India pavilion
The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has announced the preliminary calendar of events to be held on the inaugural day and in the first month of the expo that begins on October 1.

From dance, drama and other cultural shows to food festivals, film festivals, panel discussions, business meetings, and science and research events, a variety of events have been lined up to enthrall the visitors to the India Pavilion.

Colourful celebrations of upcoming festivals Diwali, Navratri, Durga Puja, as well as celebrations of World Vegetarian Day, and birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel are also scheduled to be held at the pavilion.

The opening weekend will see the grand inauguration ceremony of the pavilion followed by a splendid cultual show from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, October 1.

Opening gala

The opening gala will begin with the sounds of the Conch (Shankh) played by the family of Nathu Lal Solanki, celebrated instrumentalist from Rajasthan, on the steps of the India Pavilion.

A flash mob with dancers from India and Dubai, choreographed by Gilles Chuyen, will come together, and perform in the walkway outside the pavilion.

Following a ribbon cutting ceremony by the chief guests, a spotlight will show two giant folded hands in a symbol of Namaste.

The hands open to reveal Rama Vaidyanathan, renowned Bharatnatyam dancer, who will perform an invocation in collaboration with vocalist Harpreet and a saxophonist Rahis Damami.

There will be a curated walkthrough of the entire India Pavilion. Dancer Choreographer Gilles Chuyen will lead the guests through the pavilion in a site-specific performance.

The formal inaugural ceremony is slated to begin with a welcome address by B.V.R Subrahmanyam, Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The inaugural address will be delivered by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles.

A video message from Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will be displayed at the event and later on the façade’s projection.

Inaugural cultural show will see performances of artists from India and Dubai.

Weekly events

In the weekly events and entertainment programme schedule published on the pavilion’s website, the organisers said the calendar of events reflects the diversity of Indian cultures and themes. “Come and celebrate the customs and traditions that differentiate us and the values and aspirations that unite us. From the sparkling festival of lights, Diwali, to the colourful celebration of Holi, be a part of India’s rich heritage,” the pavilion stated.

It said visitors can partake in global key events on international days at the India Pavilion. There will be opportunities to discuss important issues with global leaders and be inspired to endeavour for societal change.

National days and special days of India will witness spectacular cultural extravaganzas, as they take over the India Pavilion and the Expo grounds.

Entertainment, programmes for planet

The entertainment programme at the India Pavilion has been curated to celebrate the nation’s spirit. Visitors can witness the skills and talents of Indian artists across disciplines, both traditional and contemporary, elevating the country’s legacy through artistic engagement and storytelling.

Brilliant cultural performances, theatre, dance, music, events showcasing knowledge, technological achievements and much more have been planned.

“Programmes for people and the planet will address the most pressing challenges we face in the world today and how it is imperative that we pool our knowledge, technology and resources at our disposal. The climate and biodiversity week will include a number of such engagements allowing honed minds to share their ideas, achievements, inspire collective action and illuminate opportunities,” the pavilion said.

In addition to the spectacular entertainment sessions, the India Pavilion said it will offer fantastic opportunities for business and international trade. There will be opportunities across states and union territories, sector-specific investments and local start-ups and global conglomerates, for trade, investment and networking events.

State partnerships

So far, Andhra Pradesh [India’s sunshine state] and Jammu and Kashmir [the Switzerland of India] have been announced as the partner state governments of the pavilion.

The schedule announced for the first four weeks have listed the programmes organised by Gujarat, Karnataka and Ladakh. Top ministers and officials from participating states are scheduled to attend the events. Events have been listed under the categories Rejuvenation, State Event, Theme Event, Celebrations, Cultural Events, School Events, Film Screening and Business Events.

The opening weekend will see the grand inauguration ceremony of the pavilion followed by a splendid cultural show from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, October 1.

Special sessions

There will be special wellness morning sessions daily from 10am to 10:30am from October 2 to 31. Different schools of yoga and wellness will conduct the sessions.

Climate and Biodiversity Week will be celebrated from October 3 to 9, Space Week from October 17 to 23 and Urban and Rural Development Week from October 31 to November 6.

The National Gallery of Modern Art will bring a digital display of Dandi March –the famous Salt March led by Mahatma Gandhi as an act of nonviolent civil disobedience against British salt monopoly in 1930.

A mound of salt on a raised platform will be the only physical prop which will seamlessly blend with the projection of the march. Small physical exhibit of Gandhi bronze sculptures by the masters, according to the organisers.

Full list of events can be seen on the website of the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Top Indian officials are also expected to divulge further details about the pavilion at a media tour later today.