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Chhau Dance by . KONARK NATYA MANDAP

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Published on Aug 13, 2010

The Cultural Gurukul Ashram:

Nestling amidst casuarinas and cashew trees on a sand dune stands the Konark Natya Mandap, a performer's delight. The beauty of the architecture is a testimony to the painstaking efforts of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, a renowned Odissi Dance Guru and Mardal Player of international repute. The Natya Mandap is a replica of the ancient Natyasala of the scintillating and stupendous Sun Temple of Konark. It provides just the right kind of ambience for artistes, connoisseurs and art lovers from all over the country and abroad. Started in 1986, this majestic recreation of the past sculptural masterpiece has become the temple of performing arts all over the world.

The objectives of the Konark Natya Mandap are to preserve, promote and project the rich cultural heritage of Orissa and to infuse cultural awareness in the minds of all, through organization of dance, music and cultural festivals all round the year. It has played a significant role in the famous Konark Dance & Music Festival, organized every year from 19th to 21st of February. Apart from that, the Konark Natya Mandap serves as a temple of learning. Following the glorious traditions, Guru Kula Parampara, it provides teaching and training in dance, music and yoga. Classes on Odissi Dance, Gotipua Dance, Chhau Dance, Mardal, Tabla, Odissi Vocal and all other forms of Orissan art and culture are being conducted in the premises of Konark Natya Mandap. Experienced gurus and teachers share their experience with students who get the privilege of presenting their skills on the three stages (Open Air Auditorium) erected in the premises. Besides, other art forms like Sankirtan, Paika Akhada, Pala, Daskathia, Ramalila etc. are also performed on festive occasions like Basanta Panchami, Ram Nabami, Kumar Purnima, Raja Utsav, Akshaya Trutiya, Dola Utsav, Siva Ratri, Janmastami, Saraswati Puja, Jhulana Purnima and on a few other occasions.

In the present system of Gurukul Ashram, the Konark Natya Mandap has initially taken 40 students in the age group of six to sixteen who are being imparted training in different streams of performing arts. They belong mostly to the rural areas of different parts of Orissa where poverty and illiteracy still prevail. They are taken in with the consent of their parents and guardians. In the Konark Natya Mandap, these students are provided education, health and standard accommodation to carry on their training. On different occasions like fairs and festivals these students visit their native places for a few days and come back to their daily routine life at the Gurukul Ashram.

The Gurukul Ashram also celebrates different rituals, cultural occasions and birth and death anniversary of eminent persons comprising 115 days a year since last seven years. There is a plan to celebrate all 365 days of the year through different cultural programmes and rituals. Konark Natya Mandap is conceptualised as a model of Living Konark. It is an attraction for tourists where they get a glance of the classical culture along with the folk & tribal culture of Orissa, exhibited through dance, music, art, spiritual & traditional rituals. Workshops on different aspects of Orissan art & culture go on round the year for retirement from the busy humdrum that is our modern life. It provides the perfect platform for development of our rich and profuse culture.

Our dream is to turn the stone Konark to a living and vibrant Konark; a Konark where music and culture express themselves through the mute stones of the architectural wonder..

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