The word “kalakshetra” means “holy place of the arts.” Founded in 1936, Kalakshetra is Tamil Nadu’s leading academy of the arts, with a focus on the traditional dances and music styles of the state. Rukmini Devi Arundale, the school’s founder, studied dance under famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
The 99-acre (40-hectare) campus opens to visitors who’d like to explore the grounds, observe classes in session or participate in morning prayer around the campus Banyan Tree. Academy staff also offer guided tours of the campus, allowing visitors to learn more about the history of some of the illustrious alumni of Kalakshetra.
Also of interest is the campus’s Rukmini Devi Museum, who donated her collection of art and artifacts to the academy. Across the street from the Kalakshetra Campus, the associated Craft Centre offers demonstrations in hand-loom weaving, block printing and textile painting.
Kalakshetra closes to visitors during final examinations and summer vacation, so it’s a good idea to call ahead before you go.