Last Updated: January 16, 2020 Vijayendra Thapliyal
India is equivalent to the word ‘diversity ‘and this abides in the rich heritage of the country. The perfect blend of languages, cultures, religions, arts, traditions and customs are beautifully reflected in this country. Its natural beauty, landscapes ranging from deserts to mountains & beeches, variegated temperatures, all make it a must visit country for tourists. This very country is the birthplace of the world’s major religious traditions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. India is fully surrounded with classic travel hubs that have exaggerated the thought of tourists.
Focusing on its Indian art, it has been charmed by many reasons like political, religious, and social. Its art and handicrafts are demonstrated in the dainty work executed on marble, ivory, clay, cane, precious gems, bamboo, wood, etc.
In India, every state features an exclusiveness and forte, based upon its historical influences and traditional acquisitions. Side by side, the music and dance of Indian culture conveys everything with its expressions and melodies.
Do you want to explore the Indian art, dances and music? Or have you explored ever to the best cultural destinations in India? Let me share some travel spots from where you can understand the real meaning of culture. Here comes, some of the major cities that are well known due to its dance and music festivals in India.
Chaitra Parba Chhau Festival, Orissa
The Chaitra Parva Chhau Festival is one of the famous festivals in Orissa that continues for three days. It is one of the popular cultural tours in India that is celebrated by the ‘Bhuiyans Tribe’ in many regions. Especially, it is celebrated with utmost excitement in Koraput. The fete is primarily inhered in Mayurbhanj Chhau, an important classical dance form of Orissa. This dance form has elements of martial arts, folk and classical music in it. Apart from dance, this festival also has religious excitement associated with it. The residents of this place worship Lord Shiva during this fete and it is believed by them that Lord Shiva is called upon at this time. It is believed that he will bring happiness and prosperity to the whole community and individual as well.
In fact, the most exciting part is that you will enjoy getting involved in dancing, singing, hunting and drinking. The tribal people come up in new clothes and luxuriate into fun. Chhau Dance, which captures the attention of people, is performed at night. After its innovation in the Mayurbhanj state, it got affiliated with the Chaitra Parva Festival. Many travelers visit here to enjoy the culture and dance of this place.
Dharani Kalotsav, Kochi
Dharani Dance Festival, well-known as Dharani Kalotsav, is organized by the Society Dharani every year. It’s a cultural organization based in Kochi (Kerala) that forged in the year 2000, to bring forth talented artists from all across the India to perform and give lecture presentations in Dharani Kalotsav festival. It has completed 13 years successfully and brought talented artists and art forms to Cochin. Not only this, it has also added a new attribute to the cultural sphere of this hustling and iconic city that lives in the heart of God’s own country.
The main aim behind demonstrating the Society Dharani is to form the classical art forms by famous dancers of India. This festival is celebrated every year for 5 days. With an aim to bring awareness and gratitude for the classical art of the India. Many travelers visit this place to watch the live performance. So, the city is recommended as one of the best cultural cities of India.
Elephanta Festival, Maharashtra
If you want to plan for a cultural tour in India, I must say you should go and enjoy the Elephanta Festival, the most popular fete of the Mumbai city in India. It is acquitted to promote the real culture and tourism in Mumbai, Maharashtra. This festival is organized under the support of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), with an aim to showcase the classic culture of Maharashtra through dance and music performances by artists.
To carve the living heritage of Indian dance culture and art, MTDC in association with Tata Consultancy Services, has organized this fete. Amazing folk dance by the local fisher tribe, varieties of cultural food simply add to the atmosphere. Due to such wonderful celebration, the place has become one of the major tourist attractions for tourists. This event is a tribute to classical performers and it was started to highlight the Indian heritage art and dance forms. It is one of the popular heritage sites of India that forms a dazing milieu for talented artists, just because they enrapture you with their dance and music programs.
