Friday, 13 December 2019

Thirty years of dance serenading Konark's Surya Deva - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Undeterred by years of choppy sea winds steadily weathering its stone carvings, Konark Temple stands as an architectural poem of unparalleled magnificence in salutation to the Sun God. The Konark Festival of Dance, with a massive open air stage overlooking the tiers of the Mahamandapa (the only part of the temple fully intact) in the distant backdrop, initiated by the Odissi Research Centre as a small beginning in 1969, has grown into a mammoth event held under the auspices of Odisha Tourism Department and the State Sangeet Natak Akademi, attracting tourists from all areas. With Chinese lanterns and tombas hanging from trees and buildings, and Pant Niwas lit up, the small township has a buzz, looking decked for a wedding. Walking through illuminated gardens and pathway decorated with large Rangoli patterns, one reaches the open-air auditorium with a seating capacity of 5000, which not infrequently, is filled to near capacity watching the dances.

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