BHUBANESWAR: Orissa’s internationally acclaimed sand sculptor Sudarsan Patnaik has been invited by the Union Tourism Ministry to act as its brand ambassador. Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni announced this after Mr. Sudarsan called on the Minister in New Delhi on Monday.

The Ministry awarded the prestigious National Tourism Award on him in 2006 for most innovative tourism promotion project.

“I feel honoured on being appointed brand ambassador for my country to promote tourism. I shall try to promote India’s prominent heritage sites through my sand sculptures in various international events,” Sudarsan told The Hindu. His series of sculptures of the Taj Mahal exhibited worldwide had already arrested international attention for this one of the former Seven Wonders of the World.

Sand art park

While the master sculptor’s dream project of setting up the world’s largest sand art park on the Puri beach in his home State is yet to be realised for lack of required land despite Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s announcement, the Centre has come forward to support him in realising the dream. O

On being aware of Mr. Sudarsan’s plans, the Minister assured him that she would take up the matter with the Orissa Chief Minister to provide him five acres of land. The Centre would provide financial assistance for the project, she stated.