Scores of national and international artistes mesmerised the audience in Bhubaneswar with their scintillating performance at the Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav,a festival of martial dances, aimed at promoting Odisha state's culture and heritage.
The festival, currently in its ninth year, was held at the footsteps of the Dhauli Stupa, a Japanese Buddhist temple located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The Kalinga festival, dedicated to the traditional Indian martial art forms, was organised by the department of tourism, Government of Odisha and Orissa Dance Academy, as a medium to bring together the traditional martial art forms of India under one roof.
The organiser of the festival, Aruna Mohanty, said that the main objective behind organising the festival was to promote prominent traditional dances, music and culture of the state.
"'Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav', it has been happening for last nine years. When we started this festival our objective was to popularize Indian major dance traditions, music traditions. But nonetheless we wanted to do it at a heritage site along with our culture, performing art and creative art; we wanted to showcase our pride, our heritage sites," said Mohanty.
A visitor, Abasara Beuria appreciated the performance of the artistes from Kerala.
"It was a fantastic experience particularly the artistes that came from Kerala. It was very refreshing and very innovative. I think they presented very well. So, also the traditional Odyssey dance and presentation by Orissa Dance Academy," said Beuria.
The martial dances are an amalgamation of various martial art postures, which are blended with graceful dance forms.
Performing to the beats of music with their swords, spears and shields, they enthral audiences with their rhythm and precision of movement.
Martial art forms are developed and practiced in India since ancient times. This festival is a unique outlet and a great medium to create awareness about different martial art forms amongst the masses.
The venue of the festival was appropriate, as it was organised at the Dhauli hills as it spinned around the theme of "War to Peace.
It was at the Dhauli hills that legendary Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great fought his last war valiantly before forsaking the battleground forever.
He converted to Buddhism and turned into an apostle of peace.
Odisha has come to be associated with one of India's major centres for performing traditional dances.
It also holds some of the biggest festivals of classical Indian dances like the Konark Dance Festival and the Puri Beach Festival, which are big tourist draws. (ANI)