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Khajuraho Dance Festival – A Show about the Unique Heritage

Ever thought of witnessing a grand cultural dance festival at the steps of an ancient erotica temple cluster?

Well, the Khajuraho Dance Festival brings just that in the exotic land of exquisite art and culture in Madhya Pradesh

The festival is the biggest international event of India that truly represents the art and culture of India. Here on the foothills of the ancient temple cluster thrives a magical culture of Indian classical music and dance. 

Khajuraho is a cluster of Jain and Hindu temples built by Chandela kings in 1050 AD  in the Chatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh near Jhansi, often known for its Kamasutra origins. 

Although primarily known for its erotica sculptures only 18% of the temples have these sexual position sculptures , the rest of the sculptures are from mythologies and stories of sages. 

It’s natural that such a venue has been chosen to depict the future and traditions of the country internationally.

Hosted in the Western part of the temple complex, the Khajuraho Dance Festival serves its purpose of showcasing India’s rich cultural heritage.

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A Spectacular Dance Tale

This year the festival happened took place from 20th to 26th February and due to the pandemic time, it turned into a gala digital event where the country saw the best of classical music, art, and craft. 

Khajuraho Dance Festival

Every year, the festival takes place in association with Ustad Alauddin Khan Music and Arts Academy and Madhya Pradesh Sanskriti Parishad. This is the only festival of its stature that showcases Indian classical dance to the world. 

This year too the festival witnessed an exciting lineup of performances of Indian classical dances like Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Kathak and Manipuri dances by stalwarts of each gharana. 

Not just the classical performances, the festival also had bike rallies, art exhibitions, intricate dance fetes, and different local art and craft workshops.

Dance is celebrated as a grand, gala festival here. So it involves rich discussion on dance, art and heritage which is absolutely jaw dropping for a dance lover and ordinary folks alike.

Amidst the celestial night, the grand Khajuraho temple comes alive for 6 days with beautiful dance masterpieces crafted by the finest Indian classical dancers of the country. 

Not just that the extravagant festival is richly supplemented with local food, art and craft. This year they had intricate terracotta works on display along with special heritage walks and village tours. 

Exposing the Rich Local Fervor

The Khajuraho Dance Festival is an excellent avenue to witness art and craft of India, specially of Madhya Pradesh. Here you not only get a glimpse of excellent rare forms of art but also get to learn few of them directly from the artisans and craftsmen.

Khajuraho Dance Festival is an excellent avenue to witness art and craft of India

This year the connoisseurs of art and culture were exposed to the hidden craft of textile artists of Madhya Pradesh through the Hunar and Art Mart. Stress was given to the folk art pieces made by women. 

The event also acts as a platform to purchase these local art and craft including local textile works which are hard to find elsewhere in the city.

The Hunar workshops were conducted by artist Chinmay Mishra who made sure that the visiting guests learned the local folk art. For this they had around 20 workshops.

Local folk art like the clay craft of Chatarpur, the Khadi of Niwari,  Lac craft of Dewas were beautifully demonstrated in the workshops. 

Other hand-loom works also caught much of the people’s attention.

Andhra Pradesh’s ‘Neemuch’ was a huge hit owing to its rich colour while Nandini, Batik, Chanderi and Maheshwari work also drove attention. 

In the Art Mart segment more than 500 art exhibitions showcasing 250 woman artists’ work came up. This includes sketches, paintings, sculptures and much more. 

Khajuraho Dance Festival witness art and craft of India
Bundeli Art of Madhya Pradesh

The ‘Bundeli Art’ of Madhya Pradesh was the chief attraction as people got to know the details of the craft first hand and learned about age old culture and traditions associated with it. 

So, the Khajuraho Dance Festival richly portrays the art, culture and heritage of this unique land which a normal tourist visiting in other times of the year cannot witness. 

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Places To Visit in Khajuraho

As you watch this year’s sessions and plan for a visit next year, let’s take you through the places you can visit while you are in Khajuraho –

1. The Khajuraho Temple clusters:

Nagara style temple clusters are of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain origin and requires an extensive tour. When here for the festival, you can extend the stay for 2-3 days more and explore. There’s also a majestic light and sound show that happens at the Western cluster of the temple complex – the same place where the festival takes place. The Chausath Jogini Temple is considered to be the best temple here. 

2. State Museum of Tribal & Folk Art :

State Museum of Tribal & Folk Art

This museum lies in the Chandella Cultural Complex which you can visit during the day time.

3. Ajaigarh Fort:

Ajaigarh Fort
Ajaigarh Fort

When visiting Khajuraho, you cannot miss to visit the magnificent fortress of the Chandella kings who built Khajuraho. It is 80 km from the city.

4. Khajuraho Old Town:

Khajuraho Old Town

This is a village region near the city where you can witness the glimpses of the past with bygone era’s local architecture. The 2 villages here are regarded as the birthplace of the epic erotica scripture Kamasutra.

5. Panna National Park:

Willing to explore the nature and wildlife of Madhya Pradesh then surely spend some time in the Jungle huts of Panna National Park and get to spot some exotic birds, jackals, chinkara, cheetah and vultures. You can even spot a tiger if you lucky.

6. Raneh Falls & Canyons :

Raneh Falls & Canyons

30 feet deep canyon made up of granite rocks has some beautiful waterfalls nestled in aquamarine waters making Raneh Falls and Canyons a must visit.

So, there you go, your complete guide to Khajuraho Dance Festival for next year. Don’t miss to visit the ‘Heart of India’, the majestic Madhya Pradesh during this iconic dance festival. 

Also Read – Music Festivals in India

Written by Pratiti Nath

A heritage and travel enthusiast with a penchant for sustainable living and travel, Pratiti writes on key issues governing health, environment, travel and culture. A microbiologist by vocation and a writer/editor by profession Pratiti brings science and innovation in her pursuits of life. When not traveling she can be found addressing key issues on her blog at

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