NATYANJALI DANCE FESTIVAL IS CELBRATED AS TAMIL’S NEW YEAR DAY

Natyanjali is an annual dance festival commemorating Hindu deity Shiva. It originated around 1981, and started off as a relatively obscure event. It is currently organized by collaborative efforts of the Department of Tourism of Tamil Nadu and the Natyanjali Trust.[1] Although celebrations are most prominent at its original venue, the 12th century Chidambaram temple, they also occur in a wider spectrum across Tamil Nadu and Murugan temples. Mumbai also organize their own versions of the festival under the same banner.

The current version lasts around 13 days, and various classical dance forms of all styles offer their art up to the god Nataraja. Senior gurus have been performing on Sivaratri night year after year. In 1968, V. P. Dhananjayan created Natyanjali, a bharatanatyam composition. It is from the Raga Mallika, Tala Mallika, and praises Ganesha, Saraswati, Vishnu, Shiva, and the gurus in Sanskrit Slokas, each with different talas and ragas. Natyanjali is connected to the dance festival held at Chidambaram Sri Sabanayagar Temple (Sri Natarajar temple). For some 40 years Carnatic music concerts were conducted daily in the 1000 pillar mantap.

Tapping their feet on every beat and swaying away with the applause of audience are the talented dancers delved in this famous festival of Tamilnadu, Natyanjali Dance Festival. Viewing it as a shining opportunity, artists from across the globe set their foot into this tourism destination and are the driving force in achieving the motive of this festival, which is 'unity in diversity'. When divided, Natyanjali means dancers dedicating their art of dance, where 'Natya' means dance and 'Anjali' means offering. The artists pay their respect to Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva), the epitome of dance. Chidambaram which is one of the most popular tourist destination in South India, is the host of this festival which is rejoiced in the month of February-March and begins on the day of Mahashivratri.


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Tourists travel from all round the world to enjoy dance forms like Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri Bharatanatyam, Pung Cholam and Odissi which are represented by the dancers in the brightly set up Prakaram (outer area surrounding the temple) of Chidambaram Temple. This temple is one of the ancient sites of tourist attraction devoted to Lord Shiva which adds grandeur in the background with its golden roof and pillars offering  a mind blowing setting.Talking of which, the walls of the temples have engraved on them the 108 karanas from the famous Natya Shastra (Sanskrit text on performing arts) which are the basis of the Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam.