Nrityagram - the name itself tells us how much classical this village is. The village is in perfect harmony with nature & so are the people. They even grow their own food!
A place where the beats of carnatic music resemble the rhythm of our soul, the different expressions a human shows parodied by so scintillating a dance. Nrityagram turns out to be one of the first and the finest modern Gurkuls (residential school) in India. It is also an International Community. This place was founded in the year 1990 by Odissi Danseuse Protima Gauri. This also serves as a high-profile art school for various martial arts by instigating in the students the age old practice of Guru-Sishya Parampara. Simply put, she says it is a place which glorifies and respects art, mainly in the dance form. Visiting Nrityagram would certainly help you learn the rich Indian cultural heritage.
About 35 Km away from the main city of Bangalore a 30 minute drive is just the perfect spot for a calm relaxing weekend. There are buses fleeting from Bangalore all the time to Nrityagram. Apart from buses, this place can be reached by taking a cab from Bangalore, or sometimes, even an auto-rickshaw.
The Classical Woodstock of India
Nrityagram mainly houses a plethora of dance forms. These dance forms are a feast for the eyes, the body and the soul. The best possible time to visit this lovely village is during its spotlight festival ‘Vasantha Habba’ meaning spring festival. Vasantha Habba is usually celebrated during the month of December, and the weather is very pleasant during this time. Many artists come over to Nrityagram to perform at Vasantha Habba. This festival has achieved such great heights that it is called the Classical Woodstock of India. Unfortunately, there are days when this festival has been cancelled due to financial crunches, but then, now it is back into action, and still the fame remains one of the major reasons why the various artists come to perform here.
A definite see during a visit to Nrityagram would be the Temple of Dedication. A thought provoking temple formed on one single religion, Dedication. Located near the Hesaraghatta Lake it depicts the image of Kelucharan Mohapatra, guru of founder Protima Bedi.
Things to Do
The different forms of expression taught at this village are Odissi, Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Kathak. Apart from training their regular students they also conduct Workshops and seminars for dance adorers. Public programmes and training programmes are very common and range from Rs 20 per person to Rs 1250 per person, the latter also includes a dance performance. The training programmes are offered to residents only and the basic programme is for three years and the advance is another three years.
A number of food stalls have started coming up in and around Nrityagram in order to cater to the growing number of tourists and visitors to this place. There are a lot of medium – sized restaurants that would not burn a hole in your pocket, and still give you wholesome food.
The main hotel here is Taj Kuteeram which is actually set up by the Taj Group of Hotels. This hotel has an elaborate architecture that spills the glories of the ancient arts and the fabulous eras of the kings.
In short, a weekend away to break the routine of our stressful lives to see the dedication and the ease with which these dancers perform is something that once will remember forever.
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