Rashmi Rekha Das

The five-day Konark Dance Festival kicked off with the breathtaking Odissi and Kathak dance performances on Thursday. The festival has been organized after a gap of two years due to Covid restrictions. Like every year, it was organized at the open-air auditorium in the backdrop of magnificent Sun Temple in Konark.

A joint venture of Odisha Tourism and the Odissi Research Centre, the festival was inaugurated by the Tourism Minister Aswini Kumar Patra. Apart from Patra, Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera was present on the first day of the dance festival.

Konark Festival is conceived as the carnival of classical dances of Odisha and it serves as a platform for renowned classical dancers in India to showcase India’s cultural depth through various dance forms including Odissi, Kathak, Satriya, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, and Kuchipudi among others.

Besides, the annual Konark Festival is organized every year to honour skilled musicians, who are damn good at reciting tones and hymns from different genres using different instruments.

On the first day of the dance carnival, danseuse Guru Ramli Ibrahim and his troupe enthralled audience with their Odissi dance performance. They staged Ram Leela which earned applause from audience. 

Later, Kathak performance by Rajendra Gangani and his group from New Delhi-based Guru Kundanlal Gangani Foundation mesmerized the visitors.

International sand art festival was also inaugurated on this occasion. A few distance away from the festival venue, the pristine Chandrabhaga beach in Konark also witnessed renowned sand artistes from across the globe sculpting unique creations on beach.

That’s not all. A craft fair is also held at the Urban Haat which adds zing to the extravaganza.

“Malaysia is a multicultural country. We have Muslims, Chinese, Indians and people belonging to different religions in our country. Indian culture is very strong in Malaysia. Ramayana is something new to us. However, performing at Konark Festival is a huge blessing for me.  I performed here for the third time. I am blessed to be a part of the fest. There will always be a sense of gratitude to perform here,” says an Odissi dancer from Malaysia.

 “Well, it was first time for me to watch Konark Festival. It was a wonderful experience to see the Odissi dance presentation by Ramli Ibrahim and his troupe. I really felt great to be here and enjoyed the cultural programme to the fullest”, said a visitor.

“Though I don’t belong to Odissa, I have been here for last 10 years. I always ensure to come to the festival and enjoy the classical dance performances”, said a visitor who is a native of Jharkhand.