The World that only belongs to Dance.
The first of its kind, this is a school dedicated entirely to dance. It is a world in itself. Traditional dance forms from all the corners of the country are practiced and taught here. It is an international community of dancers that took the shape of a residential dance village and school. They follow the age-old Gurukul system where they work to cultivate food for themselves and their Gurus and participate in the maintenance of the Gurukul. Apart from their training in Dance, they also learn Martial Arts, Yoga, Philosophy, Mythology and Indian literature, to inculcate in them the interdisciplinary understanding required to master the art.
It was started by Protima Gauri, an Odissi Dancer, in the year 1990 and is located near the Hesarghatta lake, which is 30 kilometers from the city of Bengaluru. It was designed by the well-known Indian Architect Gerard da Cunha, strong native influence from the region can be seen in the architecture. Spread over a vast area of over 10 acres, the gurus and students of Nrityagram cultivate their own food. There are many gurukuls in the village assigned for different dance forms, but currently, only the Odissi Gurukul is functional due to a shortage of funds.
At the entrance, you will find a temple. Called 'The temple of dedication', it is made from the very soil of Nrityagram and sculpted into it is the image of Mohapatra, the guru of the founder of Nrityagram. It is decorated with depictions of dance mudras, the elements, and parts of traditional dance attire, like ghungroos. Inside is a granite water bowl and a 'Nityajyothi' or a lamp that stays lit every day.
Unlike most Gurukuls that are not very welcoming of their visitors, at Nrityagram you can get the opportunity to watch the dance classes and rehearsals as they take place in the open among the intervening tunes of nature. The Gurukul remains closed on Mondays and all state and national holidays. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, they entertain visitors from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. On Sundays, they have a community outreach programme, where they teach about 300 children.
How to reach
Though Nrityagram does not have an airport, Rail station or bus station of its own, it is very well connected to Bengaluru and is not very far from the city. From Bengaluru, a taxi or buses are easily available and convenient.
How to Reach by Flight
Bengaluru International Airport is the closest to Nrityagram. Taxis can be hired to go to Nrityagram directly from the airport itself.
How to Reach by Train
The nearest station is the Bengaluru Railway Station, from where it is very easy to commute to Nrityagram by bus or taxi.
How to Reach by Bus
There are buses from Bengaluru to Nrityagram, but it is not connected directly to other cities around it.
How to Reach by Road
The Tumkur Road or National Highway 4, will lead you to Yeshwantpur and you can follow the signs that lead to Hesaraghatta. Once you reach Hesaraghatta, Nrityagram is not something you will miss.
How to travel within
The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
This ensemble first debited in the year 1996 in New York. Surupa Sen, Bijayini Satpathy, Anitha Nair, Pavithra Reddy, and Jaya Mukherjee were part of this group and this debut performance leads to several other house-full shows spread out internationally. Their very first full-length production called 'Sri- In search of the Goddess', premiered in Delhi in 2001. This was followed by 'Ansh', 'Sacred Space' and many more. One of its productions, 'Prathima: Reflection', had a world premiere at the Joyce Theatre, New York City. Today, apart from the lead dancer-choreographer, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy, the ensemble includes Pavithra Reddy, Rasmi Raj, and Manasi Tripathy.
It will take you 90 minutes to two hours to reach the Gurukul from Bengaluru city. It is a day tour and no meals or accommodation is provided to visitors of Nrityagram. A casual self-guided tour of Nrityagram would cost you only the entry ticket fee of Rs.100/person. But for a wholesome experience, we suggest you take the private lecture and demonstration, which would involve a private guided tour and demonstration followed by a small session where the students and Gurus would answer a few questions. If you are looking for something even more exclusive, you could book a private performance along with the guided tour. These would have to be booked in advance and would be priced separately from the entry fee.