Safety first at Konark Dance Festival 2020

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The Konark Dance Festival is the flagship classical extravaganza that is organized every year at the Konark Natya Mandap situated in front of the famous Sun Temple of Konark, Odisha. The unique and grand celebration of the rich classical dance forms of India, makes it one of the biggest dance festivals of not only Odisha but of the entire country. This festival showcases the monumental cultural heritage of Odisha and of the country, through various classical dance forms including Odissi, Manipuri, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Kathaka, and Sattriya. The festival was first organized in the year 1986 and it is being held every year ever since. I am privileged enough to attend the Konark Dance Festival this year and to be honest, it has been an amazingly overwhelming experience for me so far, to say the least. The Konark Dance Festival truly is one of a kind and it is certainly living up to the massive expectations it created over the past decades. 

The mega event started on the 1st of December and is set to conclude on December 5, much akin to the previous years. But surely, the story of 2020 is much, much different. We are all well aware about how the world came to a standstill due to the pandemic this year. The outbreak of coronavirus not only halted the daily life of people all around the world, it also induced a sense of fear amongst the people regarding public and social gatherings. However, the Konark Dance Festival is being organized keeping in mind all the Covid-19 restrictions and following all the necessary protocols related to the pandemic. The spectator limit at the open air auditorium of the Konark Natya Mandap is reduced to 600 people this year, in order to avoid overcrowding. I myself try to remain a bit extra-cautious about maintaining all the safety measures every time I step out of the house. Afterall, in the age of the pandemic, it does not harm to be a little paranoid about our safety. Having said that, I must admit that the organizers and the volunteers have so far done a brilliant job in ensuring that all the protocols be strictly followed by everyone at the venue. Proper face masks are mandatory for everyone to enter the premises of the auditorium. The sanitization process is also being firmly taken care of – hand sanitizers are being provided and all are being advised to use it frequently. Apart from the proper use of masks and sanitizers, the seating arrangement of the guests and spectators has been planned in a way which ensures a proper maintenance of social distancing amongst them. 

As I mentioned earlier, the pandemic has made me extra-cautious about my health, hygiene and safety. But having said that, I am compelled to give full credit and full marks to the organizers of the Konark Dance Festival for their efficiency and competency in conducting a festival of such grand proportions under the current circumstances. To pull off such a huge event with adherence to all the Covid-19 protocols is no joke. To sum it up, I had a wonderful experience so far and I am eagerly looking forward to the final two days of the festival. As an admirer of classical dance, the performances from the elite classical dancers who have graced the stage have cast a magic spell on me already, and I certainly don’t want the spell to break anytime soon. 

Mr. Prithviraj Roy is a social media consultant & avid traveler based out of Kolkata.

05 Dec 2020
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By Prithviraj Roy


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