Khajuraho Dance Festival, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, is a one-week festival of Indian classical dances held annually against the spectacular backdrop of the magnificently lit Khajuraho temples in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh state in central India. The festival is conducted in February from the 20th to the 26th.
This cultural festival highlights the richness of the Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, and Kathakali with performances of some of the best exponents in the field. Modern Indian dance too has been added recently.
The dances in the festival are performed in an open-air auditorium, usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishvanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The festival features Indian classical dance performances by artists of world fame. Entry to this festival is free.
Khajuraho Festival of Dances is celebrated at a time of the year when the severity of Indian winter begins to fade and the king of all seasons, the spring, takes over. The most colorful and brilliant classical dance forms of India with their roots in the rich cultural traditions across the country, offer a feast for the eyes during a week-long extravaganza here. Since times immemorial, myriad forms of dances have been adsorbed into the Indian classical dance styles.
Watching these performances reveal the age-old trends and nuances that are firmly embedded in the dances of various regions of culturally & spiritually rich India.
The immense beauty of these dance performances has not at all dimmed over many centuries; nor have the living traditions of these styles lost their beauty and charm with the long passage of time. Indian traditions of dance have been considered to be divine in origin. In Indian mythology, the Hindu gods and goddesses are great lovers of music & dance.
Some of the Hindu gods are great dancers themselves. Shiva’s cosmic dance, the Tandava, Lord Krishna’s Raas Leela with the Gopis (female partners), and the most beautiful and skilled legendary dancers known as Apsaras, such as Menaka, Urvashi and Rambha, in the celestical court of the King of Gods Indra, were all well versed in the heavenly art of music and dance. These spiritually elevating dances of the mind and soul pervade all aspects of life, and bring color, joy and gaiety to the cultural festivals and religious ceremonies of India.
For ages this ethos has continued in the realm of art and culture of India and embedded into the diverse dance styles prevalent in various parts of the country.
These dances are performed every year against the backdrop of the glorious temples of Khajuraho, which stand a testimony to the glorious past of India’s cultural richness & glorious heritage. This temple complex glows with the beauty of sandstone which is ornamented with the mesmerizing sculpture unparalleled in their beauty & intricacy, paying rich tributes to those unnamed and long-forgotten sculptors, who built these unforgettable monuments & masterpieces.
The remove past of Khajuraho is shrouded with mystery and conjecture. In the midst of the wilderness full of wild, ferocious animals, there is this small town of Khajuraho standing alone in solitude with its ancient temples. With hardly any written records and rare references to its origin, the history of Khajuraho has become trapped in the mythical folklore of the region.
The beautiful artwork of these temples have gained the attention of the art-lovers all over the world, but the real purpose behind their construction is a mere guess work of the intellectuals. These temples fire the imagination of the visitors with innumerable questions such as their significance and their position in the society, the reason behind using these temples as an art gallery, the whereabouts of the said kingdom and why only the temples have been found and why there are no historical ruins of the mansions and palaces in the nearby area.
The graphic representation of sexual and erotic postures in a religious place is bewildering too.