HE Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and Sanjiv Arora jointly inaugurating the festival at the Museum of Islamic Art Park yesterday. PICTURE: Nasar T K

By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter

A Passage to India, a festival showcasing India’s centuries-old rich and colourful cultural heritage and traditions,  got off to a good start at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park yesterday with several hundreds flocking to the scenic venue.

HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari formally opened the two-day fiesta and expo in the presence of Indian Ambassador Sanjiv Arora, many other senior diplomats and Qatari officials.

An array of folk dances, representing the North, South, West and East of the South Asian nation were presented by forums affiliated to the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), working under the aegis of the Indian embassy, and children of expatriate schools. 

Another major attraction of the event is the presence of a large number of stalls showcasing the country’s diversity, history, tradition, architecture, furniture, handicraft, costumes, and cuisine, among others.

Apart from some of the country’s Indian schools, a number of Indian-managed business houses, too, have their pavilions, each of which was thronged by streams of visitors yesterday.

The pavilion of expatriate forum Karnataka Sangha received substantial attention as it featured a large number of photographs of prominent figures from different walks of life, who were born and lived in the southern Indian state. Prominently displayed in the background was a large image of the Mysore Palace, one of the major tourist attractions in Karnataka.

The pavilions of Viswakala Vedi, a forum of Keralite artisans, Maharashtra Mandal, Gujarat Samaj, Utkalika and Assam Society, among others, also received similar response from the visitors going by the crowds in front of each of them. Indian Business Promotion Network and Indian Community Benevolent Forum also have their stalls. There was a big rush at the food stalls as well.

The event has entered its second year but with an altogether different nomenclature and is also being held at a much larger venue.

Belgian Ambassador Herman Merckx, Italian embassy deputy commissioner Giuliano Cola, Nigerian embassy deputy head of mission Enoch Pear Duchi, Iranian embassy first secretary Mojtaba Baniassadadeh, Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage deputy secretary Hamad Hamdan al-Mohannadi and Qatar Museums Authority’s director of events Louise Cutajar were among those who graced the occasion.

Earlier, HE Dr al-Kuwari and other dignitaries were given a guard of honour by the hosts and taken in a procession, which featured people in costumes from different parts of India. Birla Public School children accorded a welcome band.

The guests toured the pavilions before watching the cultural fiesta.



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