PURI: The 21st chapter of Puri Beach Festival took off to a colourful start here on Friday after a gap of two years with acrobatic yoga by the youth of Bharat Yoga Kendra leaving the audience spellbound.
The inaugural evening began with blowing of conch shells by artistes of Narendrapur while acrobatic yoga by Bharat Yoga Kendra enthralled the audience. Rupashree Mahapatra and troupe presented Mahari dance while Guru Ratikant Mahapatra presented Odissi dance and artists from Kolkata performed folk dance.
Inaugurating the event, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Ashok Kumar Panda said, `100 crore would be spent for development of beaches at Puri, Tampara, Barkul, Gopalpur and Satpara under the new tourism policy of the Government for 2016.
Initially promoted by Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO), it is now being organised by Hotels’ Association of Puri.
The festival is aimed at showcasing the tourism potential of the State and presenting Odisha’s art, craft and delicacies before the national and global tourists.
Attending the function, Puri MLA and Chairman of the festival Maheswar Mohanty said the annual event would help boost tourism and generate employment opportunities. Lauding the effort of hoteliers for their endeavour to promote tourism, Higher education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi said the festival would help the State get a place on the global tourism map.
Among others, local civic body chief Jayant Kumar Sarangi, chairman of reception committee Bijay Kumar Das and president of Hotels’ Association of Puri (HAP) RK Dasmahapatra were present. The impact of demonetisation reflected in the festival as the popular art exhibition, which was an integral part of the festival, was missing.