Konark Festival 2021 Enthralls Lovers Of Indian Classical Dance; International Sand Art Festival 2021 inaugurated

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Konark: ‘Konark Festival’-2021, the five-day Indian classical dance extravaganza was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik at Konarkhere on Wednesday.

Minister of School & Mass Education Shri Samir Ranjan Das, Minister of Tourism and Odia Language & Culture Shri Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister of Electronic & IT, Sports & Youth Services Shri Tusharkanti Behera as honorable guests of the event lit the ceremonial lamp as part of the inaugural ceremony. The five-day programme is organised by Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha in association with Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi and Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).

Organised every year from 1st to 5thDecember since 1986 at the open-air auditorium with the backdrop of the iconic Konark Sun Temple, the festival serves as a platform for renowned classical dancers in India to showcase India’s cultural depth through various dance forms including Odissi, Kathak, Satriya, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, and Kuchipudi among others.

The inaugural show witnessed Odissi performance by Madhavi Mudgal & Group led by Odissi exponent Padma Shri Madhavi Mudgal from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi. The performances showcased Odissi dance recitals on Nartan Ganesh, Pallavi, Abhinaya and Trayi. This was followed by Kathak performance by Vaswati Mishra & groupof ‘Dhwani’ from Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. Panchakshar, Rasamanjari, Nayika – Three Parables and Taraana are the four Kathak dance recitals performed during the event.

Simultaneously during these five days, the pristine Chandrabhaga Beach witnesses renowned sandartists competing to sculpt unique creations.The International Sand Art Festival 2021 was inaugurated earlier in the day by Minister of School & Mass Education Shri Samir Ranjan Das, Minister of Tourism and Odia Language & Culture Shri Jyoti Prakash Panigrah, Minister of Electronic & IT, Sports & Youth Services Shri Tusharkanti Behera and noted Sand Artist Padma Shri Sudarshan Patnaik.

This year 100 artisans are participating in the event which includes artists from Odisha and 9 other Indian states including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The theme for the inaugural day was Culture and Monuments on which various enchanting sand sculptures were created.

Both the festivalsare organised in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols with measures being taken for efficient crowd control including reducing the seating capacity to one-third at Konark Festival. LED screens have been installed at Konark, Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack for live screening of the dance festival apart from telecasting it live on DD Bharati, DD Odia and on the social media handles of Odisha Tourism in a bid to reach wider audience.

The festivals were attended by Chief Advisor to Chief Minister Shri R. Balakrishnan, Director Tourism Shri Sachin R. Jadhav, President Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Smt. Aruna Mohanty, Superintendent Archaeologist, ASI Shri Arun Malik and Chief Executive GKCMORC Dr. Sangita Gosain among other government officials.