IIT Madras students celebrate 50 years of Saarang

IIT Madras students are celebrating 50 years of Saarang, the annual cultural festival of the Institute, from 10th to 14th January 2024.

Since its inception in 1974, the erstwhile ‘Mardi Gras’ is deeply rooted in South India’s culture and has become an integral part of Chennai’s cultural scene.

IIT MadrasTo honour its Indian roots and celebrate the omnipresence of the spotted deer commonly found in the campus, Mardi Gras was rebranded as ‘Saarang’ in 1996, say sources from IIT Madras.

Inaugural and footfalls

Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras marked the inauguration of this cultural festival with a violin performance on 10 Jan 2024 during the ‘Classical Night’ at Open Air Theatre.

With an expected footfall of 80,000, the festival is not just another college fest but a celebration of the niche interests of South India’s cultural scene.

The festival prides itself on having something for everyone – be it the Adventure zone for the adrenaline junkies keen to enjoy the ‘carnival experience’ or a skateboard workshop for enthusiasts, say sources from IIT Madras.


Highlighting the importance of this cultural festival, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said for the Golden Jubilee year of their celebration, although they have a wide spectrum of events, they are dedicating it to the rich culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu.

IIT MadrasStudents and Saarang and IIT Madras

Nearly 850 students are working together to make Saarang a grand success. In the past 50 years, Saarang has come a long way, transitioning from a small cultural fest to a large-scale international collaboration between artists, students and communities, transcending generations.

Saarang 2024

Speaking about Saarang 2024, Prof. Sathyanarayana N Gummadi, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, said, “It is my great pleasure to invite the students, participants and IIT community to the 50th edition of our cultural festival.

For the first time, we introduce the classical and folk night, wherein we will showcase both classical music and Tamil Nadu folk arts for this golden jubilee celebration.

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The recently-introduced ‘Saarang Village’ assures spectators of a dedicated area where the diverse facets of India’s rich and beautiful cultures come to life, said Prof Sathyanarayana Gummadi of IIT Madras.

‘The success of the 50th edition of Saarang is due to the hard work and efforts of more than 800 students and their mentors. I wish the entire team a great success.’


Noting the hard work put in by the students in organizing this huge festival, Prof. Prasad Patnaik B S V., Advisor (Cultural), IIT Madras said through the contests and competitions being organised, the spirit of creative thinking and innovation flourishes.

Also read – I STEM to host national event Samavesha on 16 January 2024

The entire Saarang organising team has been putting higher order efforts to make the festival more exciting for the Gen-Z. Kudos to the team lead by our cultural secretaries Jyotir Aditya Menon and Valeti Sriraj, he said.


Saarang of IIT Madras offers a unique platform for rising young artists and performers coming from a diverse array of art forms and interests such as freestyle dance, photography, acapella, graphic designing and stand-up comedy.

The fest will feature events from the Institute’s many cultural clubs, ranging from oratory and comedy to fine arts and writing and the newest, the culinary arts club.

IIT MadrasProfessional shows

A crowning jewel of the fest – the Professional Shows – boasts an impressive line-up of well-established and up-and-coming artists alike, whose performances are sure to have the crowd singing their hearts out.

To honour the month of Marghazhi, the Day 0 of Saarang on 10 January 2024 started with Classical Night.

Choreo Night on Day 1 promised to be filled with stunning performances as dance troupes rock the stage from around the country. EDM Night is opened by the sensational DJ Holy C and headlined by the widely acclaimed duo of Matisse and Sadko.

Day 3 will end with the Rock Night, to be graced by RJD the Band and Thaikkudam Bridge. The last Proshow Night is the Pop Night, to be headlined by the multifaceted playback singer Farhan Akhtar.

Another event that promises to be a highlight is the ‘Spotlight Lecture Series.’ Saarang is all set to welcome a host of esteemed speakers with a wide-ranging reach across various cultural domains, say sources from IIT Madras.

This includes renowned celebrities like Mr. Nassar, Mr. Gautham Vasudev Menon, Ms. Rukmini Vijayakumar, Ms. Usha Uthup, and Mr. Manoj Bajpayee.

Social Campaign

Conscious of responsibilities as students, Saarang also runs a social campaign under the banner of Saarang every year.

Saarang has had campaigns on water conservation, mental health awareness, and health and hygiene awareness and this time around the campaign centred around energy conservation titled ‘Urjam’ is being launched.

‘Urjam’ aims to encourage people to make conscious decisions to make the switch to renewable energy sources.

In this age where climate change is finally being given the due importance it deserves, Urjam highlights the grave need to explore and focus on clean energy sources.

Awareness programs have been conducted in Chennai schools to drive home the message of the judicious use of fuel and electricity.

With several collaborative workshops and panel discussions being conducted on energy conservation, ‘Urjam’ hopes to create a tangible impact in the lives of many.

With 850 young minds working together to make Saarang the kind of magnificent phenomenon it is, Saarang’s 50th year strives to make a mark that would not be forgotten.

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S Vishnu Sharmaa now works with collegechalo.com in the news team. His work involves writing articles related to the education... (Full bio)

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