PURI: The 34th edition of the renowned International Konark Dance Festival commenced against the stunning backdrop of the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha's captivating Puri district on Friday. Marking its grand inauguration, this five-day extravaganza is esteemed as one of Odisha's premier dance celebrations, customarily taking place from December 1st to 5th annually.
Set within the majestic 'Salamander' or 'dancing hall' of the historic shrine, a marvel of architectural brilliance, every nook and cranny of its walls bears intricate artistic designs harking back to ancient times. This festival serves as a vibrant platform, spotlighting India's rich tapestry of traditional and classical dance forms while illuminating the cultural legacy of the nation.
The venue comes alive with the melodious tunes of drums, cymbals, and an array of musical instruments, embellishing the sculptures in elegant Odissi dance postures. Esteemed dancers from across India grace this event, enriching it with their performances.
Since its inception in 1986, the festival has been a collaborative effort between Odisha Tourism and the Odissi Research Centre, aimed at not only showcasing the diverse Indian dance heritage but also promoting the splendor of the Konark Temple and Odisha as a thriving tourist destination.
Simultaneously, the International Sand Art Festival unfolds in Puri during this period, celebrating the ingenuity of skilled sand artists who craft mesmerizing sculptures using sand, stone, bronze, or wood.
This unique Sand Artist Festival spotlights the awe-inspiring creations of talented artists from India and various other nations. Konark, nestled within Odisha's Puri district along the Bay of Bengal coast and located 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the state capital, is renowned for its 13th-century Sun Temple, famously referred to as the Black Pagoda. Constructed during the reign of Narasimhadeva-I, a notable ruler of the Ganga Dynasty, this architectural marvel stands as a testament to India's rich historical heritage.