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Genre Cultural
Dates January, last weekend near Republic Day
Location(s) Chennai, India
Founded 1974
Attendance 300 colleges[1]

Saarang is the annual social and cultural festival of IIT Madras.[2] It is a five-day long event held towards the end of January every year and is attended by approximately 50,000 students.[3] Called Mardi Gras when it was started in the mid 1970s, the fest has gone on to become an integral part of the city culture of Chennai.[4] It was renamed Saarang in 1996.[5]


In the early 1970s, a "cultural week" festival was held.[6]

The fest was formally started in 1974-75 as Mardi Gras, the focus of the festival being to promote interest in cultural and literary activities and to develop the organizational skills of the students.[7]


Saarang takes place during four days in the second week of January at IIT Madras. The event starts with a classical night, which is then followed by the Choreo night,the rock concert and the Popular night.[8]

Events and workshops[edit]

Lectures and performances[edit]

In Vivo at Saarang 2011

In order to cater to a wider palette and also to act as a filler in the 5pm to the 8pm slot the World music festival was started in the 2010 edition of Saarang.[9] This was in association with the Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, Alliance Française de Madras, and the US Consulate, Chennai.[10] A very successful curtain raiser for the professional shows,this saw performances by T. Raumschmiere from Germany, Ziskakan from France and Hurricane Bells from USA.[11]

Kamal Haasan for a guest lecture at Saarang

The 2011 edition of Saarang saw the World music festival evolve into the even more successful World Culture show.[12] In collaboration with Alliance Française de Madras, Saarang 2011 saw In Vivo,[13] a unique choreographic play by the French dance troupe S’poart, which has received rave reviews world over.[14] In association with the Embassy of Israel, Saarang also saw a performance by Asaf Avidan & Mojos.[15] It was very well received. Again in association with Alliance Française de Madras, Saarang was host to Laurent Decol, one of the best mime performers today.[16] Saarang also played host to a hip-hop performance by Havikoro in association with the US Consulate and sponsored by Everonn Education Ltd. This group also judged Saarang's own $treet$(a dance competition). They also mentored a break dancing workshop as a part of Saarang.


Saarang sees a variety of competitions in a wide range of fields like drawing, painting,elocution, quizzes and many more. People come from across the country to showcase their talents

In conjunction with Logic Masters India,[17] Saarang 2011 saw the Regional Sudoku Championship as part of the Indian Sudoku Championship.[12] The national winner would in turn represent Indian at the World Sudoku Championship to be held in Hungary[18] next year. Saarang organizes a street dance battle called $treet$ in which colleges from all over the country prove their mettle in both choreography and impromptu. In 2011 the event was judged by Havikoro, a Houston-based b-boying crew. DJ Kave provided the hip-hop beats to the competitors.[15] Freestyle dance in Saarang[19][19] is a dance popular dance competition. Similarly there is a classical dance competition[20] in one of the many Indian Classical Dance Forms like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam. One can compete solo or in a group. Cluedo is a mystery solving event at Saarang inspired by the popular board game that goes by the same name in which teams of two participate in the written prelims[21][21] followed by the final round.[22] Potpourri[23][24][25] is a unique event at Saarang, a combination of Dumb Charades, Pictionary, Tinto (a modification of twenty questions) and other games which are subject to change every year. Teams of three participate every year in this enjoyable event.
In 2011, Saarang hosted a Model United Nations, in collaboration with the UN Information Center for India and Bhutan. The theme for the event was ‘Youth and Peacekeeping’. It saw over a hundred participants taking on roles as diplomats, the press and members of the executive committees of UN bodies. Participants aimed to develop solutions to world issues through a process of deliberation and consultation.

Antakshari is also held at Saarang.[26][27][28]
Wolf is a game played at Saarang which is based on the game of Mafia[29] with a variation of ‘Townspeople’ being played by ‘Villagers’ and ‘Mafias’ being played by ‘Wolves’. One player from each of the participating teams would be tested on the rules and objectives of the game and selected to participate in the event.

Treasure hunt (game)[30] and Scavenger Hunt[31] are also played in Saarang

Mr. & Ms. Saarang[32] is an event unique to Saarang which based on the participant’s ability to entertain the crowd using his/her presence of mind and sense of humor. Participants are first required to answer a questionnaire after which a selected number would be called upon stage, and asked framed questions in front of a large audience. Popular VJs or RJs along with the audience judge the winner of the event.
Decibels is a Semi-Professional band competition related to Western Music and the winners get to open the stage for the Rock-Show.[15] Tarang is a similar competition related to light Indian music. A.R. Rahman has performed[33] in Mardi Gras, the earlier avatar of Saarang, Tarang and Decibels are one of the semi-professional band competitions in India which have catapulted bands like Udaan[34][35] Slain [1], Pin Drop Violence[36] and Mother Jane[36] to impressive stature in the Indian Music Industry. Saarang 2011 received over 90 entries for the competition for which 21 is an inter-college dance competition with both theme and non-theme categories.

