Konark Dance Festival
Konark, also known as Arka-Tirtha, is
known for its temple of Lord Surya (Sun). Situated on the shores of
the river Chandrabhaga, this architectural splendour gears up in the
winter to rejoice the Konark Dance Festival.
¤ History of the Dance Festival
Konark festival was first organized in 1989 at the Open Air
Auditorium, Konark. Conceived as a festival of classical dances of
India, the main idea to patronize the dance festival was to promote
Konark and hence Orrisa, as a place of tourist destination. The fiesta
is a joint effort by Orrisa Dance Academy and Eastern Zonal Cultural
Center, Kolkata to bolster Indian Classical Art in the global market.
¤ A Five Day Long Classical Feat
Initially during the years 1989 and 1990, the festival was being
organized for a period of 3 days. Later, as the glory of the festival
climbed to its summit, the span was extended further to five days. The
classical extravaganza invites aficionados from all over the country
and includes dance presentations such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi,
Manipuri, Chau and revitalization of ancient dance forms like "
Abhinaya Chandrika"- an opulent jubilee that will surely leave
you bedazzled. A regalia of gold-stringed rhythms synchronized with
musical instruments, fine cocktails of Art & Craft, this complete
package of five days held during the 1st week of December, leaves its
impression on the minds of every traveller.
¤ The Dance Colosseum
The ethereal Natyamandapa (Dancing hall) of this 700 years old shrine
is a architectural incredulity in itself. Although partly in ruins,
its colossal size, exquisite stone carvings executed with masterly
touch and the diversity of themes, simply takes one's breath away. The
Natyamandira greets everyone wholeheartedly, with two fierce-looking
lions, one on each side of the steps and elephants sitting atop
writhing men. It is said that, the lion signifies power, the elephant
connotes wealth and man stands for justice. Conjointly, the walls of
the Natyamandira are also beautifully carved with interesting visions.
There are thousands of images of deities, celestial bodies, musicians,
dancers, lovers, military battles and courtly leisures, elegantly
engraved on the northern, western and southern facades of the temple.
¤ And the Gala Continues
Another attraction of the festival is the Craft Mela and Handicraft
Exhibition. Organized by the State Industry Department since 1991,
this fair boasts of trendy handicrafts, artists camps, rural handlooms
and potteries, where skilled artisans and craftsman display their
dexterity in a rural setting.
¤ How to Get There
Konark is located 65 km from Bhubaneswar and 35 km north of Puri on
Marine Drive, right next to the ocean. There are regular State
Government and private buses to and fro from Puri, that take about an
hour. It takes around 2-4 hours from Bhubaneswar, with a change of
buses at Pipli. Secondly, there are daily tour buses that goes to
Konark from Puri and Bhubaneswar (Tues to Sat). Besides, you can also
hire a taxi or other private cars from Puri.