13th International Sand Art Festival and 34th Konark Festival inaugurated

Konark: Department of Tourism’s two flagship events 13th International Sand Art Festival and 34th edition of Konark Festival were inaugurated virtually today by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“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 Odissi and other Indian classical dance performances by several prolific artists from India and across the globe,” said the Chief Minister in his video message.

Minister of Tourism Aswini Patra and Minister of Electronics & IT, Sports & Youth Services and Home Tusharkanti Behera as guest 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 (OSNA) 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 Soor Mandir – Jyotsnarani Sahoo & Group, Cuttack. This maiden performance of the evening showcased Odissi dance recitals on NAAD NINAAD, a dance that started with an invocation to Lord Jagannath and Lord Surya with the Surya Mantra followed by SARANAM, a dance that signified the power of surrendering to the Lord.

This was followed by an ethereal Bharatnatyam performance by Praveen Kumar and group of Chithkala School of Academy from Bengaluru. They showcased dance recitals named JATHISWARAM, SHIVANJALI & THILLANA. Jathiswaram was an example of a pure dance or Nritta sequence in which the performer wove several patterns on a basic musical composition. In the beginning a shloka on Sun God was evoked as he is the dispeller of darkness. SHIVANJALI was a composition on Lord Nataraja that described the sheer magnificence of his cosmic dance. THILLANA showcased the fitting finale to any Bharatnatyam dance, which comprised of intricate footwork, graceful poses and was followed by a benediction to Lord Krishna.

Simultaneously during these five days, the pristine Chandrabhaga Beach will witness thematic sand arts by 114 renowned sand artists from across the globe which includes 6 international artists from Australia, Czech Republic, Russia, Belarus, USA and Sri Lanka apart from national artists from Odisha and 7 other Indian states including West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Gujrat, Telangana, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

The 13th International Sand Art Festival 2023 was graced by Minister Tusharkanti Behera.

The live streaming of the dance festival has been made available on the social media handles of Odisha Tourism apart from telecasting it live on DD Bharati in a bid to reach wider audience from 1st – 5th December.