(Last Updated on : 08/01/2014)
Mamallapuram dance festival is a celebration of the rich heritage of varied dance forms in India which also reflects the rich history of the region. It is conducted every year during the period between December and January in Mamallapuram, located near Chennai
in Tamil Nadu
. The festival is a four weeks long programme organised under the patronage of Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu. Besides the dance festival this marvellous city is a famous tourist destination too. The festival has gained popularity as it is organised in the open air auditorium in the backdrop of the ancient sculptures of Pallavas
. The festival allures numerous people to explore the richness of this ancient tradition of India.
Venue of Mamallapuram Dance Festival
Mamallapuram has a historical importance. It was once the ancient port of Pallavas
which was famous throughout the world for its 'Shore temple
'. Situated about 58 kilometres south of Chennai, the place has magnificent monolithic rock sculptures
, cave and stone temples. Thus the inimitable combination of the 7th and 8th century Pallava carvings, temples and breathtaking beaches make the place an awe-inspiring venue for an enthralling music festival. Mamallapuram dance festival is a colourful celebration of dance which was previously held at the venue of "Arjuna's Penance
", a beautifully carved bass relief sculpture on two enormous adjacent rocks which has been recognized as World Heritage Monument
by UNSECO. However, later the venue was shifted to Shore temple to recreate the ancient ambience when the dance performances in temples during celebrations were a part of cultural heritage.
Features of Mamallapuram Dance Festival
This excellent festival is graced by leading exponents of classical dances like Bharatnatyam
as well as Kathakali
. The performances of maestros are staged in the open air. Apart from classical dances, numerous Tamil folk dances
, such as Thappattam
, Silambattam, Kokkali Attam, Karagam
and Kavadi, along with the folk dances of other states possessing rich cultural diversity are also displayed. Puppet shows also forms an enchanting feature of the festival. The celebration creates an atmosphere which adds visual appeal to the grand event. In addition to that the beautiful celebration brings out the glorious cultural heritage of the bygone times. Thus, the dance festival has been drawing more and more crowds year after year. The festivity gives a momentum to the talented of dancers and showcases the rich tradition of classical dance forms and music which has been preserved in the country since ancient times. The set up of the event under the open sky along with the soothing sounds of sea waves creates a magical aura for the celebration of the art of music and dance.