Konark Dance Festival
Konark, 35 km to the north-east of Puri, Odisha is a small town lying on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Konark houses one of the most sought after World Heritage Sites in India the 13th Century Sun Temple or the Black Pagoda which is further enhancing India’s cultural affluence. Every year from 19th to 23rd February a magnificent dance festival is held on the backdrop of this Sun Temple. The festival is named Konark Dance Festival and is one of the most popular cultural festivals in India.
Konark Dance & Music Festival started its cultural journey in 1986 at the Konark Natya Mandap by Padmashree Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, the founder-Director of the Mandap. It is now organized by this Mandap with the association with Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata and Guru Gangadhar Pradhan’s Odisha Dance Academy. The festival is a union of classical dance and music with its modern counterparts. Konark Dance Festival aims to fetch together as many performing artists as possible to this cultural feast. The festival acts as an amalgamation of both the eminent and tyro artists of the country.
Konark Dance festival takes place in the open air auditorium constructed just in front of the delicate ‘Dancing Hall’ called ‘Salamandar’ of the temple. The hall itself is a piece of artistic and architectural marvel immortalized as numerous embodiments of wonderful motifs and designs. Girls dancing, musicians playing drums, flutes and other instruments etc were embellished in the walls of the hall. The subtle poses of Odissi dance augment the sheer beauty of the temple in many folds. Konark Dance Festival celebrates the magical carnival of Indian classical dance and music forms from all over the country.
Besides the indigenous Odissi dance, this five-day festival also showcases Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathakali, Sattriya, Gaudiya Nritya and other major classical dance forms. But apart from the eye striking dance shows, Konark Festival hosts Indian classical music performances and instrumental concerts of flute, table, sarangi, drum etc. as well.
The festival is also dedicated to promote and exhibit the traditional folk and tribal forms of dance and drama. Chhau from Bengal, Yakshagana from Karnataka, Gotipua dance from Odissa and many more like these are given the same preferences as the classical forms. At the same time the festival also becomes a living workshop of several other forms of arts and crafts. The daily exhibitions of the famous sand art from Orissa, Puppets from Rajasthan and paintings by well-known artists attract the tourists in a large number.
Konark Dance Festival gets the financial aids from the Government of India and it adds a great value to the tourism sector in the state of Odisha. Thousands of tourists flock together in Konark every year during this time to witness this splendid festival of artistic expressions at the most beautiful backdrop. The Season Entry passes are available at a cost of Rs. 400/- each. Visitors can also buy tickets on per day basis.
Konark is well connected to the main cities of Orissa and the other big cities of the country. The nearest airport of Konark is Bhubaneshwar which is a mere 64 km far from the city. The nearest railway stations are Puri (35 km in marine) and Bhubaneshwar (65 km away). Trains from all over the country are available from these stations.
Approaching Konark is also possible on road through Puri which is 85 km far via Pipli and from Bhubaneshwar, the distance of Konark is 65 km. Regular bus service is also available from Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar and Puri. Cozy tourist buses from the popular tourist destination Puri could be a very good mode of commutation. The road condition is extremely well which makes the road journey very comfortable. And for the internal transport, the visitors can take the auto rickshaws and the cycle rickshaws available all over the town.
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