The Mukteswar Dance Festival, a much awaited annual festival of Odissi dance, is hosted in the premises of the 10th Century architectural marvel Mukteswar in Bhubaneswar. Organised by Odisha Tourism and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, the dance festival is a three-day affair between the 14th and 16th of January. It was started in 1984 and since 2004, has been successfully hosted every year.
Odissi dance, probably one of the oldest dance forms of the country, can be found in the shape of beautiful danseuse’s captured in typical Odissi dance mudra, can be found inscribed in centuries old temples in the state. While it was mostly a temple dance form performed for the deities inside the sanctum, the dance form underwent a renaissance of sorts in the 1950s and 1960s wherein it became more accessible to the general public through stage performances. Ever since, the dance form has gained immense popularity globally for the graceful movements and high spiritual quotient attached with each dance composition. This dance form is celebrated at the Mukteswar Dance Festival, with the beautiful temple creating a backdrop worthy of the dance form.
Dance lovers from across the world witness the performances by promising artistes as well as famous dancers who have carved a niche for themselves in this classical dance form of Odisha. The festival usually features a solo, duet and a group Odissi item every day. Artistes groomed by pioneer of Odissi dance like Kelucharan Mohapatra, Adi guru Pankaj Charan Das, Debaprasad Das and Guru Gangadhar Pradhan to mention a few, have featured in the festival over the years. Prominent artistes like Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Ratikant Mohapatra, Madhvi Mudgal and many others have performed here.
The winter evenings, with the Mukteswar temple complex with its several mini temples in the precinct, comes alive to the beats of the mardala and the tinkle of the ‘ghungura’ or ankle bells while the stage transports the viewer to ancient times through the ambience of the warmly lit temple structure and its majestic arch at the entrance.
Celebrating both the rich heritage of Odisha and the elegance of Odissi dance, Mukteswar festival is a one of its kind experience and highly recommended for visitors to Odisha.
|Festival Dates||January 14 - January 16 every year|
|Timings||6 PM - 8 PM|
|Venue||Mukteswar Temple complex|
Odisha Tourism also sets up a few stalls at the venue that offer local delicacies and handicrafts for visitors
You might be interested in taking an evening walk of the Ekamra Kshetra and reach the Mukteswar Temple premises by 6m on the festival dates to soak in the real experience of Odisha’s beautiful temples.