Odisha’s Sudarsan Pattnaik: India’s Sand Art Magician
by Sankara Subramanian C
( BE ON THE ROAD )
If you happen to be strolling on Puri’s golden beach and come across a sand castle that is a work of beauty, you might have just stumbled across the work of India’s master sand artist and one of the best in the world. He is none other than Puri’s local boy, Sudarsan Pattnaik, who has been honoured with the Padma Shri and many other domestic and international awards and achievements. His work is so special that in itself it becomes a tourist attraction in Puri and one that you should experience on your Odisha holiday.
Sudarsan Pattnaik builds such sand castles and art work on important festival dates and/or to celebrate an important person, landmark or event. The one in this article was built to highlight the rich culture of Odisha, an important campaign being run by Odisha tourism at that time. If you happen to in Puri on these days, you might be lucky to see the magic unfold up close and in real. And if you happen to be in Puri on other days, you could head to the open air Sudarsan Sand Art institute in Puri and see the live sand art sessions.
Born into a simple family in Marchikote lane in Puri district, Sudarsan Pattnaik began his creative art at a very young age. In 2017, he broke the Guinness world record for the world’s largest sand castle and held this record for two years, before it was broken by Skluptura projects of Germany. He has represented India in over 60 international sand sculpture championships and festivals across the world and has won 27 of those. In spite of all these awards, felicitations and recognition, this man from Odisha remains as humble as ever and may be that is the reason his work keeps getting better and better with time. I would recommend that you see his work and/or meet the man himself on your next trip to Odisha’s Puri.
Best season to visit:
The best season to visit Puri would be from October through February when the weather is pleasant and the days are bright. Summers can get a bit stifling during the day, but evenings are better thanks to the sea breeze. Monsoons completely change the look of this city and make for great photographs, but you will not find any sand art during the monsoon season.
Other nearby tourist attractions:
1) Puri Jagannath temple – an iconic temple and considered one of the Char Dhams for followers of Lord Vishnu
2) 13th century Konark Sun temple – UNESCO World Heritage Site and the sign of a once sexually liberal India
3) Raghurajpur PattaChitra – India’s miniature art honed for over 2500 years
4) Pipili Chandua Artisans – traditionally decorating everything from gods to wedding to products
5) Ravana Chhaya – 6000 year old shadow puppet play of Odisha
6) Gotipua dance of Odisha at Raghurajpur – ancient dance form from the state of Odisha
7) Dhauli Stupa – a peaceful location offering a panoramic view of the Kalinga battlefield
8) Bhubaneshwar Heritage and Temple Walk – lose yourself in 1300 years of temple and cultural magic
9) Tarakasi Silver Filigree work – 500 year old heritage of Odisha
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