King Salman will inaugurate this year’s Al Janadriyah Cultural and Heritage Festival tomorrow, Wednesday, February 7.
The festival runs for 18 days at Janadriyah, just over 40 km northeast of Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, and draws millions of visitors from the Kingdom, the Gulf region and further afield. In 2017, the festival drew a total of about 6.8 million visitors.
Started in 1985 and sponsored by the Saudi National Guard, the festival features a variety of activities, including sports (such as camel racing), traditional dance, arts, living history, falconry, and traditional arts and crafts. It is also a showcase for government institutions and services, both Saudi and international.
A camel race will take place during the opening ceremony, which will also include speeches, songs, and the “Imams and Kings” operetta written by Prince Badr Bin Abdulmuhsin Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Khaled Al-Ayyaf, Minister of the National Guard and chairman of the supreme committee of the festival.
Each region of the Kingdom occupies a pavilion in the form of the region’s traditional architecture and where visitors can sample local cuisine, witness arts, and crafts and interact with experts on and from the different areas. Every year one pavilion is hosted by a foreign government, which promotes its relations with the Saudi government and its investments in the Kingdom. This year it is India’s turn, with the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj leading an Indian delegation for the inauguration on Feb. 7.
More than 3 million Indians live in the Kingdom, and this year’s Janadriyah is said to boost the relationship between both countries to new levels.
Visitors will be treated to depictions of traditional and modern India through shows and presentations organized by ministries and other agencies. The pavilion will include exhibits on cultural, social and folkloric heritage, traditional fashion, Indian perfumes, bridal fashion, and archaeology, among other topics. You will get a chance to sample authentic Indian cuisine and attend screenings of Bollywood movies, as well. Live dance and other presentations will be performed by nine groups specially chosen by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.