Sand Art

Balaram Das wrote the Oriya version of the Ramayana in the sixteenth century and it is known as Jagamohan Ramayan or Dandi Ramayan as it is written in the dandi metre. A popular folktale associated with this famous author says that once during the Rathyatra, Balaram Das wanted to offer his prayers to Lord Jagannath and hence tried to climb onto the chariot. The priests threw him out after heaping insults on the poor man. Not one to take it lying down, he made his way to the Puri beach and there on the sand, using sand and water created the three idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra and worshipped them. So intense was his devotion that it is said that the idols disappeared from the chariot and instead appeared on the beach. Whether this tale is true or not cannot be verified for its authenticity but a great offshoot of the story was the beginning of sand art in Odisha. It has become world famous because of the amazing sculptures created on sand by sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik who has also set up an institute there to train pupils on this art form. Intensive week -long courses are also held to acquaint one into this art. All that is required to practice it is fine sand, water and a deep dedication coupled with oodles of patience. The fine sculptures created on the beach which are topical in nature attract worldwide attention. The government of Odisha is popularizing this art through International Sand Art Festivals held each year on the Chandrabaga Beach at Konark.

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