The UAE is lighting up for Diwali with an array of events and entertainment that will add spark to the Indian festival.
From firework displays across Abu Dhabi and Dubai to concerts with Bollywood artists, Gulf News tabloid! puts together the ultimate guide to all the concerts, activities and meal deals.
Yas Mega Mela
Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the three-day event will be a treat for lovers of Bollywood music and Indian food. Kicking off on October 31, celebrity chefs Sandeep Sreedharan and Sanjay Thakur will present a feast at du Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
They will be sharing their culinary techniques with live cooking demonstrations and will join legendary celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani at the Yas Mega Mela Chefs’ Kitchen.
Meanwhile, Bollywood music sensations Kanika Kapoor will perform on October 31 and Ankit Tiwari on November 1. On November 2, Fahmil Khan, the UAE-based engineer-turned-vocalist and guitarist, will play pop, Sufi, retro and contemporary Bollywood songs.
Throughout the festival there will be authentic bhangra performances from Pure Bhangra, plus international DJ Shadab playing Bollywood remixes on the decks. There will be a fireworks extravaganza each evening at 9pm.
There is also a Taste India Experience at Yas Mega Mela, where you can savour dishes representing India’s diverse culture.
The three-day festival will showcase an authentic street market shopping experience as well, along with cricket coaching and a dedicated kids’ zone.
Tickets are on sale at Yasmegamela.ae with prices starting from Dh20.
Indian Classical Forum
The three-day classical music festival highlights the great maestros and artists of India. Through performances, dance and lecture shows, this event celebrates the rich heritage of music in Indian culture with performances by renowned icons including Bombay Jayashri, Aruna Sairam and J A Jayanth. There is even a classical music workshop for emerging singers and fans to refine their skills with the guidance of an expert.
This event takes place from October 31 to November 2 at New World Private School with tickets starting at Dh50.
Dubai Festival City Mall will host the official Diwali celebrations in Dubai with the launch its fourth Imagine show, ‘Hathi’s Garden’ on October 24. This will include a fireworks display and Bollywood dance shows at 8pm free for the public.
The first 5,000 guests at Festival Bay will receive free LED Wristbands. For the first time in the Middle East, customers can experience the Elephant Parade exhibition with 50 life-size baby elephant sculptures created to raise awareness for elephant conservation globally.
Families can also come together to celebrate the festival of lights at Global Village, which kicks off its 24th season starting October 29. This Diwali, the Indian Pavilion will offer more than 240 stalls selling handicrafts and artefacts, along with street cuisine spanning the southern and northern territories of the country at a wide range of restaurants, and cultural shows on the pavilion’s stage.
Al Seef is hosting a Diwali fair offering an array of activities to delight visitors from October 24 to 28. The fair will include a festive market, stage performances and kids’ workshops, as well as a fireworks display on October 27 at 9pm.
Indian Night on Flag Island, Sharjah
The Flag Island will light up for Diwali this October with a special Indian Night bringing a nine-hour Indian cultural extravaganza for the local and expat communities in the UAE.
On October 25, the festivities will kick off at Khalid Lagoon from 3pm, running until midnight, where visitors will be treated to Bollywood dance performances, local and international bands, along with fashion shows, dance acts featuring local dancers who will present the Indian classical style of Kathak and the high-energy garba.
Bollywood choreographer and winner of popular Indian dance show ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’, Salman Yousuf Khan, along with Tamil singer Nikhil Mathew and Tamilian actor and singer MJ Sriram will also perform.
On the spot competitions for the best-dressed male, female, couple and family will be organised, and winners will take home prizes. Stalls will offer Indian street food, jewellery and clothing. Entry is free.