After Covid break, Taj Mahotsav on schedule in 2022

By Brij Khandelwal

Agra, Dec 5 (IANS): After a break due to Covid-19 this year, the annual 10-day cultural extravaganza, Taj Mahotsav, will be held from February 18 to 28 next year.

This information was given by the divisional commissioner Amit Gupta after a meeting of departmental heads who have been asked to go ahead with the preparations 'full-steam'.

The Taj Mahotsav festival was started in 1992 to promote tourism, but over the years it has been reduced to a local 'Mela-Tamasha' with lots of 'filmy programmes' thrown in. This has alienated the tourism industry which sees no merit in promoting it for foreign visitors.

"This event is now a formality, a 10-day 'masti' time for the government babus and their family members. The Uttar Pradesh tourism department has not been able to convince us how it has impacted tourism," say the captains of the industry.

The organisers, however, claim that the Mahotsav is a big boost to local art and culture, as performing artistes get lots of opportunities to showcase their talent. Also, the handicrafts of the Braj Mandal, the local products find a huge market.

The organising committee has decided to continue with Rs 50 entry ticket. However, the entry for foreigners would be free. Booking of stalls will commence soon. At the same time, apprehensions about the third wave of Covid-19 continue to impact the preparations. The organisers have indicated change in dates, if the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are announced.

The Taj Mahotsav is organised at Shilpgram complex, 500 metres from the Taj Mahal. Some programmes are also held at the Soor Sadan auditorium and in the Paliwal Park.

This year, a new venue, Taj view point, near Mehtab Bagh, on the other bank of Yamuna, at the rear of the Taj Mahal, has been developed.

It is likely that some musical programmes of popular appeal may be held here, on the sprawling lush green ground, close to Gyarah Seedhi monument.

The Taj Mahotsav organising committee has asked the public to suggest theme ideas for the festival. The state roadways department will run shuttle bus services from different parts of the city.



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