The International Art Festival 2017 at Konark, Odisha

I was fortunate to visit International Sand Festival today with a very close colleague of mine (Rana da) and his family (Bhabi ji and their cute little daughter). We drove from Bhubaneswar to Konark via Puri. There is always a newness about the Puri temple (built in 1162) every time I went there. With each visit to the temple made for Lord Jagannath, his elder brother and younger sister, I come to know little more about the art, culture and interesting mysteries around the temple. So, this time I observed some beautiful paintings on the inner walls of the roof of the sanctum. Some of them were rare patachitra. I always felt that there are so much to know and appreciate about this place.

The 60 km drive from Bhubaneswar to Puri was awesome. After visiting and seeking blessings from Lord Jagannath, we had an incredible lunch at Marwari Basa (Balajee Pure Veg restaurant) near the temple at around 4 pm. Too late, isn’t it? Then without wasting much time there, we drove to Konark through the beautiful marine drive which runs parallel to the east coast of India almost kissing the Bay of Bengal. The trees on either sides, amazing cool breeze, smooth road gave enough comfort to our spines. After travelling 35km, we finally reached the Konark beach. We were astonished to see the way the Konark beach was decorated. There were hustling and bustling of people like never before. It was a celebration. But celebration of what? People came there to witness some of the amazing sand arts presented to us by artists across the world. People came to celebrate the success of Mr. Sudarshan Patnaik, his students and his institute. People came to appreciate this art form which certainly not as old as the one I mentioned earlier (Patachitra). India might not have the best beaches in the world but she always stood out for the Sand art, which has recently mesmerized the people throughout the globe. After many clicks and selfies, we went ahead to taste some of the delicious street food there. The cool temperature around us made the warm food warmer.

It was 7 o’clock in the evening. After bidding adieu to this year’s International Sand Festival, we started our journey back to Bhubaneswar. It took us almost two hours to reach Rana da’s home where I ended this memorable day with a hot cup of coffee drawing curtain to an amazingly eventful day.

~ Swetraj

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