Take a Break in Konark
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.