Two spells of thundershowers, accompanied by strong winds, dampened the opening of “A Passage to India” festival at the Museum of Islamic Art Park yesterday.
The prevailing conditions caused considerable damage to the show, bringing down a number of pavilions at the venue. The roof cover on the main stage also came off the poles on which it stood.
The opening day’s proceedings came to a close earlier than scheduled due to the adverse weather conditions.
A cinematic dance show, watched by hundreds of spectators, was under way when the rain interrupted the proceedings.
Spectators ran towards the pavilions as they tried to escape the rain. While a number of pavilions were brought down by strong winds, no one was injured in the incident.
However, business at stalls set up at the venue was affected as most of the visitors left the place fearing more rain and winds.
Some of the participants were seen picking up goods, including ethnic clothes, that they had brought for sale. The clothes had flown off the stands due to the winds. Scores of chairs could also be seen lying scattered on the ground.
As a precautionary measure, the organisers switched off the lights specially installed at the venue for the festival.
Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora had just arrived for the formal inauguration of the event when it started to rain.
In a statement later in the evening, the ambassador said: “As expected, ‘A Passage to India’ community festival attracted a large number of visitors on the first day. Due to sudden adverse weather conditions, the festival had to be concluded around 8.20pm, before the scheduled time of 10pm.
“All the organisers and visitors hope that the weather conditions would be more favourable on Friday and enable people to enjoy their weekend holiday at this festival.”
Speaking to Gulf Times, Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) president Girish Kumar said though the organisers had expected mild rainfall based on the forecast four days ago, they never expected anything like this to happen.
“The festival was planned more than three months ago, taking into consideration the usual pleasant weather during this time of the year. We understand the difficulties encountered by those who wholeheartedly supported the community event. It was really unfortunate that the rains caused severe damage,” he said.
The ICC office-bearers expressed hope that they would be able to hold the show today.
A number of cultural events were held yesterday before the showers began.
The organisers have put up a large model of Mangalyaan (India’s Mars mission) as well as pavilions dedicated to yoga and Dr B R Ambedkar, chief architect of the Indian Constitution.
The opening of the event coincided with the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar.
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