varied dance forms such as Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali or Kathak

Mamallapuram Dance Festival is celebrated every year during the period between December and January in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. This festive occasion is organized under the patronage of Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Mamallapuram is of great historical importance, as once upon a time, it used to be the ancient port of the Pallavas. During the Mamallapuram Dance Festival, the exponents of the varied dance forms then be it Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali or Kathak, come ahead to showcase their skills and talent to the art lovers. Mamallapuram is a four-week long festive occasion, the celebration of which takes place in an open air auditorium in the backdrop of the sculptures of Pallavas. The surroundings add to the visual appeal of this grand cultural event. It is an amazing experience to watch the dancers perform under the open sky.

The open-air auditorium that serves as the venue for the Mamallapuram dance festival was established near about thirteen centuries ago. It was the port of the great Pallavas and a resort and culture front to rich culture. The dance performances are performed in 'Arjuna's penance', a brass relief structure based on two huge adjacent rocks. When the dancers perform the ambience is such that the rock vibrates with the resonance of the music.

Types of Dances
Patrons from Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Kathakali come to perform there. Mamallapuram Dance Festival also showcases the nuances of folk arts like: Karagam, Kavadi, Pokkal Kudirai, Kokkali Attam, Silambattam, Kaniyan Koothu, Paavai Koothu, Thappattam, apart from other state dance forms. The surroundings and cultural inputs add to the dance performances, making it once in a lifetime experience show. These dances are held usually during evenings leaving the visitors the whole day to explore the city.

Mamallapuram Tourist Attractions
Mamallapuram is a wonderful beach resort and also a place that reminds of the glorious cultural heritage of the bygone times. Mamallapuram is a great destination of tourist attraction. There is a multitude of sightseeing places in Mamallapuram such as the ancient monuments, caves, sculptures, monolithic temples and the gorgeous beaches. The dance festival at Mamallapuram has been drawing more and more crowd year after year. The festivity gives an impetus to the talent of dancers. People excelling in the field of dancing assemble here and deliver their dance performance. There are many hotels and natural resorts built to provide every kind of comfort to the numerous tourists who flock the place during the festival.

Spread of Festival
Mamallapuram dance festival attracts tourists not only from all over India but all across the world. Foreigners raid the small town for a glimpse of India's rich heritage. The ancient open air theater builds up to the overall effect of classical dance performances. UNESCO has declared Mamallapuram as a world heritage site as it houses ancient scriptures and structures built during the Pallavas reign.

How To Reach

By Air:
The airport at Chennai that lies at a distance of 58 kms is the most convenient point for tourists coming by air. Chennai is well linked with all the major cities of the country.

By Rail: For those traveling by train, the railway station at Chengalpattu lying at a distance of 28 kms is the most feasible.

By Road: Buses operate on a daily basis from Mamallapuram to Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai.