Bhubaneswar: Filled with colour and grace, the 25th edition of five-day Guru Pankaj Utsav, began at Rabindra Mandap here on Sunday.

On the first day of the festival, the Adi Guru Pankaj Charan Das Parampara samman instituted by Nalco was presented to Padmashree Dr. Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi and Padmashree Dr. Minati Mishra for their contributions to Odissi dance and cultural heritage of Odisha as well as to the nation.

The first session of the inaugural evening witnessed ‘Abhinay Dekhiba Para Prana Sanginiku’ by Shreya Chakrovorty. Suchismita Kanjilal from Kolkatta performed ‘Aahye Nila Saila’, Yshomati Mishra from Bangalore performed ‘Mahakali Stuti’, Bharatanatyam dancer Amruta Jagam from Bangalore performed ‘Yahi Madhavan’ and K. Jyotirmayee of Bhubaneswar performed ‘Ardha Nariswar’ dance recital that elated audience and dance connoisseurs.

Kabita Diwedi from New Delhi performed Abhinay called ‘Kali Kahinki No iele Shyam Nagar’ which mesmerised both critics and dance lovers. Shubadha Vardakar from Mumbai also performed on Shankaracharay’s ‘Nirbanasthakam’. Bibhudatta Das and Debaldev Jana from Kolkata also performed on stage.

A group dance ‘Glani Sanhara’ by Nakshtra Gurukul overwhelmed dance lovers as the original cheoreography was done by Late Adi guru Pankaj Charan Das. Suhag Nalini Das performed ‘Madhuraastakam’. Eminent Mohiniattam dancer Saji Menon from Mumbai performed a piece of Mahabharat which was based on Amba and Srikhandi.

This year, the prestigious Mahari Award which is instituted by Adi Guru of Odissi dance Late Pankaj Charan Das shall be presented to
renowned Kuchipudi danseuse, Vyjayanthi Kashi, on the cloncluding day of the festival.

Each of the awards as mentioned above carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000 along with citations and mementos.

Around sixty solo dancers from India and abroad will be performing during the festival.

The event will continue till March 21.