“Konark Festival is a unique event which is going on for more than 20 years now. It is one of the best programmes for the Classical Dance Art form where artistes from all over the country aspire to perform. This time around we have invited two groups from Malaysia who would perform Odissi and Bharatanatyam for the audience. Further we intend to invite artists who practice Indian Classical Dance from all over the world to perform here.” mentioned Dr. Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Odisha.

In a conversation with OdishaLIVE on the sidelines of the Konark Festival 2017 organised by Odisha Tourism, she heaps praise on Konark by saying “We are very proud that Konark is recognised as a World Heritage Site and anyone who visits Odisha surely visits Puri and Konark en route. We have recently started a light sound show at Konark for visitors to spend more time here.”

She informs of the administration’s plans to build infrastructure for visiting tourists. “The nearby Chandrabhaga beach is a beautiful place. The sunrise at Konark is a treat to the eye and we are trying to put up facilities for travellers to spend more time at Konark” she adds.

“An added attraction to the Konark Festival is the International Sand Art Festival at Chandrabhaga Beach organised by us since 2011. It is a major crowd puller to Konark with peak visits during holidays. This year saw participants from more than 6 states and 8 foreign countries apart from local sand artists making amazing sand sculptures on themes like Eco Tourism, Buddhist Heritage, World heritage among others” she informs.

Dr. Mona Sharma further informs “apart from Konark Festival and International Sand Art Festival, we also organise the Mukteswar Dance Festival, The Rajarani Music Festival, Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav on a yearly basis.”

“The experience this year has been phenomenal and we have got positive feedback from all stakeholders involved. We keep trying to scale up and organise such events in a bigger manner and I hope next year we will do better than today” she signs off.