Konark: the 34th edition of the Konark Festival and the 13th International Sand Art Festival, the Department of Tourism’s flagship events, were virtually inaugurated today by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
In a video message, the Chief Minister welcomed everyone to the open-air auditorium within the premises of the 13th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the majestic Sun Temple serving as a backdrop, he expressed anticipation for the enchanting Odissi and other classical dance performances by accomplished artists from India and around the world.
As part of the inaugural ceremony, Minister of Tourism Aswini Patra and Minister of Electronics & IT, Sports & Youth Services, and Home Tusharkanti Behera graced the event as guests, participating in the ceremonial lamp lighting. The five-day program is organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha, in collaboration with Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi (OSNA) and Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC).
Known for showcasing India’s cultural richness through diverse classical dance forms, the inaugural show featured an Odissi performance by Soor Mandir – Jyotsnarani Sahoo & Group from Cuttack. The performance included Odissi dance recitals like NAAD NINAAD, invoking Lord Jagannath and Lord Surya, and SARANAM, symbolizing the power of surrendering to the Lord.
Following this, there was a captivating Bharatnatyam performance by Praveen Kumar and the group from Chithkala School of Academy in Bengaluru. Their dance recitals, JATHISWARAM, SHIVANJALI, and THILLANA, showcased pure dance sequences, a composition on Lord Nataraja, and a fitting finale to Bharatnatyam with intricate footwork and graceful poses, concluding with a benediction to Lord Krishna.
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Simultaneously, over the course of five days, Chandrabhaga Beach will host thematic sand arts by 114 renowned artists globally, including six international artists from Australia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Belarus, the USA, and Sri Lanka, alongside national artists from Odisha and seven other Indian states.
Minister Tusharkanti Behera graced the 13th International Sand Art Festival 2023. The live streaming of the dance festival is available on Odisha Tourism’s social media handles and will be broadcasted live on DD Bharati from 1st to 5th December to reach a wider audience.