The tiny town of Konark – famed for the world heritage site of the Sun temple - is gearing up for the special silver jubilee celebration of the Konark dance and music festival commencing on Friday.

Being hosted by well-known Odissi Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, a much revered name in the cultural circuits of the Nation, the festival would be mounted on the specially built up Konark Natya Mandap that replicates the Konark temple. “Being the silver jubilee year, the festival this year would be for five days instead of the usual three-day affair,” Guru Gangadhar told this newspaper. Sangeet Natak Akademi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of Culture, SPICMACAY, Ministry of Tourism, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre and Government of Orissa are supporting the mega event besides several corporate bodies, he acknowledged.

The festival would feature some of the star artistes of the Nation in the field of dance. And there would also be several established artistes and troupes, the Guru said. The artistes and troupe leaders include Carnatic vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna, Veena exponent Viswa Mohan Bhatt, Odissi music exponent Guru Ramahari Das, Odissi dancers Sujata Mohapatra, Ramli Ibrahim (Malayasia), Ileana Citaristi and Meera Das; Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanti Kashi from Bengaluru, Sattriya exponent Anita Sharma from Guwahati, Mohini Attam dancer Mandakini Trivedi from Mumbai, Kathak exponent Pandit Arjun Mishra from Lucknow and Bharatnatyam dancer Divyasena from Chennai. The music segment also includes solo tabla, sitar and sehnai recitals.

Classical dance and music apart, the festival also features Chhow, Gotipua and Kalari Payattu dances besides Orissa’s traditional theatre, Guru Gangadhar elaborated. An exhibition of Orissa’s handicrafts and a literary festival will also be mounted to mark the occasion, he added.

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