Leading artists present a traditional welcome with captivating tunes of ‘Koli’ fisher folks. During this festival, various food stalls are organized that highlight the ethnic food of the locality. Enjoying Shehnai program at the Gateway of India gives great pleasure to heart. On the top of it, Gemini boats are also arranged sometimes by Navy to transmit the visitors or tourists. For enjoying this festival, you have to visit Elephanta Island, one of the most favored places of tourist attraction in India that was later named by Portuguese after they found a monumental statue of elephants over there. Also, the island is mostly highlighted for rock carving shows of Lord Shiva, beautifully displayed on the walls of rock temples.
Khajuraho Dance Festival, Madhya Pradesh
Celebrated every year from 20th February to 26th February, Khajuraho Dance Festival is held in auditorium facing the Chitragupta Temple devoted to the Sun God and the Vishwanatha Temple devoted to Lord Shiva. These are beautifully located in the Western Group of temples that are quite well maintained and easily approachable. This festival is organized every year for a long week in Khajuraho, which has become a legend with its eccentric classical dance performance exhibited in a surreal setting of magnificently illuminated temples. The temple shows sculptures portraying several arts and skills of love including music & dance in stone. After exploring and enjoying the dance festival of this beautiful place, I just feel like this venue is more appropriate to capture the cultural festival representing several classical dance forms of India like Bharathanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali and Manipuri.
These dances bring joy and color to the festivals as it offers great opportunity to see the performance of national and international performers. For visitors, this festival has become one of the best cultural holiday destinations in India as there is lot to enjoy over here apart from dance and music. Looking at those admiring exhibitions of local crafts by artisans, simply steal the attention of visitors. Enjoying holidays in this festive week, gives a wonderful way of refreshing and relaxing in a historic place.
Natyanjali Dance Festival,Tamil Nadu
One of the best facets of Indian culture in India is that most of the arts, celebrations and activities are slanting towards spirituality and morality. That’s what Natyanjali Dance Festival does. It is organized every year in Chidambaram, near Chennai. This festival is related with idolatry of Lord Shiva (Lord Nataraj) featured as the Cosmic Dancer and Lord of Dances. It’s a dedication to God, held for 5 days in February or March. The festival starts at the grand event of Maha Shivratri in a fixed place.
During these festive days, leading dancers from all across India perform here and congregate at the temple as a tribute to Lord Nataraja. The festival is organized with the support of Ministry of Tourism – Government of India, Department of Tourism – Government of Tamil Nadu and Natyanjali Trust – Chidambaram. It gives a message of ‘Unity in Diversity’, which is later on fetched by the universal language of music and dance.
Performing at this very festival is believed as a groovy honor to the classical dancers, as they perform to make the ‘Padams’ and ‘Varnams’ in the itinerary by making an imaginary anatomy of the Lord Nataraja.
Shreekshetra Utsav, Orissa
To exhibit the rich history, culture and traditions of Orissa, Shreekshetra Utsav (the Puri festival) is organized every year to acquaint the tourist with several aspects of the festival like Handicrafts Expo, Shree Jayadeva Odissi Sangeet Samaroh, Odissi Food Festival, Shrimad Bhagabata Parayana, Sand Art Exhibition and Handloom Expo. The main part of this Utsav is Shree Jayadeva Odissi Sangeet Samaroh that is organized in association with the Department of Tourism and Culture, the District Administration – Puri, Government of Orissa and the Orissa Sangeet Natak Academy. The most enjoyable part of this festival is its Odissi dance and music. In fact, Orissan mouth watering cuisines are also popular amongst tourists.
This Utsav helps to promote the Orissa’s cultural heritage and its own culture. There is lot to enjoy in this city, especially during festivals. You got to enjoy Folk dance fete, song and other dance festivals. To grab the attention of tourists, puppet shows are presented in folk festival that defines scenes from Indian epics such as Mahabharat, Ramayana, etc.
Pachmarhi Festival, Madhya Pradesh
Pachmarhi Festival is six days celebration held every year. This interesting event begins from December 25 and ends after New Year. Due to this, New Year celebration brings great excitement amongst tourists and local folks. Various cultural programs and art performances are organized during this event. This Utsav is held in Pachmarhi that brings amazing Indian Folk Arts’ displays to enrapture the audience.
