Sand art festival in Puri called off

Bhubaneswar, Dec 5:

The impending threat of cyclonic storm ‘Jawad’ over the weekend forced the Odisha government to cancel an ongoing classical dance festival and a sand art event in Puri, the state’s tourism department said on Friday.

The Konark Festival at Sun Temple, and the International Sand Art Festival on Chandrabhaga Beach were being held since Wednesday, and were scheduled to end on Sunday.

The festivals are being called off with immediate effect, the tourism department said in a statement.

The Konark Festival has been organised every year since 1986 at an open-air auditorium against the backdrop of the 13th-century monument. This is the first time that it was called off.

Leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of many Indian classical dance forms — Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Sattriya and Kathak — take part in the five-day event.

Barely 3.5 km from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, sand artists from across the world assemble to sculpt their unique creations on different themes at the International Sand Art Festival.

The art extravaganza was supposed to witness the participation of around 100 artisans from 10 states, including Odisha, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.

The Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district also suspended tourism for two days from Saturday in view of the cyclone alert.

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