Konark (Odisha): The 31st edition of the Konark Dance Festival began in Odisha's Konark following the COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday.
This festival is organised by the Odisha government's tourism department every year in the backdrop of the famous Sun Temple here.
The event showcases the best of India's traditional and classical dance forms, besides offering interesting insights into the rich cultural heritage of the country.
A solitary splendour par excellence, folklore and mythology have created layers of legends shrouding the genesis of this world heritage monument built in the 13th century AD.
Leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of almost all main classical dance forms of India including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Kathak will take part in the five-day classical dance carnival, adding to the appeal of the event that has few parallels elsewhere.
Odissi dancer Arupa Gayatri Panda told ANI, "The stage of Konark festival provides an opportunity to artists from all over the world. In 2015 I performed here representing the Odisha Dance Academy. The backdrop of the temple provides a unique experience to the audience. Audiences feel that the sculptures inscribed on the temple liven up."
Kameshwari, a Bharatanatyam dancer said, "After March this is the first time that we are performing on a stage. This was a great experience and we are thankful to the organisers for organising this festival."
Padmashree Awardee Odissi Dancer and Odisha Dance Academy Secretary Aruna Mohanty said, "For the first time this festival was open for the public. I thank the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for organising this festival. Things were arranged beautifully despite COVID limitations. This is a dream to be here in Konark and perform. It is wonderful to bring normal life back."