Khajuraho is a historical town that once served as the capital of the Chandela dynasty. Now it is noted as a popular tourist destination with thousands of tourists (from both within and outside the country) paying a visit or two to this land immersed in the glory of its archaic temples that chronicle Indian erotica in their purest form.
Khajuraho Dance Festival is an annual event which furthers the cultural image of this destination. Held every year in the month of February (or March), this festival brings forth a legion of classical dancers performing before an awed audience on the backdrop of these glorious temples. The performances are carried out in the evenings after the sun has bid goodbye and the moon stealthily peeps out. The talent on display is incredibly rich. Classical dancers from all parts of India amass at Khajuraho to enslave the visitors with their raw energy, the undying passion, the effervescence of their dancing gestures and the intensity of their talent. Various forms of classical Indian dance are on a fiery display, each trying to outdo the other. Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, etc all seem to be in a battle of some sorts as dancers after dancers assault the stage and literally mesmerize the spectators.
It helps that the temples stand on the backdrop, lit up with evening flood nights of almost every shade possible. But even those glorious and globally celebrated temples for once become eclipsed by the power of the cultural performance on stage. For once, they merely become the mute bystanders of these raging dance performances.
In a way, the combination of these erotic temples and these classical dances are legit. They both combine to remind us of the true charms of the bygone era. It is a mammoth experience to witness this cultural spectacle right at the home of these ancient temples in a town which can so easily be rechristened as the cultural birthplace of India.
The music is equally haunting, the dance steps are nimble and the ambiance is simply arresting.
In recent times, modern dance has also been introduced to add variety to the show and to make the theme more open and interesting. The performances are held in an open-air arena which further strengthens the classical ambience. The temple of the Sun God (Chitragupta Temple) and the Vishwanatha Temple (temple in dedication of Shiva) are the two most popular temples before which the performances are staged.
The 2014 edition of the Khajuraho Dance Festival will be held between 20th and 26th February, 2014 (subject to changes). The ticket prices for season tickets are Rs 600. The daily tickets are priced at Rs 100, Rs 50 and Rs 20, depending on the placement of the seat (seats in the front or those offering better views are priced higher). If you wish to carry a camera, you will have to pay Rs 100 extra per camera per day.
For the history lovers and the cultural enthusiasts, the last leg of February 2014 can be a great time to plan a Khajuraho trip.