February 14, 2014

International Sand Art Festival, Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark, Odisha

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The Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated about 70 km away from Odisha's sprawling and beautiful capital, 'Temple City' Bhubaneswar. Every winter, around the first week of December, Odisha Tourism organises two conjoined events of great importance in Konark, namely The International Sand Art Festival at Chandrabhaga Beach of Konark and The Konark Dance Festival with the splendid 13th Century Konark Temple as the backdrop of divine Indian classical dance performances.

I had the great fortune of attending the 2012 edition of both these events at Konark which were held from December 1st to 5th. I went on only a single day (2nd December) yet was able to fully immerse myself in the grandeur of these events such that it has remained etched in my mind ever since. This post is dedicated to reliving my International Sand Art Festival experience, and I'll present my Konark Dance Festival experience in an exclusive post, which it rightfully deserves.

I've preserved the fab invite too!
 


An invite to mesmerise the depths of your soul!

Internationally-renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, recently awarded with Padma Shri, has been the Brand Ambassador of this major festival- a congregation of sand artists from around the world. Around 30 sand artists from Japan, France, Korea, Germany, Norway and of course India had put up their exquisite sand arts in a row that day. I was actually dumb-struck as I was seeing sand-art in front of my eyes, LIVE, for the first time in my life! A less-known fact (quoting from the invite) is that: prevalence of sand sculpture in Odisha dates back to the 14th Century. No wonder, the golden sands of Odisha's pristine 450 km coastline surely provide the perfect canvas to build the most breath-taking sand-arts in the world!


I'll let pictures do the talking now! Time to get amazed!

The Monk from Germany!


The Enchantress from Korea


From Norway with Love
The Buddha getting enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree is depicted beautifully here


Seven Wonders of the World are in the making...in sand! :)







A "Globalised" Ganesha is depicted here! Ganapati Bappa Moriya! :D


The crowd only increased as the sun was close to setting! All around me I could hear so many languages of India- Tamil, Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, English & of course Odia! :)

One of the few women sand-artists...she was from Mumbai


One of the Odisha Sand Artists (Dibakara Mallick) had made this calm, serene Buddha Sand Art! Really exquisite!
Front view of the breath-takingly b'ful Buddha Sand Art


The Big Picture~~ 30 grand sand-art exhibits in a row....each telling a different and touching story :)

As evening turned to dusk by the time I reached the end of 30 magnificent exhibits, I could not resist capturing the captivating, pristine, serene Chandrabhaga Beach view...:)


I could not help but notice how exquisite this art-form is, though short-lived. By the time it was dusk, a little sand had started crumbling from some of the arts. My heart's connection had been built with each of the arts and it was a bit sad, yet enrapturing how gravity gave way. The sand was crumbling humbly, ever so slowly...bit by bit, for few of the exhibits. As floodlights came on, the sand-arts looked divine under the glorious night sky twinkling with a myriad stars.

Heading towards the gate and turning back to click a photo, I realised I was completely awed by my first experience of International Sand Art Festival. Hope to make it again and again, as the Festival grows bigger and bigger each year! :D


2013 Edition just passed! Looks grander, doesn't it?! :)


27 comments:

  1. Wow what an amazing experience it must have been! Appreciate the devotion of the artists who pour in their sweat and soul into the work despite knowing it has a short life!

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    1. Thanks a lot Magiceye! :D Yes very true. The satisfaction lies in the art itself- ethereal, sublime...:)

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  2. such lovely sculptures. They serve to remind us that beauty fades, and these lovely artworks will soon be washed away by the waves. But their impression will live on in our minds. thanks for sharing

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    1. You are most welcome Monideepa! :) Actually I had thot of writin this post immediately aftr getting back from the event...yet procrastination had kept this grand post away from U! :P

      Now d nxt few posts r gonna b of Travel, for I've decided to end my procrastinatn further! :D Hope U'll njoy each of dem! :) And yes, beauty is transient...b it in life or in sand...life also passes like sand slipping thru the fingers......

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  3. This post was a genuine eye-opener. Wasn't aware such an event existed ( i am an ignoramus :( ).. Lovely write up.

    Also, that invite was too good! :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Shashwat! Ok so what?! Nw U kno REALLY WELL dat sch an event exists, & U mst make it der from 1st to 5th Dec every year! :D
      Well, praise for the invite shd go 2 @odisha_tourism only! :) And to me only for PRESERVING it safely!

      Thanks for readin n commenting! Appreciate it loads! :D

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  4. Beautiful ans so amazing. I never knew that a festival like this happens. Hats off to the people who make them (how many days do they take to make it?)

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    1. Thanks fr readin n commenting on my post! This fest is organised by Odisha Tourism and sand artists r invited from world over. Prizes r also given to the best arts.:)
      Artists tk several hours to mk each sand sculpture. No wonder it turns out to b so beautiful....

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  5. Really wonderful!
    Such brilliant events of Incredible India must be promoted. Many are not aware that such events take place... Odisha deserves more tourists. Thanks for sharing such breathtaking pics.
    So glad that you didn't procrastinate any longer & presented this for us!

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    1. Thanks a lot Anita! True dat ppl r not aware...thru blogging abt these more ppl can kno & tourists flow will surely increase.
      Ya....stopping to procrastinate is good for me, u n wrld! :D

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  6. Whoa...!!! Amazing art
    Incredible India.. and Sand Fantasy
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  7. Artikel yang sangat menari dan bermanfaat,sukses selalu web nya,sala kenal

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    1. I don't get wat U r saying! Translation plz anybody?!

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  8. Superb.. What lovely pictures.. Amazing talent of these artists.. !!

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    1. Thanks Jyotsna! :) Plz do visit soon!

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  9. Wow! Absolutely awesome Amrita! I don't have words to express my feelings! Only I time I saw a sand art infront of me was also in Odisha. In Toshali Sand resort. It was very small, but marvelous! Wish I can attend this festival atleast once!

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    1. Thanks Sourav! :-D yes nw dat U kno d dates U must book tickets to reach there from Dec 1st to 5th this year! Will b most exhilarating experience of ur life!

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  10. In fact history dates back2 13 th century when Konark temple was being constructed by 1200 sculptors and took 12 yrs2complete In their leisure time sculptors and their families were doing this time pass marvels on sand which is sand art today

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    1. Arey waah! Ya U r suggesting a logical thing here. Maybe written evidence is from 14th century only, as suggested by Odisha Tourism invitation.:) Thanks for your comment.

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  11. We are relaly amazed that India has different culture to provide always. Way to go on coverage!

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    1. Thanks a lot Shutterbugruts! I hope U keep visiting my blog for various perspectives on Indian culture!:-)

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  12. Awesome!!
    Konark enthrals me. Spending few days exploring it is on "things-to-do-before-I-die" list :D
    Such a pity Orissan architectural heritage is royally ignored unless it also serves as place of worship. Case in point, Millennium City with 0 tourist foot falls!! :/

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    1. Thanks Danish! Rightly said indeed. Cuttack has 0 tourists? No there must be some at least!

      I hope more attention is given 2 our monuments & popularising our culture...we are richly endowed with tourism potential yet so less is done..:( Hope things change in 2015....:)

      1 way we can contribute is 2 write blogs about our experiences in different places of Odisha..I am at it! :)

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  13. I really liked your post. Konark temple is a UNESCO World heritage site and is a stunning monument of religious architecture. For people who are planning to visit Bhubaneswar, check out these hotels in Bhubaneswar near railway station.

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