Hesaraghatta is a small village about 30-40 kms from Bangalore. The main attraction in yester years used to be the Hesaraghatta lake which is a man-made reservoir built in 1894. The lake is mostly dried up now but is said to still attract a number of species of birds.
In 1990, the famous Odissi dancer Protima Gauri established the dance village Nityagram. Its a gurukul dedicated to dance!
We were told that Protima Gauri started a small restaurant called Kuteeram to cater to the visitors. This was later taken over by the Taj group and they developed the lovely little resort Taj Kuteeram.
Its a nice relaxing weekend getaway from Bangalore. I used to think a resort is worth visiting only if it is either in the hills, the jungle, on the beach or on the banks of a river or a big lake. Taj Kuteeram proved me wrong.
Its a aesthetically designed resort with a lot of greenery in and around it. The fact that it has only 9 rooms/suits adds to the charm....
I forgot my camera so could only get limited pics with the phone :(
The restaurant and the terrace with a wonderful view.
The picturesque pond in front of the restaurant
The pond was right in front of the dining area and provided a lovely and relaxing dining atmosphere. There were pebbles in the bottom and fish swimming around. You can see the hammock in the distance.
The pretty stone steps bridge
Do you see the dome in the background? That's the top of a room. I think all rooms have a dome shaped ceiling. The rooms were very tastefully done inside with built in cement beds and side tables and tasteful chairs. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pics before the kids made a mess of it.
Lovely yellow flowers floating near the pond.
That dome was our room. The low stone wall you see is the corridor to the entrance. There are stone benches on either side which made a good place to have morning/evening tea with the birds chirping in the background.
The stone corridor between 2 rooms.
The big peepal tree with a stage under it.
That was a neat idea...to use the shade of the peepal tree for a stage. It must feel so good to watch a performance with all the greenery around and above it!
A trip to Taj Kuteeram would be incomplete without a visit to the adjoining Nityagram. Its an entire academy dedicated to dance. Protima Gauri's idea was to have a community in the midst of greenery, away from civilization that spent all their time teaching and learning dance.
The place was designed by Gerard Da Cunha to closely resemble a typical Indian village and at the same time have a green quiet environment for the artists to hone their dance skills.
At the entrance there is a stone sculpture which is I think the mascot of Nityagram. I didn't get a good pic so took this one from TravelingBeats.
The sprawling premises of Nityagram
Hidden behind the trees in this shot is the stone amphitheater.
Round thatched huts - accommodation for the teachers/students
Traditional rangoli outside the buildings
A stone arch with a creeper on it
Do you see the doorway on the right? That's where the dance classes take place. You can watch the classes but you are not permitted to take photographs. When we were visiting, there was an Odissi dance class in progress. It comprised mostly of young children. We sat there for a long while lost in the energetic youngsters' difficult but graceful moves.
Isn't that a wonderful meeting space?!
Nityagram was setup with the idea of reviving the old Indian Gurukul system of education. Away from the city, away from distractions, the students could concentrate on dance and collectively run the self-sustained village. At one time it had as many as 7 different dance forms being taught and practiced. But now, I guess the times are difficult. Most talented teachers don't want to spend their time away from the limelight teaching in the midst of nowhere. And only really dedicated students will be willing to spend 2,3 years away from regular life to learn dance.
Nityagram comes to life every year on the first Saturday of February with Vasanata Habba or the spring festival. Its an all night dance and music festival. I hope to experience it someday!