Venue: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Time: October and March
Duration: One week
Highlights: Renowned artists perform various dances like Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, modern ballet and other folk dances
For the connoisseurs of dance and music, every year, Nishagandhi Dance Festival unveils seven nights of absolute entertainment and amusement as Indian classical art takes the center stage. Celebrated during the months of October and March in the Nishagandhi Theatre, in Kanakunnu palace compound, in the city of Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, the festival highlights the Indian cultural heritage with different forms of classical style of ballets being showcased. This carnival is said to be conducted in an open air auditorium located within the premises of the Kanakakunnu palace. The festival is a one week extravaganza of some of the best talents under different forms of dance. During this festival, Kanakakunnu Palace is transformed into a vibrant arena displaying India's rich heritage and culture. The festival sees large groups of tourist population flocking the city to catch a glimpse of this prestigious event.
Kanakakunnu Palace - The Venue
Each year the Nishagandhi festival of dance is conducted in the Kanakakunnu Palace that is located in Trivandrum and is close to the Napier museum. Built by Sree Moolam Thirunal, the palace is popular cultural stage among the local people. From musical recitals to food festivals, Kanakakunnu Palace has been the backdrop to many such events. Formerly, the palace served as the summer retreat and as the guest house of the royal family. The palace is a reminder of the city's royal legacy and has also been declared as a heritage structure by INTACH. The palace has hosted innumerable cultural programs and is the obvious choice of venue to host the most celebrated dance fair.
This dance exhibition is not only restricted in presenting the local folk dance forms to the tourist population, but also showcases various other dance styles such as Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak and Odissi which is the main focal point of this event. Although primarily a dance fair, the Nishagandhi festival is also visited by many music lovers, who enjoy listening to classical Indian music, as most of the performances are usually accompanied by a group of professional musicians who are well known in the field of classical music. The festival provides an enriching and fascinating experience for all traditional music and dance lovers.
Furthermore, this festival also exhibits the traditional arts and handicrafts of Kerala and the cuisines of India. Sooryakanthi Fair Ground, adjacent to the Kanakakunnu Palace, holds an art and craft fair, which highlights crafts made of bamboo, cane, clay and coconut products from Kerala. Alongside the art and craft fair is the food festival that brings forth various delicacies of the country. So, from tasting the traditional Kerala's recipes such as avial, koottukari, payasam and pulisery to enjoying the exotic Mughlai and scrumptious Bengali dishes, the opions are wide and endless. The food festival also acts as a major crowd puller for the Nishagandhi Dance Festival.
Spread of Festival
The Nishagandhi festival of dance is a well known event not only in artistic circuits of classic dance but also among upcoming dancers. This fair is organised by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation as an initiative to promote Indian heritage and culture as the state sees a large population of foreign tourists. At times, it is also co-hosted by other states. With every passing year, the festival is witnessing a huge footfall, thanks to the collection of diverse form of dances that it showcases. Moreover, participation of the artists and dance aficionados from all over the country make this festival all the more popular. Nishagandhi Festival of Dance is open to the general public and does not charge its audience which is yet again a reason for its increasing popularity. Year after year, the Kanakakunnu Palace has been witnessing an increasing number of spectators who want to watch the event. Due to its popularity, the organisers have managed to convince many renowned artists to perform in this event. Famous names like Madhumita Paul, Madhavi Mudgal, N. Srikanth, Aswathy, T.V. Sankaranarayanan, Vyjanthi Kashi, Priti Patel, C.V. Chandrasekhar, Mattannur Sankarankutty and Balabhaskar are associated with this festival.
Thiruvananthapuram Tourist Attraction
Thiruvananthapuram is a well known ancient city and is home to the Maharaja of Travancore. With a background of royal heritage and culture, it comes by no surprise that the city has more than a few places to visit for tourist. From royal palaces to fascinating museums, the city boasts of centuries old customs and legacy. Some of the places to visit in Thiruvananthapuram are Napier Museum, The Museums and Zoo, Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kuthiramalika Palace Museum etc. If you plan to visit the dance festival then make sure to include the aforementioned places in your itinerary.
How To Reach
By Air: Trivandrum International Airport is located in Thiruvananthapuram and is the first airport in the state of Kerala, India. It has regular domestic and international flights that connect it to various cities of Indian and abroad.
By Rail: Thiruvananthapuram is a major railway station in India, connected to the key destinations in South India.
By Road: Reaching Thiruvananthapuram by road is also not a hassle as it is connected by an extensive road network that connects Thiruvananthapuram with most of the cities in Kerala like Kochi, Alleppey and Kumarakom.