Bhubaneswar: Odisha Tourism’s top three flagship events were inaugurated today by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
During the day, the 4th edition Eco Retreat Odisha was inaugurated in six locations viz., Putsil, Sonapur, Satkosia, Bhitarkanika, Hirakud and Daringbadi. This was followed by the inauguration of the 12th edition of International Sand Art Festival and 33rd edition of Konark Festival during the evening.
Patnaik gave a virtual address highlighting Odisha’s expertise in Responsible Tourism initiatives during the inaugural ceremony of Eco Retreat.
“After having consecutively and successfully organised three editions, Odisha Government’s flagship product Eco Retreat has been highly appreciated by the travel and tourism fraternity for its environmentally sustainable model incorporating best practices in material utilisation and holistic waste management while offering tourists a more refined leisure hospitality akin to star category resorts. I’m sure that the Eco Retreats this year will act a gateway for tourists to explore the best of Odisha’s tourism and hospitality landscape”, he said.
Organised every year from 1st to 5th December since 1989, the 33rd edition of Konark Festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister on a virtual mode today.
“I welcome everyone to this beautiful open-air auditorium in the premises of this 13th century UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the Sun Temple acting as the grand backdrop for the stage, together we’ll witness the beauty of Indian classical dance performances by several prolific artistes from India and across the globe,” he said.
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).
Renowned as a platform that showcases India’s cultural depth through various classical dance forms, the inaugural show witnessed Odissi performance by Datuk Ramli Ibrahim & Group of Sutra Foundation, Malaysia. Led by accomplished classical dancer Shri Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, the maiden performance of the evening showcased Odissi dance recitals on Jaya Ram – Homage to Rama, Hero of the Ramayana-Mangalacharan-Shri Rama Dhyana, Sthai, Sita Swayambar and Remembering Rama.
Conceptualised and choreographed by Guru Gajendra Kumar Panda and Shri Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, the performance was based on music composition by Guru Gajendra Kumar Panda, Pt. Gopal Chandra Panda, Guru Satchidananda Das and Sangita Panda. This was followed by Kathak performance by Rajendra Gangani & group of Guru Kundanlal Gangani Foundation from New Delhi who showcased a Kathak dance recital named Chhand-Laya-Gati.
Simultaneously during these five days, the pristine Chandrabhaga Beach witnesses renowned sand artists competing to sculpt unique creations. The International Sand Art Festival 2022 was inaugurated by Tourism Minister Aswini Kumar Patra, Minister of Electronic & IT, Tusharkanti Behera.
This year, 103 artisans are participating in the event which includes five international artists from Spain, Singapore, Russia, Canada and Japan apart from national artists from Odisha and 9 other Indian states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. The theme for the inaugural day was Tourism and Culture on which various enchanting sand sculptures were created.
The live screening of the dance festival has been made available on the social media handles of Odisha Tourism apart from telecasting it live on DD Bharati and DD Odia in a bid to reach wider audience.