Flavours of India in temple town

Bhubaneswar was transformed into Mini India as the 15th National Youth Festival got underway from today. The entire milieu throbbing in diversity, with people from almost all parts of the country bringing with them their culture and tradition.

Spread across 15 venues in the Capital, the festival would showcase everything intrinsic and unique to every part of the country. From culture and arts including classical and folk dances, songs, music, drama to ethnic cuisine, attire and handicraft, the essence of India has come to the very doorstep of the people of Orissa.

The start was spectacular. Paradivers descended from the skies as the jam-packed Kalinga Stadium and those outside watched gaping.

For the first time in the State, Indian Air Force’s elite Paradiving Squad displayed their acclaimed Akash Ganga formation. Led by Wing Commander Jaikishan, the 15-member team dived down with the Tricolour, the festival logo and the Indian Air Force Flag to put the proceedings in motion.

And, on the ground were the daredevils of the Punjab Regiment, aptly calling themselves Galley Stallions, performing hair-raising stunts on their motorcycles.

However, the grand opening was followed by chaotic scenes as hundreds of spectators trooped into the ground almost obstructing the proceedings for quite sometime. With police watching as mute spectators, the crowd invaded the main arena where the contingents had assembled. While a free-for-all ensued, police had a tough time controlling the situation.

T h e colourful cultural parade taken out by the participating stat e s and Union Ter ritories w a s marred by the melee as the frenzied spectators tried to make their way close to podium to catch attention of Bollywood star and ambassador of the festival Suniel Shetty.

Unveiling the festival, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports MS Gill said it is a grand fair, a special occasion, to be enjoyed and immersed in by one and all.

Addressing the participants, the Minister, however, pointed out that youth was the strength of India today.

The world was ageing but in India more than half the population was below 30 years.

The whole scenario presented an unique opportunity to be capitalised upon.

The festival provided a platform for coming together of talents, sharing of ideas and germination of positive changes, he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik echoed, “India is a land of many cultures. The cultures have come together to make one nation”, he said.

Suniel Shetty advised the participants to use this platform to showcase talent and not to show-off, to compete not to be No.1 but be one with others.

While Gill declared the festival open, the inaugural programme was marked by an incredible crocodile dance, based on the mascot Gori, a fusion dance of Odissi, Paika, Ranapa and Gotipua and a superlative laser show.

Among others Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Pratik Prakashbabu Patil, Minister for Youth and Sports Services Praveen Chandra Bhanj Deo, Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs, AK Upadhyay and State Sports and Youth Services Secretary PK Mohapatra spoke.

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