India is a culturally diverse country, owning various forms of dance and classical music. Konark Dance and Music festival is one such festival in Orissa which showcases all the different kinds of traditional dances which have been a part of our country since ages. This Festival is set amidst the beautiful 700 year old Sun Temple in Konark. The Konark Sun temple in itself is an architectural wonder and a World Heritage site. This temple is architecturally designed representing a chariot Of Lord Surya or the Sun God with twelve wheels. The temple is known for its exquisite carvings of various dance forms. The temple has a huge “Natya Mandir” or the dance hall where this festival is organized every year. The sole aim of this festival is to bring in the renowned national and international artists together at this stunning place and make it a beautiful experience. for all.
The Konark Dance and Music Festival were started in the year 1986 by the eminent Odissi dance guru, late Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. He was also a known as an international mardal player. His main intention behind starting this festival was to bring together the diverse dance and music forms of India on one platform. He chose the venue to be the “Natyamandir” at Konark because the Temple in itself depicts a cultural celebration. The temple walls have been carved with fine artistic designs of the musicians playing drums and various musical instruments, and the poses from the Odissi dance form. The temple is built in such a way that the sounds of drums and flutes reverberate around making it a divine experience. Dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Kathak and Manipuri are performed on the stage by famous artists. Also some tribal and folk dances are performed to motivate the new artists. Multiple music disciplines are also displayed here. In short the Sun temple comes alive once every year as it brings in various artists to create a cultural harmony and brotherhood. The festival celebrated its Silver Jubilee very grandly in the year 2010 making it a memorable celebration.
The Konark Dance and Music Festival are known to be organized by the Orissa Tourism and Odissi Research Centre jointly. It is a four day long cultural festival which is organized usually in the month of December. Every year, the festival is planned to be celebrated from the 19th to 23rd of Februrary. Apart from the Dance and Music, there is also a crafts mela, with a variety of handicrafts sold which adds to the festive mood. Also delicious food is served to the guests during the festival. It is believed that the Konark Dance and Music Festival is a lavish treat to the eyes and the ears, as one can witness the spiritual and aesthetic essence of various cultures. The Festival is not only a platform for the renowned performing artists and dance connoisseurs, but also to the new budding artists who are yet to make their mark.