The fabulously carved sandstone temples of Khajuraho will spring to life again at the annual Khajuraho Dance Festival this February. Classical dancers from across the country will perform Odissi (Odisha), mohaniyattam (Kerala), bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), chhau (Jharkhand) and kathak (north India), their postures and poses often mimicking the sensually sculpted panels.
For one week, Khajuraho is swept up in a revelry of the traditional arts. The festival is free and open to all and will run from Mon February 20 to Sun February 26, 2017. In the past, the festival has hosted acclaimed exponents including Madhumita Roy (kathak artist empanelled by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations), Daniel Freddy (kathak dancer from Delhi’s Dhwani Repertory), and Madhusmita Mohanty (Bismillah Khan Award-winning Odissi dancer).
The grounds beside the temples will also be abuzz with cultural events during the festival. Exhibitions of traditional and contemporary art and crafts from India and 20 other countries will be displayed at the Art-Mart and Hunar platforms. The Nepathya exhibition will spotlight the crafts, dances and music of the northeastern state of Manipur. All the performances are in the evenings but do turn up at the complex at sunrise to soak in its beauty and quiet; read more about the festival here and about exploring Khajuraho here.
Updated in January 2017.
Khajuraho is 250km/5hr north of Jabalpur, and 380km/7hrs northeast of Bhopal. Direct flights to Khajuraho operate from Delhi and Agra. The most convenient railway stations are Satna (120km/2.5hr), Jhansi (175km/3.5hr) and Jabalpur, and the nearest are Mahoba and Harpalpur. Buses ply from Jhansi, Jabalpur, Indore, and Bhopal. For details about the festival, visit khajurahodancefestival.com.
Rumela Basu is former Assistant Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. Her favourite kind of travel involves food, literature, dance and forests. She travels not just to discover new destinations but also aspects of herself.