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Dance and sand art to light up Konark

- State gets set for two cultural events

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 30: The 700-year-old Konark temple will reverberate with ankle bells of dancers from all over the country during the 23rd edition of the national Konark Festival that begins tomorrow.

Konark will also host the second edition of the International Sand Art Festival from December 1 to 5. Odisha tourism has made elaborate arrangements for the festivals that attract hundreds of tourists.

Classical dancers will perform before the backdrop of the Sun Temple throughout the five-day dance fest. The event, one of the most anticipated in the country’s cultural calendar, will be given a fitting inauguration with the performance of renowned Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal’s and her troupe. Kuchipudi exponent Guru Raja Reddy will also present his recital on the opening evening.

The next four days, visitors can enjoy performances by Mohiniattam danseuse Bharati Shivaji, Bharatnatyam by Mallika Sarabhai, Amita Sharma’s Sattriya, Kathak by Malabika Mitra and Odissi by Meera Das, Kasturi Patnaik, Surupa Sen and the troupes from Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre and Utkal University of Culture.

Painter Baladev Moharatha will etch the stage performances impromptu on all five days.

The price of the entry passes have been increased this year, said tourism officials.

“The pass for five days used to cost Rs 200, but now visitors will have to shell out Rs 400. The price of the main gallery pass has been raised from Rs 50 to Rs 100 and the side gallery pass that was Rs 10 last year, will cost Rs 15 now,” said an official. “The festival is being conducted with a budget of Rs 38 lakh,” he said.

The sand art festival hosted at the Chandrabhaga beach of Konark is open to all. Ten sand sculptors have created their works over the last three days. These sculptures will be open for public viewing from tomorrow.

Also, a national-level competition will begin tomorrow for which artists from Maharashtra and Odisha will create sand art sculptures.