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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. It is a five-day long event held usually in the second week of January every year and is attended by approximately 50,000 students from colleges across South India. Saarang is very popular among college students and Chennai localites alike because of the wide variety of cultural events (music and dance shows), celebrities and competitions it hosts.

Saarang is an entirely non-profit organisation run by the students of IIT Madras.The organisational structure of Saarang comprises the Core group members (or Cores), and Co-ordinators. The Cores head the various departments of Finance, Publicity, Sponsorship, Events, Design, Hospitality, Facilities and Requirements, Security and QMS (Quality Management System).They are assisted by the co-ordinators (around 200 in number) who are assigned more specific work.

Saarang's Core Member Team, 2015


In the early 1970s, a "cultural week" festival was held.[2]

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.[3]


Saarang hosts a wide variety of competitions in the fields of fine arts, oratory, quizzing, music, dance and much more. Apart from competitive events, Saarang also conducts workshops in painting, dance, DJing, beat-boxing etc. Every year, Saarang is witness to professional shows of rock and popular music, and classical dance, and lectures and demonstrations by eminent personalities. People come from across the country to showcase their talents and participate in the numerous competitions held every year, but also be a spectator to the sheer variety of activity, which included street performers, adventure zone activities (like zorbing) and cultural shows in music by artistes from every part of the world.

Students put a performance at Choreo

Lectures and demonstrations[edit]

Kiran Bedi talks to students as part of Lectures and Demonstrations at Saarang, IIT Madras

Saarang has observed a wide range of personalities present lectures and conduct demonstrations during the event and as a part of Pre-Saarang activities. “Spotlight”, a concept in the previous editions of Saarang was a platform for famous and notable persons from various fields to address the audience and hold interactive sessions with them. Past speakers to have featured in Saarang include Dr. Shashi Tharoor,Kamal Hassan, Shriya Saran, Manu Joseph, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahesh Dattani, Leela Samson, Leander Paes, Kiran Bedi, Anita Rathnam, Ira Trivedi, and R. Balakrishnan.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui at Saarang's Lectures and Demonstrations


Competitive events are held throughout Saarang and registration begins in December through their website. There are events in every field of art, dance, music, apart from literary events and group events like Scavenger Hunt. There are also informal stalls set up every day for spectators to participate in many small events.

IIT students perform at Choreo Nite

Quizzes at Saarang are a huge attraction, and attract the best college quizzers from across the country. Five quizzes – Nature Quiz, Buzzer Quiz, India Quiz, Sports and Entertainment (SpEnt) Quiz, and the Lone-Wolf Quiz are conducted as a part of Saarang every year. Word Games features events like Crossword, Scrabble, Spell-Bee, and What’s the Good Word. Writing events are also conducted involving an Online writing competition, and also the shorter “Flash-Fiction” 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.

Mr. & Ms. Saarang 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. Saarang also conducts Panache, a competitive event for aspiring fashion designers.

Panache, Saarang 2014

Saarang organises South India’s most anticipated and rewarding college band-hunts, and is platform for many musicians of great potential. Decibels is a semi-professional band competition in Western Music and the winners get to open the stage for the Rock-Show. Tarang is a similar competition in Indian music. Tarang and Decibels have catapulted bands like Udaan, Slain, Pin Drop Violence and Mother Jane, and Chrome-O-Soul to impressive stature in the Indian music industry.

World Cultural Shows[edit]

The “World Culture Show” (WCS) at Saarang is a platform to showcase culture and talent from around the world and hosts artists from various countries across the world. There are have been many such performances at Saarang, in many kinds of music, like Irish folk, contemporary music, alternative rock, hip-hop and acoustic music. In the past, WCS associated with the Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, Alliance Française de Madras, the Embassy of Israel and the US Consulate, Chennai, among other international organisations in introducing their artistes into Chennai’s cultural scene.

Abaji performs at the World Cultural Show in Saarang

Rock Show[edit]

The Rock Show is a crowd-puller every year because of the unique brand of music it brings to the audience every year. At, Saarang, musicans of international bands of rock, alternative rock, metal and fusion have performed.

