Natyanjali Dance Festival
Natyanjali is an annual classical Indian dance festival. It denotes to the dance festival at Chidambaram Natarajar temple. Originally, was introduced at the Chidambaram temple, but nowadays also organized at many other temples in Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Chennai, Nagapatinam, Mayavaram, Thirunallar, Thiruvanaikoil, etc.
Natyam means dance. Anjali means to offer. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to Lord Shiva is celebrated every year during February-March for five days in the temple premises ‘The medium of dance” has been adopted as an important expression of devotion and worship in Chidambaram. For the practitioners of ‘Natya’ ,such an offering is the most eloquent ‘Anjali’. This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all over India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.
It begins on the auspicious occasion of MahaShivarathiri. During Shiva rathiri, there will be special poojas in the temple throughout the night. Dance teachers and Gurus of all styles will offer their chosen art form at the feet of Lord Nataraja.
Leading dancers from all over the country congregate and dance in the temple as an offering to Lord Nataraja. Many dancers think it is a blessing to be able to perform their ‘Arangettram’ (first stage performance) in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram. The festival lasts for 5 days.