It is a festival of classical dances of India performed at the backdrop of the Sun Temple, Konark. Konark Festival was organised for the first time in 1989 in the Open Air Auditorium at Konark constructed with the financial assistance of Government of India.
Conceived as a festival of Classical Dances of India, the objective of Konark Festival was to promote Konark as well as Orissa as place of tourist destination.
Initially during the year 1989 and 1990, the festival was being organised for a period of 3 days. Subsequently increased to 7 days during 1991 and 1992 in different dates. Since 1993 the festival is being organised for a period of 5 days from December 1-5 every year. The festival was however not organised during 1999 due to the Super Cyclone.
A Craft Mela was also being organised from 1991-1995 through the State Industry Department along with the dance programmes. This was discontinued for a couple of years which has again been revived from the year - 2000. While the Craft Mela of 2000 was organised by NAC, Konark, the same has been organised by State Industry Department since 2001.
Thirty five km. to the north-east of Puri lies the World Heritage Monument, the Sun Temple of Konark. Twelve hundred craftsmen had toiled hard for 12 long years to erect this monumental wonder where 12 year’s revenue was spent. Modelled after the floating chariot of the mythical Sun God, the temple is a quintessence of imaginative craftsmanship of ancient Orissa. The temple architecture was designed as drawn by twelve exquisitely carved stone wheels and seven galloping horses. And the kings, queens, generals, foot soldiers, sages, priests, elephants, horses, courtiers and courtesans depicted on the walls and the panels with finesse open a window to the nostalgic times of medieval Orissa.