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Natyanjali dance festival is an important annual event at Chidambaram in Tamilnadu.

Natyanjali Dance Festival

Natyanjali Dance FestivalThe festival in the honor of the great Cosmic Dancer or Lord Natraja (a form of Lord Shiva) is held every year in Chidambaram during February or March. This five-day long festival starts from the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Nataraja is the Lord of Dances and hence the festival features dance performances in the 'Prakara' of the magnificent Chidambaram temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 1000-year old temple provides a fitting backdrop to the spectacular event taking place under the golden roof of the temple showing pillars that depict Lord Nataraja in the classic 108 poses from the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu known as Bharatanatyam. Renowned dancers from all over India pay their homage to the deity by performing in the honor of Lord Nataraja at Natyanjali festival.

The Department of Tourism of Government of Tamil Nadu, the Ministry Of Tourism of Government of India and the Natyanjali Trust of Chidambaram jointly organize this festival. One can almost feel the elation of the dancers as they go into a trance while performing with exquisite acumen and skill that comes with years of training and practice. The evocative 'Abhinaya' (acting) and the subtle movements of each of their body parts are worth seeing. Performing at the festival is considered one of the greatest honors offered to these classical dancers as they dance to create the 'Padams' and 'Varnams' in the course of creating an imaginary figure of the Lord Nataraja. The dance festival re-establishes music and dance as the universal language and while entertaining, it also makes the audience aware of the rich classical dance forms of India.

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