It also brings exhibition and craft fair apart from exciting art performances. To make the day overwhelming, cultural evenings are also arranged every day that includes various artists from all across the world. There are majority of programs that plays an effective role in preserving the India’s rich cultural heritage. There are several stalls arranged to display and sell products of sponsored artisans who belongs to Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation.
So, plan holidays tour to Pachmarhi during this festival and enjoy the core of the popular Pachmarhi Utsava, the most exciting festivals in India.
Dover Lane Music Festival, Kolkata
This festival is held every year in the month of December and January. For the local folks and tourists, this is considered as one of the famous cultural events in Kolkata, the city of Joy. This event has brought excitement in youngsters as they get a chance to choose ancient arts as their hobby. The event is organized every year to promote art and offer great help to the deserving artists. Earlier, it was organized in Dover Lane, but now the event is celebrated in Nazrul Mancha on Southern Avenue. Planning a vacation to one of the best cultural cities of India, is like dream come true trip where there is lot to explore.
Several musicians take part in this festival to add more fun and enjoyment for visitors. This event has resurrected the real spirit of the artists and various organizations to take part in insistence of the cultural art forms of India. The fete comes up with music, dance and art as well. This event brings appropriate contribution in preserving music and arts amidst deserving artists. It’s four days celebration that draws huge crowd every year. Tourists from all over the world visit here to watch spell bounding performances of talented musicians.
Chapchar Kut, Mizoram
Chapchar Kut is an agricultural festival, celebrated year in the month of March before the beginning of planting. The main attraction of this festival is Cheraw or bamboo dance. Different dance forms are performed among drum beats. Including these, handicrafts, flowers shows, arts and cuisines also play vital role in this festival. In the end of February, the local tribes make prepare the land for planting fresh plants. After plantation, few days of relaxation are taken before the sowing business.
This festival brings lots of excitement and hope in the heart of folks. It is celebrated with great fun and enthusiasm. On this very day, everyone get well-dressed in their colorful costumes. Discerning jewelries and head gears are beautifully teamed up with traditional colorful attires. Several traditional songs are also presented with the help of drums, cymbals and gongs beat. Some of the dances are like martial type that is performed by warriors by holding their weapons and trophies. Exhibition and sale of handloom & handicraft goods are also organized to draw the attentions of tourists.
Tansen Music Festival, Gwalior
This cultural festival is one of the famous tourist attractions held in Gwalior, especially dedicated to the mainstay of Indian Classical music, the great musician Tansen. He had phenomenal voice and took Indian classic music to a new level with his talents. It is believed that with his interpretation of Raga Megh Malhar, the rain gods would smile and it suddenly starts raining while he sang. In fact, it is also believed that lamps would illuminate when Tansen sang Raga Deepak!
This festival is organized every year in the month of November and December, usually highlighted for its unique composition in Indian classical style performances. This special fete is sponsored by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad for four days. This show experiences the excellent melody of Indian classical music. Well-known musicians and music lovers from all across the world participate in the Samaroh to give their musical tribute to the great music Maestro Tansen. Visitors from all across the globe come here to watch the live performance of musicians. For travelers like us, this city is considered as one of the best destinations for cultural and heritage tourism in India.
Exploring India’s cultural heritage gives great experience for lifetime. Knowing each and every custom in depth and doing tribal photography in India, gives immense pleasure to our heart. The dance, music and art culture of India enlighten our minds and give lots of fun to memorize till our existence.
Published: 26 Jun, 2014
Vijayendra Thapliyal is the name behind Tour My India, one of the leading tour operators in India. Besides being a successful businessman, he is also a typical travel junkie who loves to explore the treasures concealed in different corners of India. When he is not on road, he is active with a pen sharing travelling experiences with many like him. With a keen interest in India’s rich cultural legacy, he loves to capture memories in his lens.