Odisha’s Puri district hosts classical dance, international sand art festivals
A classical dance festival in the precincts of the majestic Sun Temple in Konark and an international sand art event have begun in Odisha’s Puri district. The five-day Konark Festival, virtually inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday, is being organised by the state tourism department in association with Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi and OTDC, an official release said.
The inaugural show witnessed a performance by acclaimed Odissi exponent Madhavi Mudgal and her group. It was followed by a Kathak performance by the Dhwani group of Lucknow ‘gharana’ led by Vaswati Mishra. The programme serves as a platform for classical dancers to showcase the country’s culture through dance forms like Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Sattriya, Mohiniyattam, and Kathak, among others.
The Konark Festival is organised every year since 1986 at the open-air auditorium against the backdrop of the 13th century CE Sun temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Barely 3.5 km from the monument, sand artists from across the world have assembled to sculpt their unique creations on the Chandrabhaga beach at the International Sand Art Festival, 2021.
The event was launched by state Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, ministers Samir Ranjan Das and Tusharkanti Behera, and sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik on Wednesday. The International Sand Art Festival will witness the participation of 100 artisans from 10 states, including Odisha, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.
The artists are required to change their creations every day according to the theme to be provided by the organisers, the release said. Both the festivals are being organised in strict adherence to Covid protocols. Measures like reducing the seating capacity to one-third at the Konark Festival have been taken for efficient crowd control.
LED screens have been put up at Konark, Puri, Bhubaneswar, and Cuttack for a live screening of the dance festival, apart from telecasting it live on DD Bharati – a channel dedicated to art and culture – and DD Odia. The social media handles of Odisha Tourism are also showing the fest to reach a wider audience.