States Tamil Nadu Festivals Natyanjali Dance Festival

Natyanjali Dance Festival Tamil Nadu

Initially held at Chidambaram, Natyanjali Dance Festival is now hosted in several cities in Tamil Nadu. A week-long festival have classical dancers offering their art to the Lord Nataraja on and around Shivaratri.

Natyanjali Dance Festival Tamil Nadu

Tapping their feet on every beat and swaying away with the applause of audience are the talented dancers delved in this famous festival of Tamilnadu, Natyanjali Dance Festival. Viewing it as a shining opportunity, artists from across the globe set their foot into this tourism destination and are the driving force in achieving the motive of this festival, which is 'unity in diversity'. When divided, Natyanjali means dancers dedicating their art of dance, where 'Natya' means dance and 'Anjali' means offering. The artists pay their respect to Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva), the epitome of dance. Chidambaram which is one of the most popular tourist destination in South India, is the host of this festival which is rejoiced in the month of February-March and begins on the day of Mahashivratri. Tourists travel from all round the world to enjoy dance forms like Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri Bharatanatyam, Pung Cholam and Odissi which are represented by the dancers in the brightly set up Prakaram (outer area surrounding the temple) of Chidambaram Temple. This temple is one of the ancient sites of tourist attraction devoted to Lord Shiva which adds grandeur in the background with its golden roof and pillars offering  a mind blowing setting.Talking of which, the walls of the temples have engraved on them the 108 karanas from the famous Natya Shastra (Sanskrit text on performing arts) which are the basis of the Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam.

Brief History of the Festival

Chidambaram is among the blessed cities in Tamilnadu that are a perfect fit for spiritual and cultural tourism. This ancient city embraces the charm of Lord Shiva and hence a lot of pilgrims make sure to pay a visit here at least once. If we go by the legend that is closely linked to the Saivite philosophy and religious traditions, then it can be inferred that Lord Shiva is said to be the Lord of Consciousness of true knowledge. With that being said, the divine art of dance of Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva) i.e., Ananda Tandava is known as the embodiment of the fivefold acts of God which are creation, protection, transformation, containment and grace. Ananda Tandava is one of the forms of Lord Shiva's dance which represents joy and the idol hence is the true ambassador for the art of dance, making dance the perfect way to outpour worship and devotion. To carry forward this tradition and endow it on the coming generations, Natyanjali Dance Festival originated in the year 1981 as an annual celebration in Chidambaram. Giving dancers an opportunity to showcase their flair in Indian classical dance, this festival is supported by 'Natyanjali Trust'- Chidambaram. 'The festival nowadays is celebrated in popular tourist places like Chennai, Thanjavur, Thirunallar, Kumbakonam, Mayavaram, Nagapattinam and Thiruvanaikoil.

Duration of the Festival

This festival spreads the charm of classical dance forms on its travellers for 5 long days in the month of February-March every year.

Highlights/Rituals of the Festival

  • Ananda Tandava, the dance of joy performed by Lord Nataraja is idolised across the globe and is the driving force for the art of dance and this festival which was started in 1981.
  • Classical dancers from all over the world mark their presence here by performing dance forms like Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam,Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Odissi and  Pung Cholam.
  • Formerly celebrated in Chidambaram, Natyanjali Dance Festival is now celebrated in shrines of tourist destinations namely Chennai, Thirunallar, Thanjavur, Thiruvanaikoil, Nagapattinam, Kumbakonam, and Mayavaram.

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