Maharajas' Express Blog

Get Immersed in the Rhythmic Art of Kathak Dance at Lucknow with the Indian Panorama Journey of Maharajas Express

lucknow kathak“Over the centuries, Lucknow, the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, has strongly influenced the art, culture, cuisines and aesthetics of northern India. Lucknows ascendancy during the Mughal era made it a cultural powerhouse and different forms of art including various dance styles were originated and reinvented during this period. Mughal influence is quite evident in Lucknow and a rare amalgamation of Hindu & Muslim culture also colloquially referred to as Ganga-Jamunitehzeeb is remarkably conspicuous in its various architectural designs and art forms.

History of Lucknow is as astounding as its culture and it goes back to the time of Lord Rama. According to a popular legend, Lord Rama gifted a territory to his brother Lakshman after returning from the exile and this land was called Lakshmanpur which eventually came to be known as Lucknow. There is a little reference to when actually the name Lucknow was first used, though it made its way to various writings around the 14th century when it became a part of the Awadh region

In the early 18th century, Mughal emperors made Lucknow the capital of Awadh and appointed Sadat Khan as the governor of the city. Sadat Khan and his descendants were later given the title of Nawab.It was during this period of Nawabs that Lucknow came in the limelight and thrived in every area including music and dance. Many celebrated monuments of Lucknow were made during this period including Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, and Rumi Darwaza.

Kathak is a renowned Indian classical dance form whose origin dates back to the 3rd century B.C. It has been derived from the Sanskrit words Katha which translates as story and Kathak meaning story teller. It was originally performed only in temples as a devotional dance to show reverence to God; however, during the Mughal era it was also performed in the emperors courts for general entertainment purposes.

The most notable and riveting feature of Kathak is the swift rhythmic footwork synchronized with the played music and astonishing pirouettes performed at lightning speed which finish with elegant statuesque forms. Unlike BharataNatyam, another classical dance form, Kathak could be performed by both women as well as by men.

There are two distinctive dance forms within Kathak: Nritta and Nrittya. Nritta is not influenced by any story and is only concerned with the sheer joy and celebration of dance. It involves repetition of complex rhythmic dance patterns through immaculate footwork accompanied with hundreds of ankle bells fastened to the feet of the dancer. On the other hand, Nrittya is more expressive and involves pronounced hand gestures, facial expressions, and symbolic body positions for conveying the story to the audience.

There are three major schools or gharanas of Kathak namely: Lucknow gharana, Jaipur gharana and Benares gharana. Lucknow gharana came into being in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah who ruled the Awadh region during the early parts of 19th century. It is more concerned with the Nrittya form of Kathak and greatly improvised this style to bring it to its current form. Lucknow gharana today is renowned for its subtle and elegant Kathak dance styles which incorporate various Nrittya elements.

Indian Panorama Journey (itinerary) of Maharaja Rail India covers the culturally rich city of Lucknow in its 8 day long trip that covers 2307 Kilometers through 10 famous places located in 4 major northern Indian states. While in Lucknow, guests of Maharajas Express are taken for an excursion to watch Kathak dance in all its splendor and awe. The places covered in The Indian Panorama journey are Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambore, FatehpurSikri, Agra, Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and Lucknow”.