The International Sand Art Festival at Odisha organised by Sudarshan Patnaik is held in winter every year. This year it was conducted on December 1st to 5th, coinciding with the Konark Festival and a handicraft fair at Konark. We could not attend the opening on the 1st of December but were able to reach Chandrabhaga Beach near the Sun Temple on the 4th day for the Sand Art Festival.
We arrived at around 2 in the afternoon when the artists were still hard at work. After taking photos of the 42 entries we decided to kick back and relax at the beach and wait for the sun to set.
We also looked around the handicraft fair and met and talked to the artisans. Sadly we do not have many photos of the fair.
About two hours in, two more of our friends arrived and we went back to the vicinity of the temple for a really late lunch. Around this time crowds were gathering for the viewing as light had begun to fade. We waited an hour for darkness to fall and waded into the crowds to take photos of the finished entries.
After the work was done we retreated to the Mina Bazaar (trade fair) being held a bit away from the beach. We had plans for watching a Jatra (a night long play starting around midnight) but sadly we had to cancel those plans as all the good seats were sold out.
We then decided that its better to have some dinner and return home so back the temple we went. This happened to be a bad decision as our helmet got stolen. Luckily it wasn’t too valuable as it was already battered a fair bit.
However it was around 10 at night when we finally managed to leave Konark behind. With cold winds blowing through our clothes and chilled faces due to the missing helmet, we managed to get back home at around 11:30 at night.
We would still call this trip a success even with the little bit of trouble we ran into. We also hope we keep getting opportunities to cover such events in the future.
P.S. : The winner of the ₹100,000 prize of the Sand Art Festival is Balaji Vora Prasad of Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh as announced on the last day of the festival.