8/December/2008: Notwithstanding terror attack in Mumbai, hundreds of foreigners witnessed the Konark Festival, a five-day dance extravaganza held in the backdrop of the Black Pagoda.
The festival which came to an end on 8 December, showcasing of six styles of Indian classical dance forms like Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, Kathak and Manipuri, was a success.
One of the best Dance Festival of its kind in the country, the festival of Indian Classical Dances staged on the open-air auditorium in Konark.
With the famous Sun temple as its backdrop, this year it attracted a large chunk of travelers from abroad.
It also lured dance lovers from across the country.
Though there was fear that foreigners might not turn up this time due to terror attack and violence in Kandhamal, the dance lovers from abroad flocked into the open air auditorium as usual, even more in number than the previous years, said an analyst of Orissan festivals.
The Konark Festival usually held 1-5 December every year.
However, the calendar was changed for the 19th Festival in the wake of former Prime Minister V P Singh's demise.
Surendra Nnath Nayak, Minister Agriculture declared the Festival open on 4 December, 2008
Parag Gupta, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the Department of Tourism graced the occasion.
Debasis Samantaray, Chairman OTDC and Rabi Narayan Nanda, Director Tourism were present all along.
Indian classical dances aptly commenced with an ode to the Sun God in Odissi style Surya Mangalacharan presented by Art Vision troupe of Bhubaneswar led by Italian dancer Ileana Citaristi.
Jawarharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy of Imphal, the best known Manipuri dance institution of the nation participated on the inaugural day.
On the second day Padmashree Awardee Kiran Seghal of New Delhi presented her unique style in Odissi ,
while Ananda Shankar Jayant, a leading name in the field of Bharatnatyam enthralled the audience.
Third day saw padmashree Awardee Kumkum Mohanty, Dancer of International repute and her group enchanting the foreigners.
And Mohiniattam was also presented by Kerala Kalamandalam.
On 7 December, Governor Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare lauded Shovana Narayana, an eminent danseuse in Kathak Dance on the performance.
Odissi dance presented by Rudraksha provided an innovation in choreography.
Guru Bichitrananda Swain is leading the Rudrakshya Group.
On 8 December, performance of Kuchipudi by Yashoda Thakur & Group and Odissi by Guru Kelu charan Mahapatra Odissi Research Centre was lauded by the lovers of dance.
Rabi Narayan Nanda, Director Tourism coordinated the entire show.
Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) launched special package tours in order to enable the tourists attend the festival.
The Konark Festival was started by Department of Tourism in 1989.