1st - 5th December
The enthralling Konark Dance Festival is held every year, from 1st to 5th December in Open Air Auditorium, Konark, in the backdrop of the mammoth Sun Temple is co-organised by the Tourism Department and Odissi Research Centre way back in 1989, to provide a platform for classical dancers in India and as well as to act as showcase for India’s cultural depth where dance forms are concerned. It also comes as a right opportunity for the budding artists who are yet to make their presence felt on the international scale.
Conceived as a festival of Classical Dances of India, the objective of Konark Festival was to promote Konark, as well as Odisha as a tourist destination. The Konark Dance Festival showcases the best of the traditional and classical dance forms of India, besides offering interesting insights into the rich cultural and dance heritage of the country like no one else. A solitary splendor par excellence, folklore and mythology have created layers of legends shrouding the genesis of this world heritage monument built in the 13th century A.D.
The leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of almost all main classical dance forms of India-including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kathakali, Kathaka, Kuchipudi and Sattriya take part in the five-day classical dance carnival much adding to the appeal of the event that has few parallels elsewhere. During the Festival, the entire Konark reverberates with the sounds of the Ghungroo Bells, Flute and Pakhawaj. The elegant gestures, sensuous body language, and expressive faces of the dancers enthrall the visitors, especially the dance connoisseurs, no end. No wonder, the Konark Dance Festival is a big hit with the travelers, from both India and abroad. The festival has brought lot of pride to Odisha and has put Konark on the World cultural map and is one of the leading festivals in India.
A wonderful Crafts Mela is held at urban Haat, Konark at the time of the Konark Dance Festival which much adds to the magic of the festival. At the Mela, beautiful sculptures and souvenirs made by the expert craftsmen of the region are displayed and sold. Added with it is a wide array of delectable cuisines making it a perfect venue for a family get together on a holiday or a joyous experience to the tourists
The Sun Temple in Konark is famed as a world heritage site. The exquisite ‘Natyamandir’ or the ‘dancing hall’ of this 700-year old shrine is an architectural wonder with well-adorned sculptures in Odissi dance poses.
Built by Raja Narasimhadeva of the powerful Ganga dynasty in the 13th century, the Sun Temple in Konark represents the chariot of the Sun God, drawn through the heavens by seven celestial horses. As one enters the temple complex, one can see the Jagmohana (Porch) and the tower situated atop the stone platform supporting the 24 wheels. The walls decorated with a wealth of detail, frescoes and sculptures of gods and goddesses, of apsaras of celestial beauties depict real poetry in stone. It is a perfect backdrop for an equally magnificent celebration like the Konark Dance Festival held here annually. The presence of the Sun Temple adds an old world charm to the festival transporting you to the beginnings of classical dance growing from the temple premises and patronized by the kings of yore.
The International Sand Art Festival is organized at Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark during the same date which attract huge tourists to witness this festival.