Launch part of a programme by Bharatanatyam dancers' association that will culminate on September 25 with a performance by 1000 dancers

Stressing that Raja Raja Chola I was instrumental in making Thanjavur the cultural capital, eminent dancer Padma Subrahmanyam said “Every dancer has a duty to pay respect to the great king, who was a patron of the arts.”

She was speaking here on Sunday at the launch of a DVD, ‘Rajarajeswaram 1000,' a tribute to the Chola king, as part of a programme being organised by the Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India (ABHAI) in Thanjavur on September 25.

At 5 p.m. on that day, 1,000 dancers will converge in the open space around the epic sculpture of the Nandi in the Rajarajesvaram temple — popularly called the Brihadisvara or the Big Temple — to perform a grand dance spectacle.

Dancers from New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, the southern States, and from Singapore, Malaysia and the U.S. will take part. The programme will be part of the State government's celebration of the contribution of the Chola King to the renaissance of art and culture.

Law Minister Durai Murugan and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's wife Rajathi Ammal released the DVD. The first copy was received by Sathyabama Badrinath, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI (Chennai Circle).

The DVD will be sent to dance gurus whose students will be taking part in the event.

It will serve as a tool to practise and refine the steps which have been choreographed. Jayant Kastuar, Secretary, Sangeet Natak Akademi, who was the chief guest at the function, handed over copies of the DVD to some of the dance gurus.

Ms. Subrahmanyam said that the Thanjavur temple has the longest Tamil inscription known to exist. “It gives detailed information about the 400-odd accomplished dancers, called ‘talippendir', who were in the temple's rolls. They performed during daily rituals and festival processions.”

Mr. Durai Murugan said that the Chief Minister after reading a report in The Hindu about the dancing fraternity's plan to honour Raja Raja Chola I decided to request them to be a part of the State government's celebrations. Ms. Rajathi Ammal and Ms.Sathyabama Badrinath spoke.