The five-day classical Indian dance performance, Konark Festival 2021, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Konark on Wednesday. Held every year between December 1 and 5 since 1986 at the open-air auditorium with the iconic Konark Sun Temple as a backdrop, the festival serves as a platform for renowned classical dancers in India to showcase value the cultural depth of India through various dance forms including Odissi, Kathak, Satriya, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi among others.
Minister of Schools and Mass Education Samir Ranjan Das, Minister of Tourism and Odia Language and Culture Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi and Minister of Electronics and IT, Sports and Tusharkanti Behera Youth Services as honored guests of the event lit the ceremonial lamp as part of the inaugural ceremony. The five-day program is organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha in association with the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).
The inaugural show saw Odissi performance by Madhavi Mudgal & Group led by Odissi exponent Padma Shri Madhavi Mudgal from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi. The performances featured Odissi dance recitals on Nartan Ganesh, Pallavi, Abhinaya and Trayi. This was followed by a Kathak performance by Vaswati Mishra and a group of ‘Dhwani’ from Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. Panchakshar, Rasamanjari, Nayika – Three Parables and Taraana are the four Kathak dance recitals presented during the event.
Simultaneously during these five days, the pristine beach of Chandrabhaga sees renowned sand artists compete to sculpt unique creations. The 2021 International Sand Art Festival was inaugurated earlier today by Samir Ranjan Das, Jyoti Prakash Panigrah, Tusharkanti Behera and renowned 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 festivals are held in strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols with measures taken for effective crowd control, including reducing the number of seats to one-third at Konark Festival. LED screens have been installed in Konark, Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack for live projection of the dance festival besides broadcasting it live on DD Bharati, DD Odia and Odisha Tourism social media with the aim of reach a wider audience.
The festival was attended by Chief Adviser to the Chief Minister R Balakrishnan, Director of Tourism Sachin R Jadhav, President Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Aruna Mohanty, Superintendent Archaeologist (ASI) Arun Malik and Director General of GKCMORC Dr. Sangita Gosain, among other government officials.