The classical dances of India are an eloquent expression of our ancient civilisation, and a remarkable continuity of our cultural heritage. Synthesis of various forms of dance was possible because of tradition, environment, and spiritual aspirations that gave each style a particular form of its own.
If you have an artistic bent of mind and like classical music and dance, Nrityagram is a great weekend getaway. The most high profile of all art schools in the country, Nrityagram is situated in Hessaraghatta, 35 kms from Bangalore. Set up in 1990 in a 10-acre agricultural land leased by the Government of Karnataka for 30 years, a sincere effort has been made to nourish different dance styles and martial arts through the ancient system of 'Guru Shisya Parampara.' Nrityagram was the brainchild of one-time fashion-model-turned-Odissi danseuse Protima Gauri. The village has been designed by architect Gerard daCunha, and while its artistic ambitions are laudable, its' architectural innovations are no less weighty.
Nrityagram has a perfect village ambience with mud buildings, greenery, shady trees etc. Reading a book under a tree or taking a long walk is a good idea. If you plan a visit around spring, make sure you are there during Vasantahabba-spring festival-an annual celebration of dance and music where maestros from all over the world come to perform. This festival, considered the Woodstock of classical dance and music in India, is a dusk-to-dawn show at the open-air amphitheatre in Nrityagram.
Nrityagram is a hour-and-a-half drive from Bangalore, and it's best to drive down or take a taxi. The local buses, though much cheaper, are dusty and crowded and avoidable.
The only place to stay, Kuteeram, part of the Taj Group of Hotels, is quite close to Nrityagram. It has nine cottages, of which three are suites, each one different from the other. The ambience which reminds you of the retiring chambers of bygone Indian royalty, exudes a rare, old-world charm. The rock-hewn walls are adorned with ancient cave art, murals, and paintings. The touch of antiquity has been enhanced by the ethnic furniture and original artisan work. However, there are simple modern-day luxuries to put you at utmost ease. As a place of stay, Kuteeram has a timeless appeal.
Timings: Nrityagram is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.The Address