We planned for a weekend getaway to Nrityagram, which turned to be a unique experience. The dance village is situated on a 10 acre land near Hessarghatta, 30 Km from Bangalore. This was founded in 1990 by Protima Gauri who was a model, actress and a dancer. Protima Gauri’s joy and passion for dance art form can be experienced with a visit to the dance village. Here classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi are taught by teachers from all over India. Martial arts are also taught here.
Nrityagram Dance village was planned and built by architect Gerard da Cunha. The buildings are built with mud giving the look and feel of an Indian village. The open areas have large green cover and many trees dot the place.
Vasanthahabba is an annual festival of spring celebrated in Nrityagram with great joy. During the festival, an all-night festival of dance and music is organized in the open amphitheater of the village where artists from all over the world perform.
Another activity that we enjoyed was the hike to Hessarghatta Reservoir. It is about 5 Km from Nrityagram. The defunct Bangalore Yacht Club present there is a bleak reminder of the sailing and boat races that were held on the lake. We were shocked to see the lake completely dry except for a small patch of water.
The lake / reservoir was built across the Arkavathy River in 1894 to facilitate drinking water to the city dwellers. It was built by Sir.K.Seshadri Iyer, who was the Dewan of erstwhile Mysore state and the then Chief Engineer of Mysore, M.C.Hutchins. They planned to name it as “Chamarajendra Water Works” after His Highness Chamarajendra Wodeyar. The water stored would last for 3 years.
The earthen bund is 5544 feet in length and a height of 133 feet creating the Hesaraghatta Lake (reservoir). The total area occupied by the lake is 1,124 acres.
After working up an appetite, we headed to Taj Kutteram, a boutique hotel right opposite Nrityagram for lunch. It is part of Taj group of hotels and is beautifully laid out and aesthetically built with lots of open space. The 5 course lunch that was served in the open restaurant was delicious. The vegetables used in the dishes are grown in the garden behind the hotel. We took a walk in the vegetable and fruit garden, which is lovingly cared by the hotel gardeners.
A huge Banyan tree opposite the restaurant attracts many birds. We spotted sunbirds, mynah, bulbul etc.
The ambience of the resort is very peaceful with Geese swimming in the pond, the lawn studded with dew and trees reaching the sky. The sound of water from the fountain played duet with the call of birds that created an ocean of calm atmosphere into which we readily drowned.
The hotel has 9 luxurious cottages with walls painted in folk art. The hotel architecture complements very well with the architecture of Nrityagram. Bikes are available for a ride to explore the beautiful countryside.
I only wish that the lake would be rejuvenated and the sailing and racing of boats would begin. If this happens, it will become one of the best eco-tourism around Bangalore.
Type of Place: Dance Village, Lake, and a Boutique hotel
Situated: Near Hesarghatta, Bangalore Rural District
Distance: 35 kms from Bangalore
Transport: Well connected by road, Taxis are preferred over local buses
Facilities: Rest room is available
Timings: Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Sundays
Tickets: 20Rs per person
Nrityagram Dance Village
Bangalore Rural District – 560088
Tel: (94 – 80) 28466326/329/332