Classical Night[edit]

Sonal Mansingh performs at Classical Night

Every year Saarang starts with “Classical night” in the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. Reputed performers of Indian classical music and dance forms inaugurate Saarang at this professional show. M. Balamuralikrishna, Daksha Seth Dance Academy represented by Isha Sarvani,[18][18] Mallika Sarabhai and troupe, Anil Srinivasan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Navin Iyer, Ganesh Kumaresh, S. Sowmya, B.S. Purushothaman, Sonal Mansingh, Shobana[19] have performed in the previous editions of Saarang.

Popular Night[edit]

Salim -Sulaiman perform at Popular Night

Popular Night is hosted at the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras. It features live performances by members of the Bollywood music industry. Popular Night has featured artistes like Devi Sri Prasad and Vishal& Shekhar (in the year 2012), Krishnakumar Kunnath, (in the year 2011),[20] the musical trio Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy(in 2010)[21] [22] [23] [24] Sonu Nigam(in 2009),[19][25] Lucky Ali and Karthik (in 2008),[26][27] Sukhwinder Singh (in 2007),[8] Salim-Sulaiman, Benny Dayal and Shaan (in 2004).[28]

Saarang Eunoia[edit]

Workshop as part of Saarang Eunoia

Eunoia, which is the Greek word to represent ‘fellow feeling’, is the social responsibility wing of Saarang. Every year, student volunteers from IIT conduct workshops in fine arts, dramatics and music for children from less privileged backgrounds, through NGO associations with organisations like MAD and Bhumi. Apart from this, Saarang Eunoia also organises year-long social media and on-ground events centred on a theme. Saarang 2015’s theme is ‘Stand up To Cancer’.

People at the Terry Fox run to raise cancer awareness, at IIT Madras

ISO 9001:2008[edit]

Saarang got ISO 9001:2008[29]

Past associates and sponsors[edit]

Saarang has attracted sponsorship[30] from various established corporations owing to the phenomenal participation of students coming from various parts of the country and abroad. Some of the companies that have been sponsoring various events of Saarang are Max, Vodafone Essar,[31] Bharti Airtel,[32] Nokia,[33] SBI, Canara Bank, Derby, Wildcraft[10], Durex Jeans, Pepe Jeans, Aircel, INOX, McDonald’s, TATA Tion, isoft,[32] Club Mahindra Holidays. The Public Relation i.e. the media sector of Saarang has witnessed association from several big names like the Times of India, The Hindu, Radio Mirchi, The Week, UTV Bindass, NDTV Hindu,,[34] 160by2, Amadeus global studios],


  1. ^ "Saarang 2011 web site". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mardi Gras was a highlight of Chennai’s cultural scene". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 21 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Mardi Gras aka Saarang". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Celebrating team work". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 January 2003. 
  5. ^ name="Campus confluence">"Campus confluence". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 8 January 2004. 
  6. ^ "Saarang continues to rock Chennai". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 24 January 2005. 
  7. ^ a b "IIT officials pull plug on rock show". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 31 January 2006. 
  8. ^ a b "Saarang set to roll on January 25". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 January 2007. 
  9. ^ "Yet another exciting edition of ‘Saarang'". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 14 January 2008. 
  10. ^ "Schedule for Saarang, IIT's mega fest". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 18 January 2009. 
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  16. ^ a b c "Architects To Headline IIT Madras Saarang Rock Show 2014". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "ARCHITECTS – Saarang 2014′s headlining act". Indian Music Mug. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "American band to feature in Saarang". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 16 January 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Saarang is back". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 13 January 2009. 
  20. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (30 January 2011). "Living every ‘pal'". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  21. ^ "Headbangers' night out". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 25 January 2010. 
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  23. ^ "Indiatimes: India News, Business, Movies, Cricket, Shopping, more". The Times Of India. [dead link]
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  25. ^ "Theatre fest new element in IIT-M". The Times Of India. 21 January 2009. 
  26. ^ "More is definitely better at SAARANG". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 21 January 2008. 
  27. ^ "Brand Saarang gets better". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 January 2008. 
  28. ^ "Celebrating team work". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 January 2003. 
  29. ^ "Saarang 2011 at its best..". 18 January 2011. 
  30. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (17 January 2011). "Better than before". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
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