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Dance Festivals
Classical Indian dance forms have been closely connected with temples as a part of rituals. There are innumerable inscriptional, archeaological, literary and other evidences to suggest the close links between dancing and temples. The Brihadishwara temple at Tanjore has inscriptions mentioning names, streets where devadasis lived and even the terms of payments and specific occasions on when they had to perform in temples.

In Orissa, the Maharis or counterparts of the devadasis of Tamil region, performed in temples and even today they offer token services. Koodiyattam, a theatrical form of Kerala is staged in the temple halls during temple festivals in Koothambalams or theatre halls attached to the theatre. The magnificent Natamandapa of Konarak temple in Orissa offers one an example of glorious tradition of dancing in the temples.

In the post-independent era, with the popularity gained by the classical dance forms, a few temple sites were identified by some enterprising beaurocrats in the departments of culture to start dance festivals with a view to bring dance and temple close to each other once again. The most successful and exclusive festival of classical dance for more than 20 years is held at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh with the temples as a backdrop in March. Soon other states followed suit. Today, almost every state in India has at least one dance festival held at an exquisite archaeological site bringing alive the eloquent sculptures through the medium of dance.From the Mamallapuram Festival in Tamilnadu to the Konarak celebrations in Orissa, these cultural events have become the magnet for tourists and performers and a showcase for the best dance talents of India. A variety of dance styles spread over one week provides the casual visitor and the connoisseur the ideal opportunity to grasp the splendour and subtlety of a living performance tradition.

Dance Festivals