Professional shows[edit]

Pain Of Salvation at Saarang 2011

Rock Show[edit]

The Rock Show in itself has seen national and international artists of various genres of music like alternate rock, rock, metal and fusion:

Classical Night[edit]

Every year Saarang kick starts with “Classical night” in the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. M. Balamuralikrishna, Daksha Seth Dance Academy represented by Isha Sarvani,[52][52] Mallika Sarabhai and troupe, Anil Srinivasan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Navin Iyer, Ganesh Kumaresh, S. Sowmya, B.S. Purushothaman,[12][14] Shobana[53] have performed in the previous editions of Saarang.

Popular Night[edit]

Popular Night is hosted at the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. It has live performances by Indian popular music industry. Popular Night has featured artistes like Devi Sri Prasad and Vishal& Shekhar (in the year 2012), Krishnakumar Kunnath, (in the year 2011),[54] the musical trio Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy(in 2010)[55] [56] [57] [58] Sonu Nigam(in 2009),[53][59] Lucky Ali and Karthik (in 2008),[60][61] Sukhwinder Singh (in 2007)[41] and Shaan (in 2004).[62]

ISO 9001:2008[edit]

Saarang got ISO 9001:2008[47] certified in the Saarang 2011 edition.[63]

Past associates and sponsors[edit]

Saarang has attracted sponsorship[64] from various big corporations owing to huge participation from students coming over from various parts of the country and abroad. Some of the companies that have been sponsoring various events of Saarang are Vodafone Essar,[65] Bharti Airtel,[66] Nokia,[67] SBI, Canara Bank, Derby, Wildcraft[10], Durex Jeans, Pepe Jeans, Aircel, INOX, McDonald’s, TATA Tion, isoft,[66] Club Mahindra Holidays. The Public Relation i.e. the media sector of Saarang has witnessed association from several big names like The Hindu, Radio Mirchi, The Week, UTV Bindass, NDTV Hindu,,[68] 160by2, Amadeus global studios],


Saarang is a non-profit organisation managed by the students of IIT Madras.[69]
The organisational structure of Saarang comprises the Core group members(or Cores), Co-ordinators and volunteers. The Cores, 24 in total, lead the various departments of Finance, Publicity, Sponsorship, Events, Design, Hospitality, Facilities and Requirements, Security and QMS (Quality Management System).[70] They are assisted by the co-ordinators(around 200 in number) who are assigned more specific roles.[47] In most cases, the co-ordinators are further assisted by volunteers. the core group is selected before the institute disperses for summer vacation and the co-ordinators are selected about 5 months before Saarang.


  1. ^ "Saarang 2011 web site". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Schedule of Saarang, IIT's mega fest". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 18 January 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Saarang to drive home message of education for all". Times of India. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Saarang connects Madras with Chennai". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 23 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "History of Saarang". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Mardi Gras was a highlight of Chennai’s cultural scene". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 21 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mardi Gras aka Saarang". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Schedule for Saarang, IIT’s mega fest". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 18 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  9. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
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  11. ^ "Woods talk and rock". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 20 January 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d "All set for Saarang 2011". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 25 January 2011. 
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  33. ^ "Mardi Gras was a highlight of Chennai's cultural scene". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 21 January 2009. 
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  35. ^ "Soaring high on the charts". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 26 July 2008. 
  36. ^ a b c "Playing for the mind too". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 26 January 2004. 
  37. ^ "Celebrating team work". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 January 2003. 
  38. ^ "Campus confluence". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 8 January 2004. 
  39. ^ "Saarang continues to rock Chennai". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 24 January 2005. 
  40. ^ a b "IIT officials pull plug on rock show". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 31 January 2006. 
  41. ^ a b "Saarang set to roll on January 25". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 January 2007. 
  42. ^ "Yet another exciting edition of ‘Saarang'". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 14 January 2008. 
  43. ^ "Schedule for Saarang, IIT's mega fest". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 18 January 2009. 
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  47. ^ a b c "Better than before". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 18 January 2011. 
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  50. ^ a b c "Architects To Headline IIT Madras Saarang Rock Show 2014". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  51. ^ "ARCHITECTS – Saarang 2014′s headlining act". Indian Music Mug. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  52. ^ a b "American band to feature in Saarang". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 16 January 2010. 
  53. ^ a b "Saarang is back". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 13 January 2009. 
  54. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (30 January 2011). "Living every ‘pal'". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  55. ^ "Headbangers' night out". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 25 January 2010. 
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  60. ^ "More is definitely better at SAARANG". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 21 January 2008. 
  61. ^ "Brand Saarang gets better". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 January 2008. 
  62. ^ "Celebrating team work". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 January 2003. 
  63. ^ "Saarang 2011 at its best..". 18 January 2011. 
  64. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (17 January 2011). "Better than before". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
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