Twin fests to draw tourists

Come December, the state will see a huge rush of tourists from around the world.

By Bibhuti Barik in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 30.11.15
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Tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda (third from left) releases a poster of the upcoming Konark festival at a press conference in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 29: Come December, the state will see a huge rush of tourists from around the world.

To kick-start the tourist season, the state government is organising the Konark Dance Festival and International Sand Art Festival simultaneously from December 1 to 5.

The dance festival will be held at an exquisite open-air auditorium with the magnificent Sun Temple forming the backdrop. The sand art festival, on the other hand, will be held on the beautiful Chandrabhaga beach, around two kilometres from Konark.

Tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda said: "The dance festival will showcase Odissi, Manipuri, Satriya, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Kathak. Ten highly acclaimed danseuses have confirmed their participation in the event, and the list includes well-known performers such as Jatin Goswami, Vyjayanthi Kashi, Rajashree Shirke and others.''

Panda added that the sand art festival, which has created a niche among all such contemporary events across the world, would see five solo artists, each from the US, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Ghana, along with Indian artists. There will be 35 kiosks at the festival, of which 30 will be by national artists.

Brand ambassador of the sand art event Sudarsan Patnaik said: "The sand art festival will have different themes on each of the five days. They are climate change and global warming, heritage, Swachh Bharat, unity in diversity and world peace.''

Patnaik said that there would be different categories at the sand art festival such as solo, double, women and differently-abled and awards would be given to winners under these different categories. The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) will sponsor the stay of the participants.

The tourism department will open four counters at the sand art festival. While one counter will help tourists on travel-related matters, the other three will be for providing first aid, fire service and police assistance. Two selfie counters will also be available for tourists at the festival.

The OTDC has also designed special tour packages for interested visitors.

The two festivals attract huge footfall every year.

Well-known tour operator and adviser Srikanta Mishra said: "The first 40km-long Konark Cyclothon, which started today, could have been packaged with the dance and sand art festivals to attract more tourists and to spread messages on better and greener environment. The state government should also start a huge international campaign to popularise these three events."