Visiting Kalakshetra – The Center for Fine Arts

A vital center of training and performance, the institution has produced and molded generations of acclaimed artists in a distinctive style. Since its establishment in the early 20th century, Kalakshetra has had stalwart musicians and dancers on its faculty. It provides a holistic education in arts amidst a serene and inspiring natural environment cultivating a spirit of reverence. The faculty comprises of many experts who have studied here and cherish the ideals of this institution. Some of India’s most revered artistes are among its alumni.

Kalakshetra focuses on bharatanatyam, carnatic vocal and instrumental music, the visual arts, traditional crafts and textile design, textual heritage, aesthetics, history and philosophy. The director, Leela Samson, a student of Rukmini Devi, continues to be a performer and teacher of this tradition. She and her staff consider themselves as links in a living chain, and commit themselves to preserving and sharing the purity and beauty of the arts in every possible form.

Kalakshetra Foundation comprises of Kalakshetra, The Besant Theosophical High School, The Besant Arundale Senior Secondary School, A CraftEducation and Research Centre including the Weaving Department, the Kalamkari Natural-Dye Printing & Painting unit, the Visual Arts Center, The Bharata Kalakshetra Auditorium, the Rukmini Arangam, four libraries, the Rukmini Devi Museum, hostels, staff quarters and guest houses.

Committed to artistic excellence whether in classrooms, in auditoria or during tours around the world, as a performance company, Kalakshetra productions are widely recognized for their in-depth research, impeccable technique and refined aesthetics. The repertory can present a wide variety of dance-dramas, a whole range of authentic folk dances of India, the complete Bharata Natyam repertoire in solo and group forms, in traditional compositions and new works. The music ensemble presents solo vocal and instrumental compositions, as well as group orchestral compositions for voice and instruments.

Diploma/Post Diploma: Part Time Courses

The Pallava and Kriti programs cater to the 7-14 years and the 15-25 years age groups, respectively. Classes are held 3 days a week between 4:30p.m. and 5:30p.m.

Prospective students and their parents should note that the evening program is a great privilege for young students, who will have the opportunity to train with the faculty of one of country’s most prestigious art institutes. Retired faculty members from Kalakshetra and distinguished alumni who live in Chennai are invited to teach here. Young children thereby have the singular opportunity to learn from the most experienced dancers and teachers.

Built on 100 acres of land in southern Chennai, in a distinctively simple style of architecture, the Kalakshetra Foundation is an important physical and artistic landmark in the life of the Indian nation and stands as an enduring tribute to its founders.
Visitors are welcome to walk around the campus, visit the museum and the craft center, and learn about the rich traditions that live on at the institute. However, to make your visit more comfortable for all, please read the information provided in this section prior to making your visit. Please contact the institute with any questions you may have.

General Information


Kalakshetra is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. All students and staff assemble at the banyan tree at the centre of campus for prayers at 8:30 a.m. Visitors are welcome to join the prayer, but neither video recording nor photography is allowed. Following the prayers, students and staff proceed to main classes and rehearsals.

Visitors are encouraged to watch classes from outside the cottages, in order to avoid

interruptions to the class.

Photography is not permitted in the classes.

Performances at the Kalakshetra auditorium usually begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue to 8:30 p.m. on show days.

Kalakshetra remains closed for visitors during second and fourth Saturdays of all months & All government holidays.Kalakshetra is comprised of the following institutes:

• Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts
• Rukmini Devi Museum
• Koothambalam (Kalakshetra theatre)
• Craft Education and Research Centre
(including the weaving department, the Kalamkari natural dye printing and the painting unit)


Visitors should enter through the Kalakshetra Main Gate (on Anna Street), park cars and buses at that location, and report to the Reception to get their visitor badges. The entry fee for foreigners is Rs. 200/- The entry fee for indians is Rs.50/- Videography and photography is strictly prohibited. The campus is best seen on feet.

Toilets are located near the theatre.

Visitors are advised to bring their own water. Non-vegetarian food and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited. No smoking is allowed anywhere on the Kalakshetra campus.

There are no restaurants on campus. However, groups of 5 or less may make a prior booking for meals.

A Kalakshetra handout is available at the reception for Rs.10/-. It describes the activities of the institution and contains information. To find out more about becoming a student at Kalakshetra, please contact the college office on campus. The college students study from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Part time classes in dance and music are from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for all ages, thrice a week.

Dress Code

Students and staff wear traditional Indian clothing (saris for women, dhotis for men). Visitors are advised to dress with decorum to keep the aesthetics of the institution by avoiding revealing apparels. Visitors are not permitted to enter the classes or performance spaces, unless instructed to. Footwear is prohibited in classrooms, performing spaces and office rooms. Kalakshetra reserves the right to refuse admission to visitors who are not appropriately dressed and its decision in the matter will be final, binding and cannot be contested.

Groups of 6 or more

Groups of 6 or more visitors are requested to contact the Kalakshetra office before their arrival to register for a tour. Please contact the numbers below for more information.

Kalakshetra Foundation
Chennai 600041
phone: +91-44-24524057, +91-44-24520836
fax: +91-44-24524359

Posted on November 22, 2011, in Art, Attractions, Ecological Restoration in Chennai, Education, Entertainment, Events, Heritage of Chennai and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Srividhya shyamkumar

    I am unable to get the information about whether the full time visual course offered is residential or schedule timings and what is the qualification necessary for this course and age limit.
    Pls kindly let me know.

  2. i didn’t know even basics of dance but i desire to learn dance in kalakshetra in diploma, i’m a MA HISTORY student is there any possibility to joint diploma dance in kalakshetra chennai

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