Take a Break in Konark

Micetalk - - CONTENTS -

It rises on the banks of the bois­ter­ous Bay of Ben­gal and forms a mighty sil­hou­ette when seen in the light of the set­ting sun. The ar­chi­tect of the Sun Tem­ple of Konark in­tended to cre­ate an em­bod­i­ment of the might of the pow­er­ful Sun God and he did just that… and that too with per­fec­tion. Gen­er­a­tions of tourists, both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional, have fallen un­der the spell of this char­iot of the Sun God, which seems to be sail­ing across the sky. Ev­ery year, in the month of De­cem­ber, the vicin­ity of this oth­er­wise quiet her­itage site be­comes the cen­tre of ac­tiv­ity, as Konark wel­comes the most tal­ented names in per­form­ing arts, for the Konark Dance fes­ti­val. This is the most per­fect time to plan your break in this part of the coun­try, as MICEtalk finds out.

The stun­ning beauty of the Sun Tem­ple is the in­spi­ra­tion for the Konark Dance Fes­ti­val, which takes place in the first week of De­cem­ber ev­ery year. The fes­ti­val sees the most re­puted names in In­dian clas­si­cal dance and mu­sic take the stage at the open air au­di­to­rium, with the Sun Tem­ple serv­ing as the most per­fect back­drop. It is a feast for the eyes and ears with flood­lights il­lu­mi­nat­ing the place and the sound of ‘Ghun­groos’ (an­klets worn dur­ing a dance per­for­mance), ‘Tablas’ (per­cus­sion in­stru­ments) and other mu­si­cal in­stru­ments re­ver­ber­at­ing against the fan­tas­tic façade of the tem­ple. The mute stones of the Sun Tem­ple, seem to be speak­ing a lan­guage of their own and adding to the mu­si­cal am­bi­ence of the place.

Odissi, Bharat­natyam, Ma­nipuri, Kathak and the Chau are some of the dance forms that have taken cen­trestage, over the years. The slight nip in the air, with the ap­proach­ing win­ter, adds to the sur­real at­mos­phere cre­ated here. The per­for­mances are dra­matic and a per­fect ode to In­dia’s tra­di­tion of per­form­ing arts. The fes­ti­val also in­cludes a Craft Bazaar.

The Konark Fes­ti­val has been a ma­jor at­trac­tion for tourists since its in­cep­tion in the 1980s. Be­ing one of the most iden­ti­fi­able land­marks of the coastal state of Odisha, the Sun Tem­ple of Konark sees a trickle of tourists through the year. But the time of the Konark Dance Fes­ti­val sees the town turn­ing into a cen­tre of per­form­ing arts and an over­whelm­ing rush in the hand­ful of ho­tels avail­able here. If you do take our ad­vice and de­cide to par­take of the fes­tiv­i­ties at this time of the year, it is ad­vis­able to en­sure accommodat­ion for your group months in ad­vance.

Ya­trini­vas and Pan­thani­vas (Odisha Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion) and Trav­ellers Lodge are the best op­tions for accommodat­ion in Konark. There are groups who choose to drive down from the nearby town of Bhubaneswa­r (65 km) and Puri (35 km) in­stead of stay­ing here. The high­ways have good roads and make for com­fort­able jour­neys.

There is a leg­end as­so­ci­ated with the Sun Tem­ple that its dome housed two strong mag­nets that were so strong that they could pull ships out in the sea to the shores of Konark. The Sun Tem­ple to­day at­tracts tourists in much the same way, who can­not help but be drawn to this ar­chi­tec­tural won­der, when they tra­verse this part of the In­dian coast­line.

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