The third edition of 'A Passage to India' festival, organised by the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), with the active support of the Indian embassy, will be held at the sprawling Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) grounds on April 14 and 15.
Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora announced on Thursday that the two-day fest coincides this year with the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar, who is referred to as the 'Architect of the Indian Constitution'.
Ambedkar's birthday falls on April 14.
The festival would not only showcase the varied cultural diversity of India, but also the strides made by the South Asian country in such areas as science, space research and technology among others, said Arora.
One of the main attractions at the festival would be a 9m tall replica of Mangalyan, which carried out India's successful mission to Mars last year. Qatar-based Indian artisans are giving final touches to the replica, said the ambassador.
As part of the festival, a cultural troupe from Rajasthan, chosen by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, will stage dances on both the days. Music and folk dances would also be performed by artists, mainly drawn from the organisations affiliated to the ICC and Indian schools in Qatar.
ICC president Girish Kumar said the festival would also feature a large number of stalls, selling Indian handicrafts, ethnic wears and Indian food items. Efforts are also being made to rope in a few Qatar government agencies to set up their pavilions, he said.
Kumar said the festival would also feature the exhibition of a model of a locomotive passing through a tunnel. "This is being done to recall the remarkable strides made by the Indian Railways in its 162-year-history," he said.
The festival, he said, would once again reiterate India's deep-rooted ties of friendship with Qatar and the growing levels of co-operation between the two countries.
Deputy Chief of Indian embassy R K Singh and first secretary Sunil Thapliyal were also present at the press conference.
More visitors expected this year
Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora said it was the enormous support received from the local authorities, Qatari people and expatriates of different nationalities for the first two editions that prompted ICC to host `A Passage to India' festival for the third year.
"The records available with the ICC revealed that no less than 25,000 thronged the Museum of Islamic Art grounds when the first festival was held in November 2013," the envoy recalled.
When the second edition was hosted last year at the Katara Cultural Village, the numbers swelled to more than 60,000, he said. Several Qatari families were among the visitors, he recalled.
While remembering the support extended by the local authorities, and the visitors to the festival in the first two editions, Arora said the embassy and ICC are expecting even a larger participation for this year's festival.
Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora announces the festival as Sunil Thapliyal, Girish Kumar and R K Singh look on. PICTURE: Jayaram.