A Dance Affair On The Shores Of Mahabalipuram

For one month every year, the historical town of Mahabalipuram transforms into a stage where enthralling performances highlight India's varied dance forms at the Indian Dance Festival
An artist performs at the Indian Dance Festival. Credit Denis Shevyakov / Shutterstock.com
An artist performs at the Indian Dance Festival. Credit Denis Shevyakov / Shutterstock.com

At a short distance from Chennai is the stunning town of Mamallapuram, also known by its more popular name Mahabalipuram. At the end of every year, this small town reverberates with the sounds of music and dance when it hosts the Mamallapuram Dance Festival or the Indian Dance Festival. Dedicated to celebrating India's remarkable and traditional dances, this unique dance festival spells excitement that lasts for a month as the state ushers in the new year.


Spectacular and inimitable heritage sites mark Tamil Nadu Mahabalipuram has the lion's share. A culturally-rich city, art lovers can spend days exploring the structures from the 7th and 8th century AD here, which comprise the legacy of the Pallava rulers. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the coastal shores of Mahabalipuram are thronged by tourists in December-January to attend the Mamallapuram Dance Festival, first introduced in 1992 and later rechristened as the Indian Dance Festival. Organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism department with the support of the Union Ministry of Tourism, this dance festival provides a platform for folk dance forms such as Karagam, Kavadi, Thappattam, and Oyilattam and classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak to cast their spell on viewers.

The festival is held against the historic sculpture at the Shore Temple, called the "The Arjuna Penance", a bas-air relief that dates back to the mid-seventh century and is one of the most magnificent monuments in the city. On an ornamented stage that is marked by a mystical ambience, prominent artistes from across the country take to stage every evening, enthralling the viewers. This festival not only provides a fantastic chance to become acquainted with many traditional dance styles of India, but it also serves as a networking opportunity for artists, dancers, musicians, and theatre professionals.

Where Sea Shore Temple Complex, Mamallapuram
When 23 Dec 2022 - 23 Jan 2023
Timings 530 PM - 830 PM

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