RIYADH: India will be the guest of honor when a major cultural jamboree, popularly known as Janadriyah National Heritage and Cultural Festival, is inaugurated here on Feb. 7, Arab News has reported.
The festival is part of a major initiative to generate awareness about the history and heritage of the Kingdom, as well as to open a window for the new generation to the vibrant past of Arabia.
“The 18-day-long cultural festival will be held under the patronage of King Salman at Janadriyah, 42 kilometers northeast of Riyadh,” said Lt. Mansour Bin Sulaiman Aba Al-Khail, a spokesman of the festival, which is being organized by the Ministry of National Guard.
He said that Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed called on Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf, minister of National Guard, recently and discussed issues of mutual interest including preparations for Janadriyah. Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy Suhel Ajaz Khan also attended the meeting.
Commenting on the honor bestowed on India as guest country, Javed said the gesture indicates the prominence given to India by the Saudi leadership following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh in April 2016.
The annual Janadriyah festival, named after the village near Riyadh where it is held, will showcase camel and horse-racing spectaculars, sword dancing, poetry and music as well as crafts such as carpet-weaving, pottery, costumes and cuisine.
Javed said “the historic visit by late King Saud to India in 1955 and the reciprocal visit by the first prime minister of independent India Jawaharlal Nehru to the Kingdom in 1956 laid the strong foundation for our formal interactions.
“Moreover, the visit of King Salman, as the crown prince, to India in 2014 further deepened the relations,” he added.
In Janadriyah this year there will be about 2,000 exhibitors featuring a range of products and services both from the ancient times of Arabia and the modern world. The festival, according to organizers, is expected to draw about 2.5 million visitors from Saudi Arabia and abroad.