With the magnificent tower of the historic 13th century temple of the Ganga King Narasingha Deva dedicated to the Sun God as backdrop, the elaborately decorated open air auditorium at Konark (with the road leading to it showcasing the aesthetics of hand crafted lanterns, tomba-s and colourful Pipli umbrellas hung upside down, not to speak of the intricacy of the Rangoli patterns on the floor), once again became the venue for showcasing group productions of Odissi along with other pan-Indian classical dance forms. The Odisha Tourism department has over the years added attractions like the Sand Art Festival at the nearby Chandrabhaga Beach and a Handloom and Handicrafts festival – all built round the main dance event, enhancing the tourist’s interest. Spacing for the audience has been neatly expanded. Another fine improvement was in the Sand Art arena with artists given independent slots near the sea with its rippling waves and plying boats, with the entire walk from exhibit to exhibit carpeted, and the visitor spared the cumbersome ploughing through mounds of sand. Given its glorious sunrise behind the sea, and attractions of hawkers selling their ware, Chandrabhaga beach was a daily crowd puller.
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