Apart from the literary evidence for the popularity of Bharata’s karanas, the dance sculptures in the temples of Tamilnadu prove beyond doubt that the Tamils took great pains in preserving Bharata’s style. Just as the earliest extant literature on karanas is the Natya Sastra, the earliest extant visual representation of these are found in the Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore. The credit of identifying them as Bharata’s karanas goes to Dr. T. N. Ramachandran, the eminent archeologist. When the Chola king Rajaraja built the Tanjore temple in the beginning of the 11th century, dance art enjoyed such a high status in society that he had the karana figures chiselled as sculptures in the first tier of the Vimana.
(‘The Role of Dance Sculptures in Tamilnadu,’ Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, in paper presented at Second International Conference Seminar of Tamil Studies, Chennai, 1968)

Dancing was a well developed and systematized art even in the time of the early Puranas. It was held in such high esteem that there is a story in the Vishnudharmottara Purana (4th to 5th c AD) the burden of which is that to be a good sculptor or carver, it is necessary first to have a thorough grasp of painting and to be a good painter, it is equally necessary first to acquire mastery of dancing.
(‘Traditions of Indian Classical dance,’ Mohan Khokar, 1979, Chapter ‘Down the centuries’)

Majauli, the largest inhabited river island in the world is at the centre of Vaishnavite culture in Assam. The Sattriya movement that began in the early 16th century had its golden period around mid 17th century. The large sattras of Majauli are of this period: Bengenaati (1626), Garmur (1650), Auniati (1653), Dakshinpat (1662), and Uttar Kamalabari (1673). Of its 65 sattras, only 31 remain.
(‘Srimanta Sankaradeva: Vaishnava Saint of Assam’, Dr. Bimal Phuken, p 79)

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